Linebug tour diary #5 (2 things that make a difference)
In Germany there are 2 principles integrated in the culture, that makes touring easier for the artist: 1) Hut-spende 2) Private accommodation. HUT-SPENDE: is the tradition of donation-based payment for the musicians. In Denmark we mostly know this tradition from street-musicians, and the amount of money we normally pay is on the low side. In Germany this tradition is way more integrated at small venues, and people pay much more as they know that the musicians need the support. It is normal to put 5-10€ in the hat. If you are a student you pay a little less, iif you are rich you pay a little more. PRIVATE ACCOMMODATION: It is expensive for musicians as well as the venues to rent a hotel-room, and therefore many venues offers private accommodation. This means that you are invited to stay in a private home for the night. In the beginning I found this to be a little overwhelming, but I’ve come to like it a lot, and I’ve never had bad experience with this. People are generally very nice and welcoming, and this is also a very good way to build a network. It’s often here, while we’re having breakfast with the whole family, that we get nice tips for other venues in the area or other useful information.
Having these two principles means that you can actually have concerts in thousands of small places all over Germany, and neither the venue nor the musician have to take a big risk, since you have “the basics” covered. Sometimes the hat is full, sometimes it’s less, but there is always payment, a place to sleep and food and drinks.
In Denmark I often find that cultural initiatives never take off because there are not enough money to pay the musician the “minimum-fee” (which is almost 300€ per person - a very high amount of money for a small venue, especially if you have a band with 3-5 members). And if you can’t afford the fee, you call it a promotion-gig and the bands are paid close to nothing. In Germany you have a beautiful middle-ground going where newcomers can build a fanbase, and the people have access to a diverse amount of culture and art. THINGS HAPPEN in Germany - they are not always perfect, but they take place, and that is a big difference.