When I first heard about this yesterday, the first thing I thought;

Sioux Falls musicians say it’s insulting to be asked to play for free at the Denny Sanford Premier Center’s soft-opening event.

City of Sioux Falls officials and SMG, the company that manages the events center, put out a call to artists this week, looking for local bands and entertainers to perform at a two-day soft opening event Sept. 19 and 20. Because of a limited budget, they say, they’ll be looking for acts to play for free.

Thomas Hentges, who performs as Burlap Wolf King, said he was sickened by the news.

 Should the city pay local acts to perform at open houses at the events…

“It just says that they have no value in their local musicians,” he said.

Few musicians in Sioux Falls make a living from their music, and getting paid isn’t what it’s all about, Hentges said, but it sends the wrong message when a place that clearly can afford it asks people to donate their services.

I actually called a local musician about it and said, “The mayor says they ‘might’ pay you.” He gives a sigh and a short snort and says, “Yeah, that means it doesn’t pay.” He pretty much voiced the same opinion as the others in the story, with all the money behind this place, they can afford to pay. I also called a city councilor and told them the sponsors should foot the bill for the musicians, as I originally suggested;

His idea was to have a FREE concert for the opening event that the title sponsors and other businesses in town could underwrite. 

Well, at least they took HALF of my idea 🙁

By l3wis

13 thoughts on “Saw this coming a mile away”
  1. So they spend all this money to build and promote this facility as a 1st class venue yet they want musicians to play for free? That totally lacks class! It goes right into the state theme and over all policy Great Faces! Low Wages! South Dakota!

    Well I guess if they feel with the working poor basically giving up their time as charity to work for companies that don’t pay well with minimum benefits musicians can do the same.

    Can the musicians have at least tip jars when they play?

  2. i’m sure there is plenty of free food and drink for the sponsors. did they city ask venders to donate that as well?

  3. How about a free local artists protest concert on the same day and at the same time miles away from the events center.

  4. I’m hoping they publicly boycott the invitation. I have a feeling though that Denny or someone else will cut a check to SMG to pay the musicians after the outcry.

  5. Can’t have any bed PR about the EC, that’s why the siding report has been buried for so long.

  6. I’ve got it!!!!!

    Lets give them all Premier Bank Cards at the special low low rate of 2000% APR.

  7. I recall hearing a member of the city’s wine-and-cheese crowd tell me, after orchestra members had just taken a 15% pay cut off a salary that’s less than what a first-year school teacher makes, “but the musicians love it here and they’ll understand.”

    Said the person making well over six figures at a building with Denny’s name on it.

    Sioux Falls is only home to two types of people: masters and servants. And it’s pretty clear which class of people those at the events center think musicians fall into. Perhaps they can offer free gruel to those who play, or a two-minute window to scavenge leftover apps off trays that their catering staff were about to haul away.

  8. “or a two-minute window to scavenge leftover apps off trays that their catering staff were about to haul away.”

    LOL, brings me back to the days when I was lead usher at the Pavilion. I ate so many leftover apps it wasn’t even funny.

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