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The PunkLawyer Blog June 2010 - The PunkLawyer Blog

Archive for June, 2010

Drunken Bus Drivers and Stolen Trailers, Oh My!

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

So summer is here in full force, and with summer comes Warped Tour, which kicked off this weekend in Ventura, California.  Apparently it has been a bit of a wild ride for some of the artists so far.  Dying Scene reported that Sum 41 had a scary trip back from the show after discovering that their bus driver apparently was drunk.  In a series of tweets, the band described the experience:

“We are alive. In ventura. Ready to rock out.” 3:18 PM Jun 27th via UberTwitter

“What an idiot! We could have been killed! Fuck this guy. Never working for us again!” 10:00 AM Jun 27th via UberTwitter

“No doubt we like to drink. Its well documented. But this fucking idiot did it while driving!” 9:58 AM Jun 27th via UberTwitter

“New bus driver came and met us at the side of the road…. He seems more sober.” 9:55 AM Jun 27th via UberTwitter

“Recap. Our bus driver ran off the road. He was drunk. Deryck tried to fight him” 9:50 AM Jun 27th via UberTwitter

“So our bus driver was drunk. We are at the side of the road. This tweet is not a joke. Trying to get to Ventura for warped tour”  9:32 AM Jun 27th via UberTwitter

The band has obviously fired the driver, glad no one was hurt in the incident.  This incident not only illustrates how dangerous drinking and driving is, but also how important it is to make sure whoever is driving you and your gear around is safe to do so.  This includes not only being sober, but also rested.  If you’re hiring someone to drive a tour bus, make sure they are properly licensed, and a background check might not be a bad idea.  This goes for whether you have a driver or not.  If you have a tour manager, he or she is responsible for making sure your transportation on the road goes smoothly, and should be held accountable for those duties.  Of course, flights get delayed, vehicles get stuck in traffic, sometimes there’s nothing anyone can do.  But it’s a good idea to discuss with a tour manager what your expectations are of him or her for the tour, and then put it in writing so everyone is clear from the start.  This will help matters if problems do occur down the road, pardon the pun.  And they can happen, like when King Khan and BBQ were arrested in Kentucky on drug charges, and their tour manager was charged with driving with a suspended license in addition to possession.  The arrest not only resulted in cancelled shows, but reportedly also put their work visas in jeopardy.   So be careful out there.

In other Warped news, it was tweeted today that the Bouncing Souls would not be playing today’s date in New Mexico as their trailer may have been stolen:

“Also please note: BMTH is not playing because Oli is in LA and The Bouncing Souls will also not be playing because their trailer is          missing.”  about 1 hour ago via Twittelator Jun 30

Old Shoe Records was advising via Twitter for people in Phoenix to look out for Bouncing Souls merchandise to hopefully catch the culprit:

“The Bouncing Souls trailer was stolen yesterday in Phoenix! Watch for excess Souls Cd’s and Vinyl lets catch these bastards.” @vanswarpedtourabout 1 hour ago via TweetDeck

I think it’s getting scary out there for touring bands.  As I previously posted, Protagonist recently had their gear stolen, and Alternative Press has reported on the seeming rash of thefts of gear and trailers from bands.   I discussed in a previous post some tips for keeping your gear safe on the road, but it seems to be getting harder to outsmart the crooks.  Above all, keep records of your gear with the make, model, serial numbers, and any identifying features.  Take pictures of it, as well as your vehicle.  Get insurance for both, and understand what is and is not covered in your policy. Keep a copy of your policy with you, as well as the number of your agent or company.  Make sure to always lock the vehicle/trailer.  Unfortunately, it seems lately that even if you do everything you can think of, it still won’t stop a determined thief with tools to cut through chains or locks.  If something does happen to your gear, get a police report, and if you have insurance call the company to start the claims process.  This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list, and I’d like to hear from bands, venues, etc that have dealt with theft and may have tips.  Look for more on this topic in the future, as well as an update from Protagonist.  Check out their videos from their recording session with Stephen Egerton over at Punknews.

Ready, Set, Film! (Or At Least Apply to Film)

Friday, June 11th, 2010

This week was an exciting one for entertainment in Florida.  Starting at noon Wednesday, the Governor’s Office of Film and Entertainment began accepting applications for the new 5 year, $252 million transferable tax credit program for film, television, commercials, music videos, as well as digital and emerging media.  The credits will be available on a first come, first served basis, and the word is that given the interest from all over the country, they are expected to go quickly.  The program begins July 1, 2010, and there is $53.5 million allocated for the 2010/2011 fiscal year.  There are three queues based on the type of project: general production, commercial and music videos, and independent and emerging media.  The tax credit ranges from the base percentage of 20 percent up to 30 percent if a project qualifies for either of the two available 5 percent bonuses for productions filmed during off season, and for family friendly productions.   The Film and Entertainment Office has a great site with more details and materials on the program, check it out here.   Given the great weather and locations available across the state, the program hopes to bring more film, television, and other projects to Florida, as well as bring jobs and support the growth of entertainment infrastructure.  With the growth of art and digital media programs in the state at at schools like Ringling College of Art and Design and UCF to name a few, I think it’s a great time to be encouraging new film and other entertainment projects in the state.   As per the update provided today by the Film and Entertainment Office, over 550 applications have been submitted for over 100 projects so far.   The Office staff are now moving forward with reviewing the submissions and supporting materials, and then qualifying and certifying projects to receive the tax credit.  There’s still time to apply, to be considered applications have to be submitted within 180 days of the start of filming or the start of the project.  As the program goes for 5 years, there is also time to dream up projects for future years of the incentive as well.  Here’s to more entertainment projects coming to Florida, have a great weekend!

It’s the What Amphitheater Now?

Friday, June 11th, 2010

The sale of naming rights for venues has resulted in some interesting names for amphitheaters and other venues around the country.  Perhaps the most interesting so far was the announcement yesterday was the new name of what has been known as the Ford Amphitheater at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, which will now be known as the 1-800-Ask Gary Amphitheater.  For those of you unfamiliar with 1-800-Ask Gary, it’s a medical and lawyer referral service for people injured in car accidents known for its advertisements featuring actors encouraging people to call, which have been pretty heavily parodied on YouTube and other sites.  In these type of deals, a company pays a fee to put its name on the venue for a certain period of time.  The potential exposure can be huge for a company and its brand, as it is featured not only on the venue, but also mentioned by announcers, featured on scoreboards during televised games, you get the picture.   The uses of the brand name would be spelled out in specific terms.  The fees for naming rights can range from a few hundred thousand dollars to hundreds of millions depending on the market.   But it’s not always as simple for companies as just cutting a check and signing a contract– there can be public relations issues that can prevent a naming rights deal from going through.  For example, a proposed deal between the Mosaic phosphate company and the spring training home of the Tampa Bay Rays fell through after community backlash erupted over the company’s environmental record.  In another instance a while back, the University of Missouri announced that its new arena would be named the Paige Arena, after the Wal-Mart heiress, only to change the name a few weeks later after Paige Laurie was accused of paying a classmate to write her papers in college.  As of late, the state of the economy has impacted naming rights deals, and it is getting tougher for some venues to find takers for naming rights.   Reportedly, in the 1-800-Ask Gary deal, the rights were sold for half of the $775,000 a year that Ford was paying under its deal.  A rep for Live Nation admits that there might be jokes made about the amphitheater’s new name, but does not think there will be a negative impact.  What do you think, does the name of a venue matter, or do you just want to know where the show is?  What are your favorite odd or quirky venue names?  Here are some of Business Week’s favorites.