Okay, somebody has to break a contract. Sometimes there is no ill-will when this happens. However, if one party is uncomfortable, then in most cases, a compromise can be made.
The Fair’s Fault
Funds are cuts, contracts get lost or misplaced, new managers are hired and unanticipated problems arise. Fairs sometimes need to eliminate services.
Sometimes a smaller or shorter contract with the entertainment can be renegotiated. This is usually much preferred by the ARTIST rather than loss of the entire contract.
The Artist’s Fault
Artist is offered more money or a long-term contract that is important to their career (e.g. a casino, movie or TV offer), in most cases an equal or superior replacement can be found, even if it costs the ARTIST money to replace himself — the financial gain of the new contract is usually enough to compensate the artist for this cost.
Artist Cancels with Agency Involved
If an ARTIST cancels on an AGENT, that AGENT is entitled to a full commission from the canceling ARTIST regardless of whether the AGENT makes his commission when the contract is renegotiated. After all, the AGENT has already fulfilled his part of the agreement.
Agreements can sometimes be made to bring an ARTIST back in a future year. If the VENUE needs to cancel and reschedule, sometimes a partial payment can be made, or a new contract can be agreed upon for more compensation.
If the ARTIST cancels, a guarantee that the artist will keep their price the same or will work for less can be agreed upon for a new contract.
When trying to find a compromise, clearly reiterate what both parties need or want. Sometimes the needs are easier to meet than you might suspect.
Find an Arbitrator
A third unassociated party will probably be far more creative about thinking of solutions because they are not personally involved.