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Monday, February 1, 2010

The Communitea Cafe in Canmore Ruined My Birthday

I just have to say, before I post this...my boyfriend is the best person ever.

And the people at Communitea Cafe in Canmore, RUINED my birthday.

My man wrote this, and is letting me post it.

If you are a musician, please tell your friends never to play here. It's all we have left as a communi"tea" lol!!

Here's what Randy has to say. Baby I love you :)



The moment we arrived to load in gear this evening we were made to feel like a major inconvenience. (by Marni)

At first i didn't quite understand why we were getting some obvious negativity, but as this story unfolds, it becomes crystal clear.

Our first hurdle, and it was like pulling teeth, was to agree upon where we could set up merch. As you know, on a night like this when the guarantee is minimal, the merch becomes the most important aspect of making this stop financially feasible.

It turns out, they'd not only sold to capacity, which is why they (Marni) outright refused to let us have a table by which to set the merch up for display, but they'd OVER sold there venue. There were audible rumblings in the audience like "why did they sell more tickets than they had seats for?".

We were instructed to set up merch on a part of their counter where they serve their tea... of course, there were people sitting directly in FRONT of that counter so the merch was completely obstructed as well, the area needed for either of us to stand behind the counter to tend to any customers was prioritized by their staff for their tea duties making it impossible to be directly behind the actual product...

So, to sum it up... we had to stand off to the side for most of the time...getting dirty looks from their staff (by Marni) while trying desperately to reach over a counter to tend to audience members who loved billy.

Billy 'was' offered food. The offer was 'before or after'. She chose after.
Wrong choice.
The same woman (Marni) who was blatantly put off by the fact that we were there was so insanely busy selling alcohol that it would've been impossible for her to break away from her beloved cash register. Case in point, when i asked her (Marni) to unlock the office where our cases were stored, she delegated that to one of her friends who was an audience member there to do even that.

The accoms r a mute point. If billy had of been on her own, the 'spare' room would've been fine. Although, before she found out i surprised her and showed up, she was happy about this gig saying "at least i get to play to a full house, get 50 bucks, sell some merch, and i get my own hotel room. All 4 of those points seemed to be things she was sure were part of the deal.

The show.
Billy's banter had the audience laughing out loud, cheering, clapping etc...
They were all singing in unison to the chorus of "just tryin to get by"...

Does this sound anything like an audience's reaction to an artist who's energy wasn't good?

That was a quote from Marni. Directly. Spoken to me in front of the sound guy in the back kitchen.
She actually said, "If i'd thought her energy was good, I would've considered paying her something"...

We were all packed up.
I told Billy to go wait in the car, and i'd settle up.
I approached Miss Negativity (Marni), who I'd i'd been desperately been trying to kill with kindness all night with no success, and asked her if I could get Billy's fee.

She was, of course at the time, at her cash register, and instructed me to "hang on a moment".

Approx 25 mins went by as i watched her have friendly discussions with the only 3 people left in the bar. I sat there. In full view. Remember. Full house. Packed bar from the moment the doors opened until the last note of the main act.

50 dollars.

There i sat patiently.
Chairs were being stacked on tables, no-one from the audience was left in the bar now.

Enter billy to see me sitting there.

She asks, "what's going on?".
I say "I have absolutely no clue, but it's painfully obvious that i'm being blatantly ignored at this point".

Now I actually have to go looking for Marni.
Found her in that back kitchen having a conversation with the sound guy,
I had to actually interrupt them to say, "Hey, it's billy's bday today (which Marni knew), would it be ok to settle up so i can let her celebrate it in some other way other than sitting out in a cold car waiting for 50 dollars?"

It's then that Marni decides to tell me that there was never a 50 dollar figure discussed. It's then, for the 2nd time (1st being when we were trying to set up merch) that she reminds me that she had sold out and didn't need billy and that she was doing a favor for the agent.

Without belaboring the point of my decades in the music business, this was definitely the most rude insulting example of a artist being horribly treated I'd ever encountered.

Dear Marni,
I'm embarrassed for you that you work at an establishment called "communtea".
Plz get a job in the back of a warehouse somewhere, where you don't have to encounter any other humans.
Plz get out of the people business.
You're just not cut out for this sort of thing.
You know.
People.
That thing.

8 View / Post Comments:

Chase said...

People like this make me wish there was some sort of voting process in place, so that if a venue was as terrible as this, people could vote and have it shut down.

and 50 DOLLARS!? The woman has a large stick stuck in her wahoo.

frizzlefried said...

This kind of story is EXACTLY why I tipped so much when I saw Billy perform with OLP in L.A.

Musicians have it hard enough without people like this woman in the blog making things even more difficult, for difficulty's sake.

frizzlefried said...

Digging all the anonymous posts. If you have some novel or story about how great the place is and how this blog is inaccurate, what's wrong with leaving a name? Unless Anonymous is a huge name in Canada, in which case continue.

billythekid said...

Please note that none of this would have happened if Marni kept up her end of the bargain. She agreed to cover gas money, and then refused. Furthermore she was just mean to us all night. When people were buying things from her, she would be pleasant to them. As soon as she dealt with us, completely different person.

Sadly, as an indie artist, there is nothing more I can do to deal with this. She refused to pay me. I'll forever be out that money. I wonder if she does the same to her employees, when they show up and do the job they agreed to do.

frizzlefried said...

I don't think patrons of clubs/bars etc really know how much this kind of thing happens to musicians.

billythekid said...

Dear "Anonymous", keep on posting them comments, I'll keep deletin' em ;)

Eli said...

Hi Billy
I'm a local of Canmore and I'm a fan of your music, on the day of your birthday, I had no idea you were performing in my hometown because as far as I know, the Canmore show kinda seemed random and last minute when it was booked (hence why I didn't know you were playing). Anyway, just a year back, I actually thought you would be PERFECT for the Communitea scene and what not but sometimes, you can't really trust this town since it's full of grumpy people dealing with the "same old tourists". Personally, I only go to the Communitea every once in awhile and I personally don't know Marni however, my father knows Marni personally and she's a good person...when she's not doing business. There could be some misunderstanding between all this but perhaps maybe she didn't hear you or didn't know the connections you have but as a woman owning and running a tea joint by herself (during the night shift), it's not as easy you think. Now, I'm not taking any sides or saying who's right, who's wrong but all I'm saying is (lately) this is a crummy town and the kids dream of starting a life besides Canmore. And lastly, the music scene down here...no such thing.

iHal said...

unbelievable the way you were treated.
You will enjoy Courtenay tonight.
Love your sound, good luck with the tour.