Words: Ari Sawyer
Featured Image: Jonny Nolan
Hours of travelling, back row seats, the cheapest hotel you can find courtesy of extortionate ticket prices, merch-money spent on a single bottle of water, and other fans screaming so loud next to you that you can’t actually hear the music. While the chance to see your favourite mega-band perform live is a dream come true for anyone who lives in the middle of nowhere, the entire process is far more infuriating than it’s often worth.
Consider this one of the many reasons why local music is far more valuable than a sold-out stadium show. The idea isn’t new, and it’s something you’ll hear people in the industry preaching about constantly, but as I write this from a small market town in the Southwest – in which the only semi-decent music venue closed down months ago and transport links to the nearest cities are anything but decent – supporting local music has never been more important.
For the bands, the concept is crucial. As local scenes gradually die out, the ability to pursue music as anything more than a hobby becomes more and more difficult. But the ones worth watching remain as passionate and driven as ever – the vocalist writing lyrics in the break room of his day job, the drummer on the verge of an eviction notice because the only time she can find to practice is after dark. Yet it’s this passion that makes local shows particularly special.
The intimate atmosphere of these shows creates a deeper connection, not just with the bands themselves, but with other ‘fans’ too. This sense of solidarity and tight-knit community, rarely found in a venue filled with thousands of people, presents an opportunity for long-lasting friendships build from our love of music.
A band’s need for a creative outlet, away from the promise of fame and financial stability, is one of the core foundations of a thriving music scene. But those of us willing to spend our nights dancing to the songs they’ve worked so hard to write, to interact with like-minded people in order to make those nights count, and to support local businesses who fund this entire concept, stand to lose just as much if we can’t keep these scenes alive.
Without a thriving and well-supported local scene, we mightn’t have bands such as Pet Shimmers. See the video for ‘Persona Party’ here:
Ari Sawyer is a regular contributor for Bristol, London and Berlin in Stereo.