Alan Sands Entertainment


Contract Horror Story #3

This is the worst story, because the artist was already on the road, about 1,500 miles from home, when the manager unexpectedly broke the contract with the artist.

At IAFE, an artist is approached by a Fair Manager and the Fair Manager proposes that if he can get 5 fairs in a southern state to all agree to hire this act, will he break his price and come in for $XXX.00.

The artist agrees, and about 30 days are contracted at 5 fairs. The contract is written simply, “If the following 5 fairs agree to use Artist, Artist will perform for all 5 fairs, for all 30 days, at $XXX.00 per day.”

The artist travels and performs at the first 3 fairs. At the third fair he meets the manager from the fifth fair who informs him that she is breaking the contract if he works in the next (fourth) fair because it is too close to her fair.

Upon careful examination of the contract, one fair location is found to be listed incorrectly, as being much further away.

The artist doesn’t know what to do. He has agreed to do 5 fairs for a much lower price if he gets all these dates, and now he finds himself in a very awkward position. Does he skip out on the fourth fair and sit for over a week not working and lose four days of this one contract? Or, does he do these four days at this next fair, then lose the last fair that is now backing out on him?

Artist decides it is not the fourth fair’s fault, so he goes and plays this four day fair. He then proceeds to the fifth fair, parks on the fairgrounds and is awakened late at night by police and the Manager and rudely escorted off the fairgrounds.

In this case, the fault was that of everyone who signed this six-person agreement. Not one of them caught the error of the one fair listed incorrectly on the contract, and the artist had to eat it again, while also getting rudely escorted off a fairgrounds by police!

If you have horror stories of your own, let me know what they were. I’d love to publish them so people know. The more we are educated, the better decisions we can make in the future.

Contract Horror Story #1

FAIR MANAGER: (sends fax) The contract you sent asks for “backline” for the band. What's a backline?

AGENT: (agent explains what “backline” is, i.e. gear or equipment)

FAIR MANAGER: “Not sure if I can do it. I will see what I can do, and you can also talk to my sound company.”

AGENT: “Great! We will see what I can do on our end as well.”


AGENT: (calls back six weeks prior to show) “Found backline at local music store in your town.”

FAIR MANAGER: “I left you a message a few weeks ago. I used my cell phone, but I’m sure it went through. Although you sent a contract and we agreed on the deal, you didn’t call back. And even though I sent a fax the last time I had a question, I didn’t bother to do that this time. But since you didn’t call back, I booked another band.”

AGENT: “The band did what they agreed: They found backline, they bought airfares, and they have arranged to come up. They will even pay for the backline. You made a deal, and they are honoring it.”

FAIR MANAGER: “Sorry, too bad.”

Result: The band lost a contract late in the game and they could not fill the dates. In this case, the fair was at fault if they did not communicate clearly that they were looking for an alternate band and were going to break the contract. The agent also might not have communicated clearly what his intentions were. The end result is bitter feelings, a lost contract, and no one is happy.

No matter what you THINK the other party is doing, always COMMUNICATE CLEARLY.

Please do not let this happen. Being TOUGH can hurt people. In this case, the band lost an unrecoverable date in a route.