To Recognize A Good Overseas Band Booking Agency
By Giovanna Westwood
first time going overseas as a musician was made into a positively
time in my life. What made it that
way? An outstanding overseas booking
agency – that’s what!
worked as a bass player/vocalist in successful bar bands around the
area and feeling that I wanted to experience more in my musical career,
to look at traveling overseas when the local gigging scene began to
was introduced to John Belmont of the John Belmont Agency based in Mill
Washington whom I asked to keep me in mind whenever he knew of any gig
needed a singing bass player going overseas.
At that time in my life, I was definitely ready for just that type of
new experience. I’m very thankful for
John Belmont to this day simply because he’s the reason I learned how
recognize a good overseas band booking agency.
called me one day not long after our initial contact and told me he had
that was traveling to Bangkok, Thailand, and they could use someone
just like me
who could do double duty on bass and vocals to make it a
We would play top-40 pop music, and I would
do some lead vocals. Well, I jumped at
the chance! Even though I had never
gone farther than Canada at that point, I barely thought
The most difficult thing was to figure out
how I was going to handle my responsibilities back home while being
since the gig was a minimum of 6 months.
I gave my word to John that I would do the gig, he provided me with a
after telling me all the specifics of the gig – the name of the hotel,
meals and board was going to be handled, my work visa and my passport
details. He asked me to give him a list
of all the equipment that I would need on stage and a manifest of the
would be taking with me. He also got me
prepared physically for the trip by setting up appointments for me to
go and get all
immunizations for overseas travel.
the beginning, I knew I was in good hands!
the plane arrived into Bangkok after the approximately 27 hour flight,
it felt to realize I was touching down in a new country – on a new
in brand new culture!
were met by hotel representatives at the airport and brought to the
Plaza Hotel, which was at least 5-star, and beautiful from top to
the hotel, we were met by the Food and Beverage manager who treated us
meal in one of the finest restaurants in the hotel where I drank first
glass of Grappa!
we played the first note, we were paid our full month’s pay in U.S.
dollars. We were also taken the next morning to the
U.S. Embassy and prepared for legal working status by receiving proper
visas on our passports.
each had our own rooms in the hotel that we worked in with full
services. Every day, I would receive an
exotic basket of fruit filled with tasty morsels like rambutaan and
other fruit I had never seen nor heard of before. It was
we worked our way into the gig, John Belmont himself came to Bangkok to
in on us – not for any trouble; he just truly cared about us!
By the way, he helped me pay my bills back
home by sending them all to me and made sure I knew how to handle
where I had to send things back and forth to the states. I
truly trusted him, and nothing was ever
lost or went unpaid!
had my round trip plane ticket within my possession, so I knew that I
be stranded, and everything was on the up-and-up.
played the gig there at the Central Plaza Hotel, and when our 6 months
just about up, the management asked us if we wanted to work another 3
months. At that point, we were all ready
to go, but I’ll say that the experience I had from the first surreal
landing on the soil of another continent to touchdown back home at
airport was probably about the best first overseas touring experience a
musician could’ve ever had!
to recap all the fantastic things the Belmont overseas booking agency
was fully informed of the details of the gig.
was given a contract to sign and copies for my records.
knew what my backline would be before we arrived at the venue.
was asked for a record (manifest) of the things I was bringing to make
my equipment was accounted for.
was informed in every detail of how to get my immunizations for
travel, and any questions I had were thoroughly answered.
round-trip travel was paid, and my plane ticket was in my possession.
passport and work papers were handled properly, and we were registered
were paid for each month in full, in advance, in U.S. currency so that
have money to last through the month
person had their own room.
agent helped me take care of my responsibilities at home.
took time out to come and see how we were
hope my experience helps you!
By Giovanna Westwood