Tip jar

Tip jar

Our session is at a great local pub and the manager gives us a generous bar tab to work through over our 3 hours there for beer food, etc. We might have to pay out for one or two pints at the end of the evening.

Last week (in my abscence) a couple of memebers insisted on putting out a tip jar for the sessioners to the chagrin of some others. I assume they did so without consulting the manager.

Should I applaud them for their ingenuity or remind them that we aren’t a working band and they should find a place downtown if they want to busk for tips?

Does your local lsession solicit tips form bar and restaurant patrons or is it frowned upon?

I tend to lean toward no tip jar since we are compensated already by the pub…not looking to have someone make my decision for me, but I’d like to hear the opinions of the salty veterans here to inform my thought process…..what does your experience tell you…

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Tip jar….we don’t even get a free beer. Not even at Christmas……

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Regardless of the avalanche of moral and ethical preaching you’re about to read on this thread, I’ve found that there is only one danger you will face.

I see you are in Virginia, so as a fellow Americayian I must warn you that with a tip jar in place eventually some drunken ‘yahoo’ is going to wave a large denomination bill in the direction of that tip jar and ask for something truly reprehensible, and I mean The Wild Rover or Whiskey in the Jar reprehensible. I can nearly guarantee you that someone in your party will then take it upon themselves to sing the offensive thing in question in order to secure this ‘tip’ from this ‘yahoo.’ If you are wise, you will keep a local strummer on hand who also plays in one of those ubiquitous local Irish American bands that sings lots of songs like that, and you can simply put him or her to work while you head out for a smoke, hit the bathroom, flirt with the barmaid, etc.

When returning after the offense is complete, be sure to launch immediately into a large chunk of mighty reels in order to re-establish proper decorum, lest your lovely session be turned into The Clancy Brothers Karaoke Night.

Good luck to you, session safely, and beware.

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I am too old and fat to grovel under tables helping to pick up £2.97 in small change out of a dropped jar, and I haven’t the maths (or the willpower) to argue with half a dozen people as to how best to divide this amongst 11 musicians who are putting their instruments away all round the room while the barmaid is giving voice to stuck pig impressions to get us out.

It is a quite dreadful idea and not to be borne.

The punters ought to get Invalidity Benefit for having to listen to *us*, especially when the session pagan and other hard cores are giving it rock-on with the bagpipes.

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I play at a pub that provides food and drink and we do put the concertina case open on the table with a few bills in it and have indeed received requests for “popular” songs which are all politely turned down. Not long ago a patron in the city on business dropped a 100 dollar bill in the case and requested nothing. He just appreciated the music. Such instances are pretty unusual though.

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We have a few regular punters who like to tip us a few dollars. We try to remember to set out a tip jar for those folks simply because it’s awkward otherwise. We don’t solicit tips or any of that business. It’s a session, not a paid gig with all the associated baggage, and we don’t want anyone thinking otherwise.

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Oh Dear! Oh Dear! How I hated it when a friend or aquaintence, thinking he was doing us a favour, took an empty glass around the customers in a pub collecting for the musicians. I felt degraded, and felt as if we were busking instead of enjoying the session.
Mind you I still have some of the balls of gum, holy medals and foreign coins that were in the collection, and yes…I did take my share, but passed it on to my favourite charity…..my wife!

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I say be careful. There might be some people who only play a handful of tunes that would expect their fair share. I say enjoy the music and company of friends and be thankful you get at least a few free pints.

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I hate the tip thing, period. When they began appearing at the refreshment table at a kid’s choir concert, I cringed. Can nothing be done without a monetary incentive?? (Disclaimer: I tend to tip servers generously, having had a very short career in the food industry.) But me playing music and sipping beer on a Sunday afternoon is not worthy of a tip. Tap your feet, smile, or get up and dance, and I will be happy as a clam.

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“…a patron in the city on business dropped a 100 dollar bill in the case…”

It was probably a foreign visitor, leoj. As your dull old greenbacks all look the same, the visitor may have thought he was dropping $1.

I have never witnessed soliciting, tacit or otherwise, at a session. We reserve that for regular busking at markets, at the beach, etc.
If a pub patron wants to show particular appreciation, s/he might buy a round of drinks, but this isn’t very common in my experience. On the other hand, the lack of financial commitment doesn’ t seem to inhibit patrons from making requests.

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No. This guy was from Minneapolis!

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If someone put out a jar near me I would regard him with mild contempt and subsequently have nothing to do with it or any money accumulated in it.

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I’ve been to some sessions that have a “tip” jar out. The monies collected are used to offset a bar tab, if any, and tip the service staff. Unless there were a few generous souls such that LeoJ wrote about there’s never been enough money left to dole out to the musicians.

Peace,
Ed

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“ Tap your feet, smile, or get up and dance, and I will be happy…”
Agreed, Batlady! Worth more than beer money.

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Like I said it’s unusual and typically there’s just a few dollars contributed. But, you never know…
The pub itself offers a generous tab so we have some dinner and drinks before we start. And most importantly we just have fun.

