Witten by meibastes
Okay before everything, forgive the syntax and dont be a grammar nazi on this entry cos I am pissed and sad and the stitches in my head are painful so there’ll prolly be no periods and dont expect sumthin like an academic paper or close to that. I am in Bontoc as im writing this, been running away from Manila drama for a few months now—been living in Kalinga Apayao when there are no gigs in Manila.
Im exhausted of this whole shitty gig thing where prod organizers are always always assumed to always make money out of gigs. When I was in college, the situation was you pay the prod for your band to get to play. This was early 2000’s in bars like Freedom. Prods were mean that time. There was a time where id submit demos to every prod in Manila just so I can find gigs for the band I managed at that time. We were in college and clueless about the the scene outside UP.
My first production was in Foxsquare Sikatuna, i was sixteen and invited band friends to play. Then I got active at the university org called UP Underground Music Coomunity where I headed the marketing arm for a time. This gave me training in productions and concerts, got familiar with event ethics, band rules, calltime, set time, roadchecks, and all that shit. I specialize in event management itself. We used to organize little gigs to UP Fair and other gigs concentrated around the campus. We even had a mobile truck concert roaming the Lantern Parade in 2003.
If there is one thing I am good at (modesty aside)— its PR and networking. If I meet a band member id introduce myself and start a conversation with whoever i think has strong connections in the music scene. I got discovered as an events host in UP and from there I was already hosting most of the big concerts in Manila like Musiklaban, Oktoberfest, Dutdutan, mostly concerts where I get to meet to bands members in person, get to hang out with them backstage and just chill. Then I got my tattoos from this guy who made most of the tattoos of the biggest bands in the country therefore adding to the long list of musician acquaintances.
In 2008, I staged the first Meiday at Puple Haze. It was just a chill line up of band friends from UP like Giniling Festival, The Brew, Aizo plus help from my other bands friends Top Junk and SunflowerdayCamp. A few months later, I did a birthday party series in Bigsky with Pedicab on it. I remember approaching Jason and begging Pedicab to play for my birthday. The Bigsky series was so fun that I decided to move the parties to Cubao X. You all prolly know the story of Meiday by now. It used to be a little party for friends that grew into a humungous party from prolly fifty people in Bigsky to five hundred nicely dressed people in Cubao X. Then bigger and so much bigger that I was already bein treated like some sort of local celeb in the music scene. Meiday was always free admission and everything came out of personal expense. It was okay at first cos I had rakets but in four years it became too big and expensive to stage. But it did give me numerous newspaper features, magazine spreads, a documentary about me. I found it pretty cool to meet a lot of people but the last Meidays my real friends stopped goin and new kids started to go. I was dubbed as scene queen etc which I until now I still cant comprehend. Those free parties were always fun, you get to see everyone you know and miss in one area. In total, i have staged 46 Meiday gigs in total- 44 of which free admission.
The new venture DOPE MNL focused more on other genres like soul and hiphop. It had sixteen gigs in five months, staged Fete Dela Musique, Rock Stage, POPFEST 2012, and the Ang Nagwawala afterparty.
Let me tell you this. I hate bar gigs. Yout get a share of of the entrance ticket and i never liked that shit. Like when subtracting the payment for beer, its gets complicated when the whole gate share is divided by all the bands. In a decent night this would be 5000-to 6000pesos estimate, and you divide that to the eight to bands subtracting the tabs of the bands who ordered more. If you have a big band in the line up, they have a separate honorarium plus the gate share. The gate share thing is complicated cos of the gig doesn’t earn, you have to make abono pa. Sometimes the gateshare can be converted to food and more beer, and some bands refuse it as help to the prod.
I spent for the entire Fete De La Musique rock stage this year, just like the indie stage last year. Point is, I spend and invest in good sound system because you owe it to the musicians to give them a good sound. I remember ranting about it onstage and got into so much trouble with the French people i needed to write to a long ass letter sayin sorry for the curse words (even though i had all the right to rant about spending my own money, would’ve called it meiday huh?)
So Im tellin you the Wall Lords story from here:
Wall Lords PH is an annual graffiti competition where the winners are flown to another Asian contry for the Wall Lords finals. DOPE MNL was a co-presenter, meaning we take care of the music part of the event while graffiti crews are painting their own wall entries. There were no funding sponsors here so as usual I spent for the sound system with that expensive stage and lights, plus more miscellaneous on staff food and other things. The entire set up was from my own pocket— like in every Meiday or Dope MNL gig where I shell out money just to get a decent sound system. Im very OC with all my event sound systems, even if the BSIDE courtyard’s acoustic is pretty bad, my sound guys make the bands sound better. I approached Vito Crew (roster of hiphop and djs) because i like the idea where hiphop and djs would start the event to get the graffiti teams in groove. If you look at the Wall Lords poster, DOPE MNL and Vito Crew have equal billing— meaning we were both co-presentors, meaning we’re both presenting the event along with SYLV (Support Your Local vandal). But the money used for the entire set up was out of personal expense, while the graffiti part set up was from NUNO’s (SYLV) own money as well. The three of us, DOPE MNL, SYLV and Vito Crew are all co-presentors but only DOPE MNL and SYLV shelled out money.
