How.many gigs a month before you burn out and don't look forward to it?

tapeworm

Member
Messages
8,796
Jealous? Sorry your stuck in the basement...
I see my comment struck a nerve w you. Please don’t leave TGP, I don’t want to be responsible for yet another big name pro leaving this community and all the ensuing threads that would come from your exit. :aok
 

Liko

Member
Messages
779
So, what's your weekly/monthly gig limit before it becomes a burden?
I'm gonna say 2 a week, but 4/5 a month. It depends a lot on the season (the nicer the weather, the less I mind hauling gear and being outdoors for hours before or after our set time), the venues (the better they run their end, the more fun it is on our end), the crowd (more people and more appreciative people are why we do this in the first place), and of course the paycheck (for $100, a lot else has to go right for the gig to be worth it; for $500 I am totally happy to be background music for a crowd paying attention to literally anything else).

I work a 50-hour day job and am married with three kids, so of course that figures into the equation here.
 
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Turi

Member
Messages
10,885
I stopped gigging and playing music for a few years, got back into relatively recently and since Sep 3, 2021, I've played about 75~ gigs.

I guess that's roughly 2 gigs a week on average maybe slightly higher mathematically - some weekends I had more than others. Some I couldn't gig at all. I also lost some gigs because we got flooded twice in two months and I couldn't get to the venues.

For me the answer depends on a few things.
- the vibe of the venue
- distance from home
- the pay

Not in that order.


The worst case scenario gigs for me are venues that I am not a good fit for (oldies clubs, of which I am in multiple rotations), that are far from home that don't pay very well - I don't play these anymore because of the pay.

For these gigs, 1 a week is way more than enough and I will be dreading the day as it comes closer.

Next worst case is the same situation, but pay industry standard - I have a fair amount of these gigs, they would be way less gruelling if I lived closer to the venue. I'm not a great fit for the venues so the vibe is a little off, but I always win people over towards the end of the night, after all the people that want Charlie Pride, John Denver or Neil Diamond have gone back to their retirement centre.

For these gigs, 1 a week is enough but not so much that I dread it - I just don't think it works out, I'd love the pay to match the time away from home. I will be raising my costs on people soon (once I land a part-time job that works for me) and I will risk losing these venues. Unfortunate, but they don't pay enough - an extra couple hundred and I'd enjoy these more.
For reference, I charge $400 for a 4 hour gig (standard, Australia, probably undercharging because it's been the "standard" since the 90s).
Venues that are 90 mins away = more like 7-8 hours. I realistically need to up my costs to at least $700~ for that to be worth my time.


In the middle area are venues that are close to home, pay industry standard, but the vibe isn't really my kinda vibe.
Played one of these recently - nice venues, but the punters want to like.. line-dance.. and I'm some guy that prefers to play mid-tempo rock/indie/pop/folkish numbers.
Again, I do win people over as the night goes on and I do get repeat gigs, but I'm still aware I'm not a perfect match for the venues.

These places, 2 gigs a weekend is enough.
I'm happy to play, even in places where I'm not the best fit, so long as its close to home and the pay is right and the vibe isn't so far off that I can't win people over.


My most preferred gigs are the ones that are close to home, pay well, and the vibe is right for me.
I have a fair few of these gigs - these are the ones where everything goes well every time, because I'm a great fit for the venue.
The punters love it. The management loves it and literally comes out and thanks me for a great night at the end. These are the gigs that just don't feel like work.

I have infinite time for these gigs and would play them every night of the week, if possible.

For me - there's those spectrums - distance from home, pay, vibe of venue.
The further they are from my preferences (close to home, good pay, vibe suits me), the faster I'm burnt out.

The more they suit my preferences, it's actually the opposite - I feel more energised after playing them. I come home and can't sleep for a while because I'm still kinda pumped up and feeling good.



TL;DR - it depends on a few factors (pay, distance, vibe).
 

mcrofutt

Member
Messages
289
Back in my yout when I was full time 3-6 nites a week. These days, in my twilight years, 2 times a month is optimal. If it varies to 3-4 or 1 or none, that's fine too. I still love to do it.
 

Mark Ray

The RockTrain
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
5,908
Last year I was still working my a$$ off as a bakery/cafe manager, 50+ hours per week. WAY short-staffed (20 employees compared to 55 pre-pandemic!). Doing the same $$$ business. My band is busier in the summer, when we play a lot of marina gigs. May-August we pretty well play 8 times per month. That schedule just about did me in last year-I was BEAT!

