$1700 Band Fee to Enter Canada to Perform?
Canada’s Ministry of Employment, Social Development & Multiculturalism has just announced new legislation which seeks to charge international bands wishing to perform in the country, and actually, it looks to charge them quite a lot, with a four-member band staring $1700 directly in the face if they fancy a work-related visit.
Spencer Brown, booker for Calgary venue The Palomino Smokehouse explained it to The Calgary Herald, calling it “anti-arts and culture”:
“If I have a one four-member American band at the Palomino, I’m looking at $1,700 Canadian just to get them on the bill — and that’s on top of paying out a sound tech, paying for posters, gear rental, paying the other bands, staffing. Concert promotion at this level is, in itself, a high-risk occupation. So this has just put it through the roof. There’s no way to start already $1,700 in the hole and break even. It’s impossible.”
According to the fine print, the legislation applies to “any venue with a primary business other than music,” and charges a $275 application fee per band member and those traveling with the band (publicists, managers, road crew, etc.), with an extra friendly $150 fee for every approved member. This is an increase from original fees, which were $150 per band member and a $450 cap.
Brown also made the point that the whole thing is probably gonna cause the worst damage to the little guy and benefits “The Man”, explaining, “They are targeting the little guy, they’re targeting small venues, they’re targeting small business. So, me, as the promoter at The Palomino, which will hold 200 people at the best of times, is paying out $425 per band member whereas a guy from a huge promotions company putting on a 20,000-seater for Elton John in the stadium is tax free. Me bringing in (American band ) Redd Kross is not going to devastate Calgary’s garage rock scene. It’s not going to put anyone out of work. It’s going to inspire people to pick up a guitar and put out an album.”
The whole thing looks controversial at best, so I am going to offer no comment to avoid annoying anyone.