For many people live music of any sort is the pinnacle, forget the genre the sheer joy of playing, singing or performing music is enough.The bad news is that music venues are closing at an alarming rate across the country and for varied reasons.
The trend appears to be slower in places like the East Midlands but there is no certainty that we will hang on to our venues, certainly not if pubs often our biggest venue opportunities, continue to close down and be turned into housing (however laudable that might be).
There are some of us, quite a lot in fact who care about live music and seeing it performed, one of those is Roots Live Music another is Live and local East Midlands a free listing for live music within a 25 mile radius of Nottingham which is also available on a printed sheet for handing out at gigs
Don’t have a live venue in your area, then consider starting one. There will be a pub, coffee bar church or village hall, acoustically suitable for music and song and many will be free they will want the business you may bring in . But, if you are starting a live music venue there are pitfalls, which night will you run it, how will you advertise, it what sort of music will be played at it.
Some tips for your consideration, if you are looking at a venue, visit it in the evening as well as the daytime see what the acoustics sound like. A room in a pub in the day which sounds good may sound different at night if curtains or blinds are drawn they may affect the acoustics.
Are the locals going to be happy if your performers play in the only bar. How do you find out, talk to the locals see if they are happy with the idea. A landlord may be happy with a music nights his locals may not. Does your intended pub venue/coffee bar have a separate room where you can go.
What sort of music are you going to have , many venues allow all sorts of musical genres some will only allow acoustic non amplified music.some will only allow 1 type of music eg trad Jazz or trad folk.
Which night will you run, what will the frequency be? On the Live and Local site there are groups that run 1 night a week every week (Melton FC) or once a month. (Wymeswold )
Will you charge admission for guests so you can fund a raffle for a good cause. Some well established music nights invite well know acts and charge entry (The Poppy folk club and also the Carrington Folk club both book and pay well known acts to play and on these nights there are no other players).
However, most importantly your publicity material must be first rate and informative if you want people to turn up and play you have to get your message out there.
Social media sites, fliers are all good but remember whilst your Tuesday night session has no live local sport competing with it you will have the competition of people wanting to watch TV, go for a drink /curry/ film etc etc so make it snappy promotional material.Most libraries will advertise events some free newspapers take local listings. Fliers in music shops and on notice boards are good. If you can’t do social media yourself get someone that can help you (Usually a 7 year old kid will have the knowledge you need😉
Make sure that you are fair to all the performers that turn up. There will be all sorts of players from 65 year old men who have been playing 55 years and can sing any song you name to novice nervous players just starting out.
if you have 6 performers playing give them 3 songs each with a break in the middle don’t under any circumstances give one player more songs than another because he/she is a better player/singer. This will always cause resentment. It may get tricky if a band/group turn up will they expect to have more playtime than the solo players because either are 4 in the bandit they have travelled a long way with a load of instruments that’s a decision you will have to make.
Most of all make it enjoyable for all including yourself.