Vandermark on touring Europe vs. the US

One last Ken Vandermark post: I was browsing through his tour notes yesterday and came across this interesting paragraph from his recap of last year’s Vandermark 5 U.S. tour:

People frequently ask if it’s better to tour in Europe and I always say no, that aside from the fact that there’s more money available through government arts support and festivals, in many ways it’s the same. Since there are hardly any festivals in the United States that focus on the kind of music I play, and which have any kind of budget (I need to go to Canada for those North American opportunities), all the music is usually performed in small venues by presenters who don’t receive any funding for the work that they do. This means that I am paid about three times more for comparable work in Europe. Otherwise, aside from festivals, the audience turnouts are almost identical in their numbers and demographics, and if you remove the subsidy money from the equation the net economic result is nearly the same. Another similarity between North America and Europe is that the best gigs are organized by presenters who really care about the music and the players. The experience for the musicians isn’t only based on the size of the city, it’s based on the motivations of the people involved with the concerts.


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