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Definite “no” to the tip jar. The odd time a punter left us a couple of dollars we added it to the server’s tip (which is a great place to put spare change - mighty return on investment!)

Sometimes I wish they’d pass their plate of fries/chips around, though.

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Seems to be generally frowned upon in my limited experience. I would never feel right about it myself, and you certainly couldn’t force me to take any portion of it. The bar I go to when I get the chance will sometimes offer a free drink, or a plate of sandwiches, but generally we pay for our own intake. Sometimes an appreciative listener will buy a round for the group, which is always acceptable and greatly appreciated.

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Y’all have only confirmed what I was thinking. No on the tip jar. If folks want to drop a few bucks on their way out to say thanks, no big deal, we’ll devide it up or give it to our waiter, but we aren’t going to solicit for cash….not when we’re getting a few free pints each week…

Thanks for all your input!

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“divide” that is

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hahahahahahhahahahahhahahahahaha

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If someone wants to buy a round for the musicians, I’ll never say no - even if I ought to. But if someone wants to do some tipping, I’ll point them to the bar staff.

That’s me, you can do what you like.

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This whole thread is just so American!
Tips?! What are they?

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American - I thought the same, yaalhouse.

Ever thought about emigrating? Maybe play at that session referred to above where $100 dollar bills fall on musicians like manna from Heaven?

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Mix- I’m as content as I could ever be here in Sarf Lunden. I’ve been to the American colonies and they are quite nice for a short time but…

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Free beer and nowt else is the ideal. The landlord takes all monetary negotiation away by fetching pints. No money means no pressure which means we can stop for a bit and have a natter or a pee or something strong. Splitting money up at the end of an evening is the most God-awful thing. Just think, one day someone will give y’all a tenner or buy a round then ask for Fields of Athenry. Is that what you really want?

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That’s what I’m saying! You take the risk, you pay the price!

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Oops. I thought I’d read it all. Sorry!

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Yes, we have a tip jar, but we generally don’t keep the money. Since we get our drinks for free, on the nights where the bartender isn’t one of the owners, we generally give all our tips to him/her.

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Tips? Free drink? What are these strange things of which you speak?

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Sure slag Americans. Must I remind you of how America and Ireland’s histories are so entwined? Musically as well? If there was no America the face of Ireland and Irish music would be very different. And well I’m at it looking down your noses at “those” songs or “popular” songs is so childish. Ya I like my trad session and keep it so, but when some one gets up the nerve to asks for Whiskey in the Jar I might do it. Maybe it’s just here in the states but the number of people who would rather hear those songs all night with the odd jig here and there vastly outnumber the trad heads. What about a song like The Ferrymen? Good song, semi-“popular”. If someone requested a song like Homes of Donegal would you do it? There are so many degrees and types of “Irish music” here it’s not funny. It varies from person to person. Hell there’s 60 million Irish Americans by some estimates. It’s simply not black and white. And you know deep down that you like to entertain people, just a little…admit it, it feels good to play music and make someone else smile a little, admit it. We play in pubs, get over it. There ARE people there and you ARE entertaining.

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No need to get defensive, saltcast. I’m sure if you took America out of the equation, sure it would be different. Something tells me many of the Irish would be okay with that. Personally I would never want to mix Whiskey in the Jar into a trad session. It doesn’t fit. If the patrons want Whiskey in the Jar, there are plenty of pub bands that will be happy to oblige, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Please keep it out of the open session lest it become a thing.

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Sure saltcast, if you’re getting paid to entertain, then yes, you have to give the people what they want.

That’s one of the wonderful things about sessions. The music comes first, not us or the crowd.

…and yes, performing is fun too, that’s why I have a band and book gigs. Sessions are not about me or the crowd, it’s about the music.

I’m also an American. Deep down you know you’re a little tired too of explaining to other Irish Americans that you don’t play in some Clancy Brothers or Flogging Molly cover band nor do you jump around in scanty clothing to new agey sounds ala Riverdance or Celtic Women. Go ahead. Admit it. It’s OK. Rage along with the curmudgeons for a while. Feels good man. 😉

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I’ve been told I am entertaining but I doubt it had anything to do with my music.

More seriously, the sorts of songs you listed are one thing as far as I am concerned and the tunes are another. I don’t play those songs any more than I play jazz and I don’t really give a damn if the punters in the pub associate what I play with those types of songs. If someone requests a song like the Homes of Donegal, I tell them I don’t know it. It’s true. I don’t. Nor do I care if people would rather hear songs than hear jigs and reels all night. Most of the sessions I play at, I play at for nothing (as implied by my last post) so I am under no obligation to entertain anyone. I go out for a few tunes, banter, and pints with my mates. If anyone else in the pub fancies listening and appreciates the music, cool. They’re still not getting Wild Rover out of me.

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As one of the ‘ubiquitous local Irish American bands’ (and a piper no less) I’m happy to take money for any and all reasons. I’ve played Smoke on the Water for a $20, but did have to turn down a request for Inna Gadda da Vida.