Do you attend shows for your friends in bands and believe that you are helping them out by occupying a seat at the bar or restaurant? While it is true that getting as many fans to show up as possible will make for a potentially better show, the question at the end of the night for the venue will be how much “ring” did the cash register show? I have seen it many times – people have a drink or two before they leave home, have some hidden in their vehicles or worst, sneak airplane sized bottles into venues. Sure, they save money, but doesn’t it defeat the purpose of venues hiring the bands in the first place? If you show up to a restaurant fresh from dinner, you are less likely to order any food and possibly even too full to drink anything but water. You might have a good time and enjoy your friends’ band, but are you possibly harming them by not leaving much for the venue to bring the band back again? Now, I get the fact that drinks can get expensive and maybe you don’t want to order dinner or appetizers at 10 or 11 at night, but you have to keep in mind that most local cover bands around South Florida are playing at venues which don’t even have a cover charge. The only way that they can afford to bring in quality bands night after night is if they make enough on the back-end by profiting on the sale of food and drinks. So, the question I know some people will ask me is “If I am broke, should I just stay home?” My opinion is that we have a pretty fair system in place. If you can afford to buy expensive drinks and give the servers AND band extremely nice tips, go for it! If, on the other hand, you are struggling to stay afloat, either buy something such as a draft beer or soft drink or stay home. Is it good enough to order water and leave a decent tip? The answer is “No!” The venue will not count tips towards the revenue needed to pay the band at the end of the night. If you do not want to drink an alcoholic beverage and just want water – perhaps you could order a premium bottle of water? Venues will not usually refuse customers a cup of tap-water, however, they WILL remember how many fans order it when it comes time to bringing the band or musician back for a repeat gig. Have you ever heard of the Principle of Nonmaleficence or Primum non nocere? It is roughly translated as “first, do no harm”. Nonmaleficence means that if one cannot do good without also causing harm, then one should not act at all. It is most often heard in the field of medicine, but I think we can easily apply it to the situation stated in this blog. So, while it may sound mean of me, I am sure that my thoughts will ring true with many a bar or restaurant owner to tell you to either bring your wallet or your friend’s band may be playing their last gig – and nobody wants to be the reason for that.