Hey y’all! (In good, Southern North Cackalacky fashion, I just had to say that.)
I know I haven’t posted in a quite some time, but life gets pretty busy when your blog is a hobby. It has to take a backseat to making a living, and ever since we had to close the doors of The Garage Venue, I’ve had to find other ways to make some cash.
But, I’m back now, and I have a goal to post more regularly (at least once a month) in 2016. Hey, quality over quantity, right? I may even post twice this month as a special treat to all those who have been waiting so patiently to get the scoop.
This post was inspired by a conversation I had with a friend of mine the other night. She was telling me how she went to a concert at the Fillmore at NC Music Factory when she was 8 months pregnant and how she’ll never go back. As much as I’d like to hit her upside the head and say, “well of course you had a bad experience; you were 8 months pregnant,” I kind of can’t help but agree with her. I’m not a big fan of that venue either. I think it’s overhyped because of its name and subsequent association with the legendary Fillmore in California. (Now, that place is a different story.)
Our version of the Fillmore is not only overhyped. It’s overpriced, unaccommodating, and pitiful compared to its predecessor.
So what makes an entertainment venue a good spot to hear live music or watch a performance? Several criteria immediately come to my mind, and I’d like to think we did a good job with every single item on this list.
#1: A versatile layout. As I mentioned before, the Fillmore was highly unaccommodating to my friend, especially considering her body’s condition during her visit. When you’re 8 months pregnant, standing-room only just ain’t gonna cut it. And forcing her to pay $25 extra for a “VIP” seat that’s far left of the stage and doesn’t even provide a “VIP” viewing experience? Pffft. Not cool guys. Not cool.
When it comes to your layout, you want to be accommodating to many different types of people, as well as different types of entertainment scenarios. Having a large standing-room area that can double as a sitting-room for more upscale events where you want to serve food and drinks alongside the entertainment will open a lot more doors for you in the long-run.
#2: Reasonable pricing. I really wish venues in this city (and every other big city for that matter) would quit charging outrageous prices for cheap beer. I’m sorry, but I’ll pass on the $8 pint of piss-colored water (a.k.a. Bud Light). No thank you. And $75 for a ticket to a concert where the opening act is a crappy DJ and the headliner hits the stage an hour late? (Not naming any names here… I’ll leave it to you to guess who she went to see). Um… Big FAT NO again. If you want people to enjoy an experience at your venue and come back for more, be reasonable. That’s one of the things we prided ourselves on at The Garage Venue. We charged a normal amount for local craft beer on tap and provided food to our guests on some occasions. We also housed a variety of different artists, both independent and big-label. Which brings me to #3…
#3: Support local artists! For crying out loud, why is it that most GOOD musicians in Charlotte feel the need to move to Austin or New York to get a break? There is more competition in both of those cities, yet our most solid performers are flocking there because they can’t even get a gig at The Evening Muse. If you are a local venue, consider supporting more local art. I know it can be harder for independent musicians to bring people in the door, but if you’re a good venue, you should be able to carry some of that weight. Don’t put it all on these poor starving artists who are struggling just to make a living off of their art because the music industry sucks these days.
That’s all I have, folks… what about you? are your thoughts on the local Charlotte music scene? If we were to build another entertainment venue, what would you like to see? Or if you’re not local to the area, we’d love to hear your opinions on the music scene where you live!