I would never usually write anything like this, but I feel that if no one makes a point about their behaviour, they will carry on abusing people.
Back in December, I had a particularly busy week, culminating in three back-to-back Christmas parties.
All had gone extremely well until I reached the Harold Wood Neighbourhood Centre near Romford, Essex.
On arrival, I did my usual greetings and checked to see what equipment I required. When I spoke about the remaining balance to the booker (it was short by £50), I referred them to the contract and asked if it was ok to settle up.
She replied, “We need to take some money in the till first before we can pay you.” I asked if she could settle up at the break of the show at 4pm (2 hour show 3pm-5pm) She replied that it wasn’t a problem.
So the show is now almost half way through, with over 60 happy kids plus adults. I left the stage to speak to the booker (who seemed lovely and I’m sure this is not her fault with what happens next….)
She told me to speak to the owner, with whom I shook hands and asked if everything was ok. He replied with “Brilliant.” I asked for payment and he then asked what time I finished, so I told him 5pm.
With a sarcastic smirk on his face he remarked, “I will sort it then.”
I informed him that it was ‘payment upon arrival’ as stated in my terms and conditions. “It’s not worth the paper it’s written on” he said. At this point alarm bells began ringing.
I said “I understand what’s happening here so I will now pack down and go home.”
The next bit unnerved me, as for the first time in 6 years as a kids entertainer I had never been threatened.
He warned that if I pack down there would be ‘big trouble.’
I felt really vulnerable being alone with my equipment on his stage.
Harold Wood Neighbourhood Centre members were lovely, and they were a pleasure to perform in front of. I got back on that stage and accepted I may not get paid for this gig, but knew if I walked away it would look bad as the members had no idea of the situation with myself and the owner of centre.
Looking back, as I was physically threatened, I should have just called the police. After all, I was there to entertain, not to be bulled.
I finished the show on a high and gave it my all. I’d love to mention his name but he refused to give it to me. In the end I got paid and left quicker than usual!
I really hope this doesn’t happen again to any performer or act at the Harold Wood Neighbourhood Centre.
But personally, I will not be returning nor will I recommend it to anyone else.