Dear friends & clients:
These are uncertain and heartbreaking times on many fronts, including those of us connected through the usually ultra-fun event space. From graduation parties to weddings, fundraisers to festivals--We are all feeling the effects of Covid-19. For many, these events will go on as scheduled with smaller and socially distanced crowds, while others will choose to postpone or cancel.
From the band’s perspective, having our shows shut down by the government’s shelter-in-place order from the middle of March to mid-May was never something we saw coming. The term “starving artists” has taken on a whole new meaning during this pandemic--Empty pockets with lots of time on our hands…Fear not though, as a band we have been busy honing our craft, keeping up our musical chops all throughout the quarantine period, and we are excited and ready to work with you all at your upcoming events—both clients with existing dates still on the calendar and clients who have temporarily “cancelled” their shows waiting to reschedule in the months to come.
Thankfully it appears like things are moving in the right direction when it comes to the fight against Covid-19. New medical treatments are showing great promise and hopes of a vaccine are on the horizon. Social distancing, hand sanitizer, and face masks are likely to be the norm for many months to come, but the good news is finally starting to outweigh the bad! I’m happy to report that we recently played several highly successful events under the circumstances with neighboring South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, and Wisconsin all open for business with minimal restrictions. Minnesota has a few more restrictions in place, but events are now finally being allowed to happen. Our events in May and June have all taken extra precautions to adhere to updated CDC guidelines, including smaller crowds than originally planned for, but they have otherwise all gone off without a hitch...Music and laughter has once again started to fill the air, and people have been singing and dancing along to the band as if they’ve never danced before! There’s a very real need and hunger for people to come together to celebrate life, and it was a truly magic moment I will never forget!
In conclusion, the world has changed, but we will all sing and dance together once again! The situation with Covid-19 is evolving day to day, but we have included many common questions and answers at the bottom of this email. If you are on the fence about rescheduling your upcoming date, please call us asap to discuss options and availability. We still have many clients from March-May waiting to reschedule postponed events for later this summer and fall, so remaining dates will fill-in fast. The possibility of changes to an event that’s often taken 12-18 months to plan can be a terrifying concept, but we’re here for you to help make any transitions or changes as smooth as possible.
Every situation/event is unique and we want yours to be extra special, so we look forward to hearing from you—Please don’t hesitate to call.
We hope you and your loved ones are all staying healthy, happy, and safe during these troubling times.
The Mud Dogs Band
COMMON COVID-19 QUESTIONS
Q: What actions are you recommending clients take if they have shows currently booked this summer?
A: When it comes to Covid-19, our clients really fall into two categories. Those who have near-term weddings that directly fall within government shelter-in-place restricted dates, and those who are booked 1-3+ months in the future who are unsure of what might happen with the pandemic or any regulations. Every state is a little different, but thankfully most of the government's shelter-in-place regulations have been lifted so the "force majeure" nature of the restrictions in March-May has all but disappeared for the time being, although we will continue to monitor the landscape for any changes along that front. In any case, we are diligently working with all of our clients to find a mutually agreeable date to reschedule, while at the same time applying any existing non-refundable payments to future dates within a reasonable amount of time.
Q: What do you mean by a reasonable amount of time, and what happens if we can’t find a mutually agreeable date?
A: One of the hardest things about trying to reschedule events is that there are so many vendors, many of which are already booked solid 12-18 months in advance. Trying to coordinate venues and vendors on a near-term date is likely impossible on Saturday nights, but we have been finding some flexibility on Fridays and Sundays. With the sheer number of events being pushed back to the end of summer and early fall, we recommend checking with venues and vendors about reserving one of these nights ASAP. When it comes to rescheduling within a reasonable amount of time, we’re trying hard to find dates for all of our clients within the 2020 calendar year; however, there have been a few times when we have pushed things back into early 2021 when needed.
If all options have been exhausted and the client wishes to cancel the event, then we basically amend the existing agreement to say, “All obligations by the client and the band are considered fulfilled. The band accepts any and all payments already submitted as payment for the retention of their services as paid in full with no further money owed by the client and no further obligations for the retained services of the band to be performed.” It’s basically an informal ‘washing of the hands process’ although we do need a signed copy of any amended contracts.
Q: Why are deposits/retainer fees non-refundable?
A: Just like many vendors and venues in this space, our band uses a fairly standard process when it comes to bookings. Event dates for premier vendors/venues are in high-demand with dozens or even hundreds of clients competing for the same dates—This demand is coupled with a lot of hard work, marketing, and advanced planning; that is the main reason why our band, like most premier vendors /venues in the event space require non-refundable fees as part of agreements before services are retained leading up to your specific date.
(Note: If you are considering cancelling your event, you might be able to negotiate a way to apply any retainer fees to a completely separate date and event, often times at a heavily discounted rate if it's on an off-night...This is a great option for people who need to cancel a large scale event, but would still like to see their initial retainer fee applied to a new and smaller event.)
Q: Other than initial deposit/ retainer fees, are there any other fees to cancel an event?
A: In the non-Covid world, cancellation fees are normally negotiated based on the proximity to the date and our ability to find a replacement show/client. Near-term cancellations are subject to payment in full, since we often times have already turned down dozens of other clients, but due to the proximity to the date are unable to find another client to take the date. When it comes to Covid-19, we treat this much like a natural disaster…Postponements are always preferred, but due to the unprecedented nature of this pandemic, we are allowing contracts to be terminated (penalty free) if they fall directly within a shelter-in-place ordinance, or if the clients give us at least 60-days’ notice of their intentions to cancel in writing. We often times can find a last-minute fill-in gig, but we really do need at least 60-days’ notice.
Q: What if we want to wait and see how things go in the weeks leading up to our contracted date? Can we reserve a back-up date just in case?
A: All reservations require a non-refundable 50% retainer fee…We know this is less than ideal for many clients who are holding an existing date; however, once we reserve your date, we immediately begin turning down other clients interested in the same exact date. (Note: Just a reminder that any retainer fees on new dates would take into account existing payments on the originally contracted date, so the new retainer fee will be closer to 25% and not 50% of the total bill...However, please keep in mind—Fees used to reserve your date are always non-refundable, so reserving a back-up date will incur additional costs, even if the client decides to keep their originally contracted date, or if the new secondary date is cancelled.) …This part can get a little confusing, so I usually tell people it’s basically two completely separate contracts for two separate events, only the 2nd date’s reservation is offered at a discounted rate…Please call for more information on reserving a back-up date.