Let's look at the facts here. Professional entertainers are just that: Professionals. They have gone through countless hours (we're talking years) of training and rehearsal, refining their craft. They have invested not only time and effort, but also great deals money in their act acquiring specialized gear, renting rehearsal spaces, marketing and promoting themselves, as well as costs of running a business, all the while raising a family like everyone else. They are a highly specialized, sought after service which cannot be substituted easily. Also, they don't perform 40 hours a week like a regular job. They have to earn most of their income in a brief week-end period. So why are some people so surprised at the costs?
I remember a caller not too long ago who was indeed outraged by my fee (which incidentally is quite within the normal range for the Ottawa market). He went on saying that he could get his neighbour's kid to come and do it for $25. While I mean no disrespect to the neighbour's kid, it's highly unlikely that the performance would be very good. This is your child's birthday here! You want to create something memorable for them, not ruin their appreciation for the performing arts.