Venue cancellations and slow payments - Who is Responsible?

Have venue cancellations and slow payments always been a problem for the Entertainment Industry?


Could it be that these days people are more socially connected?

I see a lot more issues on social media these days surrounding cancelled bookings. Performers not being paid on time for their work. Agents in the wrong (as ever).

Lets look at some figures.

According to this article on the guardian, 24m Britons were logging on to Facebook each day by 2013.

By 2017, there were over 31million Facebook users in the UK alone, according to Warren Knight – Think Digital First (who knows his stuff)

Is this the reason we see so many more complaints? Because more people are just online? Has it become more socially acceptable to openly discuss complaints and issues online?

I think debts or a person having “business issues” were previously seen as being a private matter. It was not the “social norm” to discuss issues out-loud in public.
Just like when recently it became socially acceptable to discuss the differences between women’s salaries and mens. The media and social media has enabled us to be more open in order to support and advise each other.

I think that is the key here, openness without being slanderous of course. There are two sides to every story, but people do have the right to be open to state their cases.

If the increase in venue cancellations, late payments or not being paid at all have always been around, then what can we do to improve on these issues?

The Basics – step-by-step process for your bookings:

  1. Ensure that you get the venue or clients full name, address, email & telephone numbers.
  2. Always make sure you have a contract for your booking.
  3. On your contract (which you can design on word) make sure that you include cancellation terms:
  • Example cancellation terms that you can use: All contracts negotiated between the artiste and the hirer are legally binding and cannot be cancelled without full agreement in writing from all parties to the contract. For any cancellation 0-31 days of the booked event 100% of the fee is required and for any cancellation 32-60 days of the booked event 50% of the fee is required.  Cancellation fees will be invoiced directly to the venue/client by the artist.
  1. Make sure that you state what your payment terms are. So on your contract state that you require cash on the night. Or perhaps you want a 20% deposit, with the remaining payable 14 days before the event. If you are doing this, send an invoice to the client / venue.
  2. When you email it, add a read receipt to the email. Ask the venue or hirer to email you back to confirm the booking and your terms at the very least.
  3. 4-6 weeks before your booking, confirm all is ok and that it is still going ahead. If you require a payment upfront, remind them that the payment will be due.
  4. Keep everything in writing that you have sent them. Even if it is a text message or a facebook message. Keep it until you no longer require. Evidence is always your best back up.
  5. Make sure you provide them with an invoice. Either before your booking, (even if it is cash on the night) – take an invoice with you. It’s the professional thing to do. The majority of businesses wont pay unless they get an invoice. The amount of people that I have spoken to in the entertainment industry that don’t send invoices for payments has really surprised me.

By sticking to your process each time, you are demonstrating that you are a professional. When someone receives an official email, letter, invoice, it sets your booking in stone. By emailing or posting contracts to clients, you have written evidence backing up everything agreed. Its not just your word, against theirs – as in a “verbal contract.”

What to do if they do cancel:

If it is outside your cancellation terms, then thank them for letting you know in plenty of time and these things cant always be helped. A pain, but at least it was outside your terms, you might still be in with a chance of finding a replacement last minute booking.

Inside your cancellation terms?

  1. Call or email the venue/hirer to remind them about your “cancellation policy”. Inform them that you require either 50% or 100% of your agreed fee. Sometimes people change their mind when you do this. They might decide to carry on with the original booking!

I would like to add that some artists are perfectly ok with rebooking on another date….. Of course, that is your choice. But what about the money you have just lost? Think about that and consider whether the venue or hirer might cancel again!

  1. After your conversation send your invoice over for your cancellation payment agreed. Make sure that you include the following on your invoice:
  • Hirer / venue name, address & info.
  • The amount you require and what for.
  • Your details
  • Your payment details (bank details for example)
  • And WHEN YOU REQUIRE THE PAYMENT BY. We would usually state 7 days.
  1. Send it and wait. Hopefully you will get your payment and all is fine and dandy.

You don’t get your payment….

Chase the payment again, in writing and by call. Remain professional. Even if you want to scream and shout at them, don’t. Stick to the facts. It looks more professional if you have to present evidence in court.

  1. Send them a notice before proceedings letter or call us and we will advise you of the next steps.

We will advise you for free.

If you are with Equity they are brilliant at this too. Either way, know that you have support available. Know that we are experienced in the industry and that we are just a phone call or email away. We are always happy to help fellow entertainers and agents for that matter.

I hope this helps a little.

>>To find out more about how we help artists and entertainers click here. 

Written by Paula Bolton @Credit_james