Mediocre performers paid thousands

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Isabelle Pinard
Managing Editor

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Students shifted their weight from one foot to the other while waiting in a line that wrapped around the block to get into a high school fundraiser. The unusually large crowd was for a special YouTube-famous music group scheduled to play at the dance.

The entire crowd was still waiting an hour-and-a-half into the scheduled dance time while background music played and the slightly-shriveled school-colored balloons were pulled down and popped by bored, would-be dancers.

Tired of standing in this mass of irritated teens, I made my way to the door, livid because I just wasted $15 for a no-show band. As I made my way out the door one of the students, wearing the school’s sports attire, scowled and said that his student body had paid almost $2,000 for this group.

There is no reason why an Internet hip-hop group should charge thousands of dollars when it isn’t signed with a record company. Schools have enough trouble already getting money for food and decorations that they shouldn’t have to dish outrageous sums for an amateur musicians.

CSH had a similar problem at the 2011 prom with a YouTube-famous hip-hop group that was just starting to make a name for itself in the Bay Area.

The members signed a contract with the school stating that they would get paid when they performed, but they showed half hour before the dance was supposed to end and were not paid a dime.

The smarter way to get good, affordable music for school events is looking for recommendations from other schools or facilities that hosted a particular band, or getting a student band to perform.

Casino Night’s live entertainment was Stuart Hall High School musicians. The performance was energetic, fun and didn’t cost anything extra for the school.

Gigs4all.com, an online musician database, provides access to thousands of bands for hire from all over San Francisco with many only costing a couple hundred dollars.

By bands, I don’t necessarily mean big brass bands — there are hip hop, alternative rock, indie and jazz-styled groups. Gigs4all has email addresses for its bands as well as reviews from other customers who hosted them.

The idea of hiring a band for a school dance seems archaic to students who are used to DJs who play synthesized music, but bands are more interactive with the crowd and have a unique enthusiasm when they perform. Schools can also benefit from saving a little extra cash.

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