Vito Crew made me sign an MOA where all artists are all gonna split gate share (door entrance) which was okay with me because I actually have more than 17 acts on my roster while they only have six acts. When you think about it, the MOA was good for both parties. Specifically noted in the said MOA is that the gate share will be split among the artists after deduction of production costs. Just so me and Nuno can get our personal money back. For the event to to break even and raise funds for the flight tickets of winners, we needed a minimum of 700 people to pay door. The sound system alone that I paid for in advance costs thirty six thousand pesos.
A total of 428 people paid gate. That’s automatically a loss however angle you compute it. This number includes the people at night who had the 150 pesos entrance with beer so we still had to pay the fifty pesos to BSIDE bar per person.
The main goal of the door charge is to try to raise funds for the flights of the winners of WALL LORDS. Like Meiday, i suffered severe financial losses again without getting back the full amount of what i paid for the entire set up. Me (DOPE MNL)and Nuno (SYLV) are still seriously in debt because of Wall Lords finals.
Then Vito Crew comes in asking for their gate share. Me and Nuno were both super broke after the event then here comes our other co presentor asking for the gate share of their six acts. We emailed them the computations and clearly there was nothing to split. The other 17 acts didn’t even mind but Vito Crew was persistent. The MOA specifically stated that the split comes after production costs.
So there was no gate share for everyone who played at the event because of the big losses.
Several days after, I got a phonecall from a friend who was concerned and begged me to settle Vito Crew’s talent fee, as Vito Crew had powerful backers and I might end up having problems in my future events if I don’t pay them.
Thing is, there was nothing to settle. There was nothing to split. I was fucking broke. But because of the fear of the powerful backers I decided to tell them that I am paying them with my own money with the condition that the artists will know that someone personally paid for their talent fees because there was no gate share at all. Personally, I think it was unfair for the other 17 acts but I didn’t have a choice. The TF agreed was the amount of six thousand pesos.
I flew to Thailand after the event and suffered a serious motorcycle accident in Koh Pangan. I had a very bad head trauma that required four layers of stitches from the skull and 17 stitches in outer layer on the right side of my face. Vito Crew was requesting for a meeting to settle their TF when I arrived but I cancelled and told them to let me heal first because this shit stresses me out. When you get into an accident in another country, the bill is no fucking joke. Then you go home to the Philippines people stressing you with money that in reality you’re not even required to pay but paying them because you got scared of the threats and out of respect for my band friends in their crew.
I moved the meeting to Thursday instead, November 8 because that is when my stitches are removed and it wouldn’t be so embarrassing to face other people.
Then the powerful backer finally messaged me while I was having my stitches cleaned in Bontoc Hospital, and I sort of figured out that she was the backer.
She said she has been in the business for 35 years both as artists and producer. She told me hiding wouldn’t solve the whole situation. I replied that im in Kalinga Apayao and was just resting and that I have horrendous stitches and had near death accident and told her not to accuse me of hiding because I already set up a meeting with Vito Crew on Nov 8. And she brings up that if my reputation gets sour, its from my own doing. I politely asked her to stop insulting me because I did not do anything wrong and even paying Vito Crew from my own money despite the fact that if we follow MOA, there is nothing to pay them. She replied with ‘Stop excusing your actions. I don’t know you or your personal situation. I just don’t like it when artists are exploited’.
She also added that I have this psychological behavior called persecution complex.
I laughed and cried so hard on the exchange of messages because how dare this powerful person judge and insult my being when she doesn’t even know me and my contribution for the music scene. To be accused that I was exploiting artists is probably the biggest insult for someone who worked so hard to promote the local music scene in the last ten years. When the Meiday concerts ran for four years, I was always broke because I always make sure my events were free admission so it can be accessible to everyone I know.
44 FREE MEIDAY CONCERTS AND IM THE ONE WHO EXPLOITS THE ARTISTS?
The six acts of Vito Crew wants to get paid, how would they feel if they had known that 17 other acts aren’t paid and I was forced to settle this because of their powerful backers and the harassment? How would they feel if they had known that Im getting their TF from my own savings and not from the earnings of the event because there was none and absolutely negative? We dont even have flights for the winners of Wall Lords yet.
AND FOR THIS REASON!
FUCK THE DOOR CHARGES THE FREE PARTIES BEGIN AGAIN. BECAUSE FOR ME IT WAS NEVER ABOUT THE MONEY, AND ILL PROVE YOU WRONG.
THE MONSTER PARTY MEIDAY MAKES A HUGE COMEBACK.
JANUARY 5 2013
NOBODY GETS TO INSULT ME LIKE THAT.
This is not my fight so I’m not going to comment about the “situation” though I will support THE MONSTER PARTY MEIDAY COMEBACK as much as I can!