The music scene in the UK is not thriving. Every week we hear about another local music venue shutting its doors or stopping having live music playing. I have spoken to many music venue owners and employees over the years and the answers I get from them all appear to be the same. The fact that people don’t come to shows anymore or no matter who the band is, there is just no support in the area for them and the venue. Other venues are changing the way they run shows and installing things like pay to play just to guarantee a turn out and make some money from the act even if they don’t bring an audience.
There are so many good bands who play shows everyday all around the country and the problem is they have had to work so hard to get these shows. Some of the shows they take on are at their own detriment as they have to travel far and wide at their own cost and not get anything for it or even worse pay to play.
Within the UK there are new local bands popping up every day. All genres are producing amazing talent and we are seeing people with some serious talent being over looked even at the local level. As a Promoter and music lover, I get invited to hundreds of shows a year. I try and make it to as many as possible or at least have the time to speak to a band and check out their sound even if its just an EP.
In 6 months I went to 85 shows, this was all over Kent and London. During this time I spoke to a lot of different people from different backgrounds but all with the same common interest of live music (even if the genres are different) and asked them all the same question;
“Why do you come to live shows ?”
I got lots of different answers from this question but it all boiled down to the same thing, they all love music and they all want to show their support for the artist or band. This show me that there are people in the world who love live music. So why are we at a place now where there almost needs to be an incentive for people to leave their houses and go to a live show? What is wrong with going to a show for the fun of it and to support your favourite local band? Why do you just want to sit at home and watch it on your phone? There are so many questions that need to be answered and only once they are answered can we get people to go to shows and support the bands and artists.
I know for a fact that there is no other feeling like being at a live show. The vibe and buzz you get when the bass hits you in the chest and you have this uncontrollable smile appear on your face. You sing along to your favourite tracks or jump in the pit with your boys to show your band your support. You walk away with a new t-shirt and a real ticket in your hand, chatting to your mates about how sick the show was and shall we go to the next one they play near by. That feeling never goes away for me and happens every time I see a band play that I enjoy. So why do people not want to experience this?
There are so many reasons people give when I ask them why they don’t go to shows and some of them are understandable such as not liking crowds, but over the years I have heard a lot more people saying they don’t want to pay to get in to somewhere or its too far away. These two reasons can easily be fixed. The reason you have to pay to get in places is because the band needs to be paid for having to travel so far, and the reason you have to travel so far in the first place is because you didn’t support any local shows so all the venues near you have closed down or stopped hosting bands. This industry is a vicious cycle. If you go to shows you help keep a place open and support a band, but by not going to a local show a venue is more likely to close and your favourite band will have to play somewhere a little further away.