I am a professional harpist, having worked in L.A. for years. We
are moving to the Charlottesville, VA area where I hope to find
work. Can someone tell me the “going rate” for harpists
I was told that the going rate for (North Carolina) was around $300. Perhaps, Charlottesville, Virginia would be similar in their fee-rates. Would anyone care to verify that? I, myself, am curious what the going rates are for Phoenix, vs. the mountainous surroundings of Arizona. A bridesmaid in another wedding heard me play and wanted me for her wedding; but when I gave my fee, she said her fiancee would get back with me. Well, He did, except….he gave me a sob story that they were paying for the wedding all by themselves… and that they wanted to know if I’d take $250 total, but added that he had his credit cards maxed out…blah, blah, blah, and that that he didn’t know if he could even pay for flowers. But then, said that he didn’t mean to offend me…after muttering that he couldn’t see paying that much for “only” an hour. Then he proceeded to tell me that he “heard” me and really wanted me for his wedding, that I sounded great, but heard that another harpist down the Valley (Phoenix) could do it for $250. I honestly hadn’t been in this situation before, so my natural response was…”Is this other harpist a celtic harper?” Well, he didn’t know, but said that this other harpist did concerts across the country, blah, blah, blah, but that he heard me and really wanted me. Well, I just had to tell him that I would call him back in a couple of days. First of all, it is an outside wedding, June 15th at 5:00 p.m. Which means…I’m setting up at around 3:45 p.m. (It will be very warm!)Oh, yes…he also said that he didn’t need me for the rehearsal, that it was a waste of time when he watched his fiancee (bridesmaid in the other wedding) with the music rehearsal. Well, then he told me that there are seven bridesmaids! And it is near a stream in Christopher Creek, and they were renting cabins. Talk about stress! I would think it would be imperative for a smooth wedding to rehearse the “music” for the bridesmaids so that the “musician” and bridesmaids know what to expect! I’ve done just a few outside weddings, and they have been fun, actually. Well, I didn’t mean to tell a story that is still in progress, but perhaps someone else could “gliss” in with their imput. And…Kim…if you read this, could you give me an expertise advice? I was remembering the posting from a harpist that sets her fee high enough so that she has room to come down and make the clients feel good about it. (Like $450…coming down to $425…but that’s in a high rent district or added other fees.) But I’m not sure if this wedding would be worth the fee of $250 due to the circumstances. I do use contracts, so I would cover my bases. I told them that I would include rehearsal with my fee of $350 and an additional violin on one song. (The violinist is a 20 year old just starting out and had accompanied me in the other wedding on one song.) Any responses would be great! Thanks.
Ms. Schweninger: I am getting married in Orange, VA (30-45 minutes north of Charlottesville) at the end of June. We are looking for a harpist. We thought we might have one, but she booked someone else before we got back to her. She was charging $365 for 2 hours. I know she is quite experienced, but I did not get to hear her play. If you are going to be in the area at the end of June and are interested in discussing playing for a wedding, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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