After recently writing about Jimmy’s Saloon upcoming schedule, that will see bands from near and far perform in The City By The Sea in October, there have been a few comments that have brought up “cover charges”.

Specifically two comments on this recent post about Jimmy’s Upcoming Schedule really got us thinking and talking amongst our crew, people don’t know why or what they’re paying a cover for.

1 – “Will they still be one of those bars that charge a cover?…… Lame
Plenty of other places in town that don’t

2 – “Should never be a cover… It’s not like that money goes to the band. Just going to the owners pockets I’m afraid. No cover….more people…equals more alcohol sales.

We’d like to take this opportunity to enlighten everyone on the importance of paying a cover and how your money benefits the local music scene here in Newport and on Aquidneck Island..

Jimmy’s Saloon isn’t the only bar that chooses to or has to charge a cover from time to time; Dockside, Landing, One Pelham East, Newport Blues Cafe and Parlor Kitchen & Bar also ask for a small entry fee when they have live music or entertainment.

Unlike pre-sale ticket shows that happen more often in Providence, most of the time when there is a cover the band or entertainment is not responsible for selling a set amount of tickets prior to the day of the show.

Let’s cover the importance of the cover charge so you understand why they are sometimes necessary and hopefully stop avoiding them;

Nicole Garcia hit the nail on the head in her article The Worth Of A Cover, here is an excerpt from that piece…

  • You are most likely going to pay $5 – $7 to get into a venue/bar and that will cover you for a whole evening of entertainment, usually ranging from 2 – 4 bands! Divide up how much you have paid by how many bands you are about to see. How much did you really pay to have a rocking evening of unique entertainment? Close to nothing.
  • You are literally supporting your local music scene. When you pay that cover fee at the door that is how the bands get paid. So once again take what you paid and start dividing!
  • Speaking of supporting your local scene… It is CRUCIAL when paying a cover charge that you tell the doorman if you are there to support a specific band when more than one band is playing. Alot of these shows keep tally at the door to see who brings in the most people and alot of times that is their basis on how much each band gets paid. It also can be a huge deciding factor for most venues if they will ever book that band again in the future.
  • If you don’t have to pay a cover charge then make sure you purchase a drink, some food or bring a lot of friends to fill the bar/venue! Without paying a cover charge that means either the bar is able to afford to pay the band or the band is playing for free! Not everyone can afford this lifestyle! Show them you appreciate them for doing this!
  • Don’t down bars/venues who do cover charges for shows. Cover charges are affordable ways bars/venues are able to help support the bands in their local area. They can keep their bar open and still hire entertainment for their customers.Not all bars can afford to pay bands so doing cover charges at the door is their way of being able to support what they do. You want to support the bars and venues that do cover charges at the door! Without them the independent music scene would suck royally for everyone!
  • Without paying that cover fee we are all doomed to a god aweful world of pre-sale ticket only shows where the bands kill themselves trying to sell their tickets and don’t see a dime of the money. It all goes to the venue, promotional company or the touring bands who don’t sell any tickets and don’t do any promoting for the local bands. Yes I am serious.
  • Cover charges also mean no stress of buying a pre-sale ticket, which includes making time to meet up with the band before the show and not to mention paying on average $10 – $20 a ticket.
  • Most importantly…….the bands that put on these shows put their blood, sweat and tears into their performances. It is WORK! They don’t have roadies. They do EVERYTHING themselves. They pack their own equipment into their personal vehicles or spend money to rent a Uhaul, pay to gas it up and drive wherever the show is. Then once they are there they have to unload all of their equipment and set it all up themselves. They have to keep an eye on their equipment all night to make sure no one walks off with what they saved all their hard earned money to purchase or are in debt for. If they don’t have someone like myself to set up and run their merchandise table that is another stress on them to make sure that is done as well. They do all of this and more all while trying to keep their nerves under check, remembering their set lists and the pressure to put on a great show for their fans. Honestly I think that is worth way more then a $5 – $7 cover charge!

Most likely you’re going to spend the $5 or $10 that it’s going to cost to get into the bar at some point during the night, support local music and support the bars that are trying to bring in big, original and expensive acts for our entertainment.

While we’re on the topic, here a look what’s up for live music and entertainment in Newport.


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Ryan M. Belmore

Ryan M. Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and serves on the Board of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and Lucy's Hearth. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to Ryan@whatsupnewp.com.