Organiser Of Inflatable Playground Festival GTFO Asked Bands To Play For Free

Say it with me: exposure can’t feed you.

Benjamin Mah of local R&B band Astronauts took to Facebook last night (20 Nov) with screenshots of an email from the organisers of GTFO!, which asked the band to play without remuneration.

In an email to Popspoken at noon today (21 Nov), Felix Sim, event producer of Get Out Events!, apologised to Benjamin and related musicians, stating that they are willing to “negotiate and cover costs”.

GTFO!, or Get The Fun Out!, is a festival scheduled for 7 – 9 Dec at Palawan Green, Sentosa. The event is slated to feature “The Beast”, a 252m-long inflatable obstacle course that has attracted “sold out events across Europe”.

In his Facebook post, Benjamin criticised the organisers for not providing a proper event schedule, a press kit, or an explanation over the lack of payment, despite a projected footfall of “200-300k” visitors.

In the email addressed to Astronauts, organiser Get Out Events! promised “2x pair VIP 1 tickets to run a giveaway” for the band’s followers on social media. The email did not extend an offer of tickets to the band members themselves.

Event volunteers were promised more perks than invited artists, including a lanyard, a tee shirt, free meals, subsidised transport, and a pair of VIP tickets, as seen from this Google Form on the GTFO! Facebook page published Monday (19 Nov).

Guitarist Tan Peng Sing of M1LDL1FE left a comment on the post saying their band received the same email from the organisers.

Benjamin called on other local musicians to reject the gig as it “devalues” art and entertainment in Singapore.

“If any other musicians here received the same e-mail, please know your worth and don’t take up the gig. Don’t let organisers perpetuate this type of behaviour because it devalues art/entertainment on the whole and specifically hurts the coming generations of aspiring talent,” wrote Benjamin.

According to the GTFO! website, the organisers are charging $37 for “Standard 2-hours” entry. A $97 “VIP Pass” allows unlimited access with no time restrictions.

Organiser’s apology

Felix Sim of Get Out! Events apologised to Benjamin and related musicians at noon today (21 Nov) in an email to Popspoken.

“On behalf of the GTFO! team I’d like to apologise to Benjamin and any other musician who feels insulted by our outreach. Our vision for GTFO! is to bring happy vibes and fun to adults through the coolest inflatables and silly games, and it was never our intent to exploit or low-ball musicians or artists. We agree with one of the comments stating that “Art is not for free”.”

“Our corporate events team has engaged many musicians, artists and performers in the past (and continues to engage them for our upcoming corporate events) and we have always treated them with respect and fairness. We’re not sure how other festival organisers operate, but our intent was never to insult musicians who are pursuing their passion and we admit that our outreach email (which I approved) could have been drafted in a more sensitive manner.”

“On hindsight, Benjamin correctly pointed out that we should have mentioned that we are willing to negotiate, cover costs, VIP tickets, food and drinks, etc. in our outreach email specific to the GTFO! Festival. We understand if Ben and his fellow musicians feel pissed off by our approach and for that we sincerely apologise.”

Popspoken understands that Get Out! Events has organised corporate events, such as company retreats and dinner and dances, since 2012.

Read Benjamin’s post in full here.


Header Image: GTFO! Facebook Page

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