How Much do Dance Weekends Pay?

December 16th, 2016
contra, money
Prompted by a Sarah's comment on yesterday's post I was interested: how much do dance weekends usually pay? I don't have great data here, just my experience, but here's the range of what I've gotten with the Free Raisins. All of these included food and housing during the weekend, but only some included travel. Within each year weekends are sorted by payment to avoid making public what specific weekends pay.


  • $400 + travel
  • $450 no travel
  • $500 + travel
  • $600 no travel
  • $600 no travel


  • $300 + covering only Amy's flight
  • $450 + travel
  • $500 + travel
  • $500 + travel
  • $600 + travel
  • $700 + travel
  • $1,000 no travel


  • $500 + travel
  • $500 + travel
  • $600 + travel
  • $650 + travel
  • $800 + travel
  • $850 no travel


  • $550 + travel
  • $590 + travel
  • $700 + travel
  • $750 + travel
  • $800 + travel
Update 2018-03-24: 2018:
  • $550 + partial travel
  • $600 + travel
  • $600 + travel
  • $700 + travel

It's hard to compare ones that do and don't pay travel, since in general weekends that don't pay travel are booking people who are closer, but some of those "no travel" gig were 10+hr drives. Our decrease in weekends that don't pay travel is mostly related to Amy moving to Seattle, at which weekends that don't cover travel are pretty unlikely to ask us.

So let's average just the ones that include travel:

  • 2014: average $450 (n=2)
  • 2015: average $550 (n=5)
  • 2016: average $610 (n=5)
  • 2017: average $678 (n=5)

This change mostly represents three things: people are more eager to book the Free Raisins, people are booking us for bigger events, and we've starting pushing back a little on lowish offers. I think it's probably not a change in the booking landscape.

(The reason this came up is that I was arguing that if you want to get booked for dance weekends you have a much better chance as a 3-piece band than a 4-piece band, because the extra cost of the fourth musician isn't generally made up for by higher attendance. It looks like the additional musician costs something like $600 in pay, and I'd guess ~$350 in flights, so ~$1k seems about right for the cost.)

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