When musicians travel to perform they face a host of challenges—from transporting and setting up gear in a new space, to finding a great late-night eating spot, to getting their instruments across a border or in the cabin of an airplane. The last thing any traveling group wants to worry about is getting “stiffed” on a gig.
If that ever does happen, though, the AFM offers help through “Road Gig,” an AFM policy to assist traveling musicians in the event of contract defaults. But what exactly is Road Gig?
First, let’s talk about what it isn’t. Road Gig isn’t roadside assistance, help at the border with a missing visa or passport, nor help in the event of stolen instruments or equipment (instrument insurance is offered through Mercer in the US and HUB/Intact in Canada). It is assistance with contract enforcement, in cases where a venue or purchaser defaults on payment.
The AFM will assist with collecting on defaulted contracts, when the following criteria are in place:
- The claim is for a traveling engagement.
- The engagement is covered by a written AFM contract (for US engagements only, other written contracts may also be accepted).
- The contract must have been filed with the appropriate union local, and must meet minimum scale.
- Each instrumentalist and member vocalist who performed/would have performed, must be a member in good standing at the time the engagement was scheduled/performed.
The policy does not apply in cases where the venue/establishment is covered by an existing AFM Collective Bargaining Agreement, or in cases where musicians are acting as a backup unit for a traveling “name” artist/act.
Making a Claim
Claims can be made by calling 1-800-ROADGIG in the US, or 1-800-INFOFED in Canada. Claims can also be made via e-mail, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Any calls or e-mails received after normal business hours will be responded to on the next business day. Claimants should include a copy of the defaulted engagement contract, and all other pertinent information, such as venue and purchaser details, in their claims. Upon reviewing all this, the AFM will determine the appropriate course of action, and do everything it can to effect an equitable resolution to the claim.
Enforcement and Collections
When claims are made, the AFM’s Touring, Theatre, Booking and Immigration Division will determine how best to pursue the claim. This usually begins with an official letter to the purchaser/venue to demand payment. If there is no immediate resolution, the AFM will seek authorization from claimants to pursue a legal collection process. At a minimum, the AFM may elect to pay musicians the Traveling Scale, at $150 for leader and $100 for side musician, for the defaulted gig.
When it comes to road gigs, the AFM isn’t going to rush in and change a flat tire or keep a restaurant open past midnight. But we can help our AFM traveling members from being left out in the cold, when it comes to their gig contracts.