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Casual Stage Rates

Updated: 03 November 2023 | 16:47 PM

Recommended minimum rates of pay for casual engagements for musicians performing on stage, April 2023. Most commonly used in theatres and concert venues.

Casual Stage Rate usage examples

The most appropriate examples where the use of this rate can apply, but not limited to any of the following:

  • 'one-off' publicly funded engagements.
  • Independent self-producing artists with no third party management, record label financial backing or representation.
  • A commercial theatre producer /company looking to perform in a theatre for a one-off Sunday night concert for example.
  • A commercial venture touring a tribute act for one-off engagements.

Please see our ‘Performing with Featured Artists’ guidelines for other rates in theatres and concert halls, stadiums, arenas and festivals.

Please see our Collective Bargaining Agreement with UK Theatre for static theatre production and theatre tours.

Single performance fee (max 3 hours) plus rehearsal on same day (max 3 hours)

Venue capacity of less than 200 £172.00 per musician
Venue capacity of more than 200 £192.00 per musician

Double performance fee (two performances plus a single rehearsal)

Venue capacity of less than 200 £302.50 per musician
Venue capacity of more than 200 £336.75 per musician

Additional rehearsals

On the same day half a performance fee
On another day a full performance fee


Rehearsal or performance: £24.50 (double time) per 15 minutes or part thereof based on the National Gig hourly rate of £49.00

Distance fees and travel expenses


  • Group A - £35.23 – Electric Guitar (inc’ Amp); Bass Guitar (inc’ Amp); Double Bass.
  • Group B - £30.50 – Bass Sax, Tuba.
  • Group C - £24.30 – Contra Bassoon; Baritone Sax; French Horn + 1 other brass instrument; Trombone + 1 other brass instrument or bag of mutes: Two Saxes; Cello; Bass Clarinet: Pedalboards.
  • Group D – subject to individual negotiation – Drum Kit; Percussion; Harps: Keyboards: P.A.


15% of fee for each additional instrument


Minimum of 15 mins per 2 hours playing

Late fees

Payable when time of return is between midnight and 2:00 am: £31.89

Overnight stay

Payable when return would be after 2:00 am: £125.00


Payable per day to cover meals and expenses: £56.70


Guidance notes

The MU’s live rates are based on an hourly rate which a self-employed musician needs to charge in order to earn an income, relative to their training, experience and expertise. Individual negotiations can be made based on these minimum rates.

  • If you’re self-employed, you do not have a contract of employment with an employer. You’re more likely to be contracted to provide services over a certain period of time for a fee and be in business in your own right.
  • You’ll also pay your own tax and National Insurance contributions.
  • You don't have employment rights as such if you're self-employed as you are your own boss and can therefore decide how much to charge for your work and how much holiday to give yourself.
  • You do have some legal protection.
  • You must not be discriminated against and you're entitled to a safe and healthy working environment on your client's premises.
  • Self-employed women who have recently left their jobs may be entitled to Maternity Allowance.


Live rates

Member benefits for live musicians

Find a Fair Play Venue

The Court House

A 200 capacity, central independent venue, which offers paid weekly or monthly residencies, support and headline slots.

Read more about The Court House

Peckham Levels

Venue hosting live gigs and club nights either in 450-standing capacity Gig Space or 150-standing capacity Auditorium.

Read more about Peckham Levels

The Shed

A community space with a cafe bar offering live music, open mic nights, comedy and networking events.

Read more about The Shed

The Slaughtered Lamb

A contemporary pub venue with an entertainment space in the basement for live music, club nights, DJ’s and comedy.

Read more about The Slaughtered Lamb

The Tin Music and Arts

An artistic hub (with artist’s studio and Community Space) offering events across two neighbouring premises which books established and international acts, as well as local homegrown talent.

Read more about The Tin Music and Arts