October 23rd was my last day to work, as I took early retirement to care for my Mom, who has dementia. While that is definitely another "job," it is not as intense as my career had become, and at this point she isn't too bad, still lives in her home. SO, our schedule starting this next weekend is just like last year, 2 gigs per weekend pretty much all the way through August. I look forward to not getting home at 2am, and having to be at work 3 hours later!
 

RCM78

Member
Messages
6,495
2022 is our busiest year yet with close to 80 gigs on the schedule. We all have day jobs so the band plays on the weekends. The summer is our busy time. Right now our schedule is ramping up. December through February are usually slow so we get a break.
 

Maven

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,454
Gigging about 3-4 times a month right now and for me at this stage in life, it’s more than enough
 

DrJamie

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,174
In 2021 I played around 35 gigs, more than I've ever had as a hobby player. That band plays smaller towns, averaging almost an hour away from me. 3 gigs a month can start to feel like a job, especially if I play 2 consecutive nights. That said, my singing and playing is very good these days. I don't like the leader personally, and I really have been contemplating giving notice. I have an originals project that is more fun, but in the basement still. So, it's day by day right now. It would be hard work without a day job. Luckily my wife is very understanding and supportive.
 

CC Overdrive

Member
Messages
4,374
I've never been in the position where I tire from too many gigs.

I'd imagine that even as a cover band, once the irons are hot, you have a little luck, and start hitting pay dirt on the regular, then you gotta run up the mutha trucking scoreboard while you can for as long as you can.
 

gtrdave

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,862
I definitely look forward to some gigs more than others, but I'm not burnt out on the gig scene...yet.

I've got 95 gigs on the calendar for this year (so far), including studio sessions and more of those are sure to pop up. This doesn't include my playing at church nearly every Sunday and another once-a-month ministry that I play at.
And I work a full-time job.
The truth is that if I wasn't having a good time at it then I'd probably let the gigs fade and relax more, but for the most part I'm still enjoying this musician thing. :)
 

JB_SC

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,277
It really depends on what kind of gigs we’re talking about. I could do 7 nights a week of experimental music no problem, but I’d never want to play again if I had to do 7 nights a week of wedding gigs no matter how well they paid. During my peak wedding gig years, just 3 or 4 a month burned me out.

I have some friends who do the cruise ship thing, which according to their testimonies sound like floating burnout factories. No way I’d get on one of those disease barges.
Speaking of cruise gigs, Mrs. JB_SC and I enjoy vacationing on cruise ships. I make a point of speaking with the musicians onboard when I can, and yes, most of the time they are counting the minutes to the end of their contracts.
 

Reefdg

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,646
Zero to twice monthly is OK with me. I'd much rather just jam with friends than hang out in dive bars for several hours per week.
 

HoboMan

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
18,917
I think if we were a well oiled machine where everyone helps with the PA, it would be less burdensom to gig a lot. As it is I gig about once a month sometimes 3, never more.

My band does help but, it seems sporadic. They set up their gear first and then help with the PA, same at load out.

I hear you about the PA. I used to be the guy that supplied the PA for a previous band. It was amazing how many gigs everyone said they were available for but the day before the gig members would let you know that they are coming straight from work and will be there 15 minutes before we play or have to work the next morning so they leave as soon as we were done playing.

Fortunately the band I'm in now (classic rock/modern country cover band) somebody else owns a trailer and all the PA. He lets us keep our gear in the trailer. We all always show up on time and unload and tear down to load the trailer.
Since most of the band's gear is in the trailer we all load amps, drums PA etc. I only have to bring my two guitars and a gigbag.
The bassist who owns the PA will often get an extra $20 per gig and we're all absolutely fine with it.

As for being a well oiled machine, we're all older and have been doing this a long time. We usually try to squeeze in one rehearsal every spring to work up a few new songs and that's it. We'll sometimes work on new material on our own and try it at soundcheck. If it works we'll play it that night.
 

NotTheArrow

Member
Messages
1,982
Gigging in the 80's and 90's was FUN. 2000's was ok. Gigged a LOT. Everything after was boring.

Part of it was the mayhem in the 80's and 90's. Absolute party. After that it got boring. Sure I was getting older and the party was mellower but....not the same.
 

Lucidology

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
27,850
Being a full-time career musician it never became an issue ...
Played 5 to 7 times a week for at least 30 years.,,
Now that I've been hospitalized twice with severe Pneumona ...
I can only do maybe 4 ... However I love playing my guitar & engaging folk more than ever
 

Guitar Dave T

Member
Messages
11,380
Depends on the gig(s). Straight-up walk-ons usually don't go as late because I've got less stuff to setup and tear down. I can sometimes work those in back to back with other gigs, though I prefer once a week these days, often less.
 




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