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IristSusy Reyes

Irist Launch GoFundMe After Recent European/UK Tour Left Them $20,000 In Debt


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Add progressive sludge outfit Irist‘s fall European/UK tour to the alarming examples of the financial uncertainty and logistical challenges medium to smaller bands face while touring in the current climate.

That outfit were recently left with little choice but to launch this GoFundMe to try to recoup the costs from their decision to go ahead with a European/UK tour alongside Pallbearer and Elder. That trek ran from September through to November of this year and was originally booked/announced a year ahead of time.

While Irist updated their budget for the run and ultimately expected to tour at a loss, they did not expect the debt to spiral into the tens of thousands. The increased volatility of transportation and fuel costs in Europe, along with unexpectedly sluggish merch sales, wound up leaving the band some $20,000 USD in the hole.

The Atlanta, GA natives said of the situation late last month:

“Friends, we need your help!

As a multitude of other artists have spoken out on, the economics of touring have become grueling; ticket and merch sales have fallen while the basic costs of accommodation, transportation and fuel are at an unprecedented high.

We could not wait to get to Europe this fall and tour in support of Order Of The Mind. We planned a realistic budget based on current data, and were prepared to go out of pocket, but the current economic climate devastated our finances and we returned home with a loss that is infinitely higher than anticipated.

Our management have launched a Gofundme to help us recover our unexpected losses. Any contribution helps and whether or not you are able to donate at this time we appreciate you and your support immensely.”

The band’s management commented at the time:

“Like many artists in 2020, Irist’s debut LP ‘Order of the Mind’ and dreams of touring were sidelined by the pandemic. After a two-year hiatus and multiple schedule changes, Irist were finally able to traverse Europe, opening for Elder and Pallbearer.

Although the tour was immensely successful and the band won over many fans on the 45-day run, the current economic climate devastated the band’s personal finances. Irist chose to tour knowing that they would not make a profit. In fact, they expected to pay out of pocket and had a realistic budget planned with current data on expected costs.

However, as many artists have spoken about recently, the economics of touring have become grueling to musicians large and small: Both ticket and merch sales are down. The basic costs of affordable accommodations have skyrocketed and transportation and fuel costs are at an unprecedented high. the exponential growth in inflation along with deflated exchange rates combined to create a perfect storm of financial hurdles and Irist have been left with a loss that is more than double what they anticipated.

Irist was humbled by the response to their music in Europe. This tour reinforced their passion and commitment. While they had hoped to weather this economic storm, the band need your help in attempting to recover the unexpected costs from their tour. Please help support them – any contribution helps!”

In a newly published interview with Metal Hammer, Irist vocalist Bruno Segovia stated of their unfortunate situation:

“Once we were out there, there was a perfect storm of things: gas prices went up exponentially and merch sales were a third of what was expected. We were kind of expecting to lose some money, but nowhere near what actually happened. We were expecting to lose maybe a couple grand, not even counting our tickets to get over there.”

When asked how much money the band lost, he replied:

“About $20,000, not including flights. That was between merch bills, all the lodging, gas, van rental and everything. Gas ended up being €30 to €50 a day more than expected. We were told you could find cheap hotel rooms for, like, €60 a night and our average ended up being €120 to €150.”

The group were three weeks into the run when they realized they were in too deep:

“It was rough. We sat down amongst ourselves before calling management and it was like, ‘Fuck, we might have to go home! We just don’t have money to pay for hotels or gas.’ Luckily, we did get some help: we were able to get advances a little faster. Looking at our numbers, we were like, ‘Well, we’re fucked already. If we go home now, our bills will still be roughly the same.’ We could have saved a couple of grand, but not enough to make a huge difference.”

When asked about his current thoughts of the touring industry, drummer Pablo Davila offered:

“I think something we’ve all asked before is, ‘What will the landscape look like once a lot of the legacy bands are out of the picture?’ It’s really hard to say because it’s changing all the time and, talking to people that have been in it much longer than we have, it’s changing for the worse. I don’t think bands will ever manage to be that big again. They came up when there was actual money to be made in the music industry: when MTV played music.”

The touring industry was among those hardest hit by the pandemic, with the live scene grinding to a halt among quarantine and the various mandates and travel restrictions implemented in turn.

The bulk of active artists were suddenly left without a way to generate the majority of their income, while venues were left paying for facilities they could do business in. Even promoters felt the heat, having to refund tickets and cancel shows they had planned on generating income from.

The explosive return of touring across the past two years has alleviated some of those issues to a degree, but with so many in the industry still looking to hit the road at once, it has also created new problems in itself.

Over time, a shortage of suitable transportation has emerged. Furthermore, qualified road crew previously employed by bands were forced to get career jobs amid the pandemic, with some not opting to return at all. In turn, those that stuck it out are more coveted and thus, in some cases more expensive to retain on a steady basis.

Then there’s also the matter of venues and the like hoping to help make up for lost income and cover any further losses with rising merch cuts. That practice in particular has become even more of a sticking point among numerous artists in these leaner years.

Essentially it boils down to a venue hosting a concert contractually being entitled to roughly 15% to 20% of the income generated from merch an artist sells amid a show in their venue. However, some venues have seen fit to increase that percentage.

Given the rising costs of living and the glut of shows to see, it’s also meant that many fans simply don’t have the money to spend on merch in the first place, denting the income of touring artists even further.

If that’s not enough, the growing energy crisis in Europe has only tightened the noose for those hoping to tour the continent. Thrash metal legends Anthrax opted to cancel their planned touring overseas this fall. The band’s bassist Frank Bello revealed that the current day costs of the trek had ballooned to be three times more than what they had originally budgeted for when the run was booked.

They weren’t the only established artist to scrap their touring plans overseas this fall, as numerous other bands also pulled out of their European touring plans for the same reasons, including hard rock chart-toppers Shinedown.

That problem sadly however isn’t limited to one territory however, as even those touring North America are feeling the squeeze among soaring inflation. Members of Dark Funeral and Fear Factory both recently vented on the state of touring, with Fear Factory revealing they plan to downscale to a van for their upcoming touring to try to offset the rising costs of nearly everything else.

Bad Omens, who amid a wave of viral TikTok fame found themselves with a sold out headlining tour this fall, also recently took the time to lament on the lessening share of income artists can make from their livelihood.

They joined a growing chorus of artists frustrated with an industry the has increasingly seen career musicians squeezed out of earnings, first from the transition to the streaming model and its low payouts, to the now seemingly ever-tightening squeeze on touring and merch.

Even Devin Townsend, a seasoned veteran of the road, also painted a bleak outlook for the industry, revealing that he has been opting to tour acoustically to keep costs down and make it financially viable.

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