The American MWSD clubs/callers also use contracts, although seldom is a
deposit required. In 25 years of club calling, I only had one bad
experience, where two callers were booked for the same dance. I was
working 'graveyard" shift, so I willingly let the other caller have the gig
and returned home for a power nap.
The standard MWSD club contract had fees and variances, such as $125 plus
$10 for every square over 6. It had contact information for the caller and
organizer, date, times, location, and music licensing requirements. It
sometimes specified who would provide the sound equipment as well, and who
would be working with the caller. Many clubs listed themes for the night,
for example 50s night, or Hawaiian Night. "Contra Prom" would be one
theme used at a nearby contra dance. These themes helped the caller pick
out music, dances, and clothing.
Contracts were a nice way for me to gather all my tax info at the end of
As I book more ONS and contra dances, I let the emails serve as a contract,
but they sometimes have a "tentative" feeling.
I also tend to post my schedule on Facebook, hoping that any irregularities
might be noticed. Just last night someone told me that an upcoming dance
was not on my schedule. There are reasons, but I will post it soon.
On Wed, May 11, 2016 at 3:54 AM, Kate Carpenter via Callers <
I'm surprised you don't have contracts.
I call for, play in and organise a Barn Dance/Ceilidh band in England. We
always have a Musicians Union contract which states: date, venue, times,
how much we're paid, how much deposit has already been paid (the deposit
confirms the booking) and who the contract is with... Yes, it is a pain
drawing up the contracts, but everyone knows the details. We don't have
surprises on the night. We can still be flexible. We mostly play for
weddings, anniversaries, fundraising... and although about half our
bookings are repeats/recommendations we don't really know these people.
My husband and I also play for Scottish Dance societies. This is a
specialist area - more like your dance series, and we know these people,
mostly playing for them every year/6 months and some dance weekends. I
would trust them, but we still have contracts and deposits.
Once someone has paid a deposit, they aren't going to casually forget
about you, or book someone else.
Date: Tue, 10 May 2016 21:01:32 -0700
Subject: Re: [Callers] Confirming Bookings - Best Practices?
The local series is good that way, with their confirmations. Those are
pretty close to the date, so I tend to follow the Check Their
Others in the region are pretty good with a run of communication to set
up and one to later confirm. Again with something closer to the date.
Again I'll do a check on the lead up, mostly by having a look on my own
for promo material.
One dance series had the caller I was replacing still listed on the
site, so I wrote about a month and a half out so I knew if I was free to
rebook, do other things, or simply enjoy the evening as a dancer.
With a series, where there's a bit of pattern to the behaviour I have
little concerns. Also the communication tends to be pretty good and
For one off dances I may do a bit more asking, esp. if there have only
been early enquiries.
On occasion a "definitely want you" has fizzled, on other occasions what
appears to be a casual inquiry really was their idea of a firm booking,
for myself and the band.
A band I do regular ONS work with (anniversary, wedding, fund-raiser
gigs) and I are seriously considering asking for a financial deposit for
some bigger one-off affairs. Esp. if there's travel, rental of
equipment, accommodation (that we must book) and such.
So, mostly nothing earthshakingly different than what a number have
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