Having spent so many years playing odd venues since the 90s I sometimes forget that most of my earliest performances were in auditoriums, recital halls and churches. Some of the venues are jsut variations on a theme, such as the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, while others are what non-classical musicians will regularly play like Punk Rock Night at the Melody Inn in Indianapolis.
Art Galleries, Libraries, and Museums aren’t that much different than concert halls and many of the larger ones actually do have auditoriums of their own. Then there are the basement and home shows–I’ve done plenty as a noise artist and with bands–which can sometimes not be the most savory of spaces. I remember one basement at the home of some hippies during a “folk series” the kids were running–having my shoes stick to the floor because of the cat urine and the black mold bathtub (they warned me not to use the bathroom) are experiences I won’t soon forget.
BIg sci-fi conventions can be a treat. This year at Gen Con Indy there was nearly 50,000 in attendance so I have no idea how many thousands of people saw my performances at the little stage outside the dealers hall.
That’s an environment that isn’t much different than stadium concerts with audiences numbering in the thousands and so much background noise you can barely hear yourself think.
Jazz clubs, rock clubs, and dance clubs in stand alone venues or in Casinos.
Belly dance shows at dance studios or other venues which are open to this rising performing arts form.
I remember a Goth club I played at in St. Louis, the Crack Fox, which had an BDSM playroom in the basement.
And at Restaurants, Coffee Houses, ethnic churches, and big outdoor ethnic festivals with the wide variety of world musicians with which I regularly play.
At some point you can start to notice the similarities and differences in audiences, venues, musicians, and communities–a perspective you can’t get if you’re not in the trenches actively performing and booking these gigs. You also start to get a sense for how you can start making a living doing this through trial and error. As I continue to develop new projects and expand into new musical realms (yeah, there’s still much more out there than even I do) I take the experience with me and hope to create something that works and is “sustainable” (I really don’t like that word).
I’ll keep reporting what I’ve been doing but until then please peruse some of my other Music Entrepreneurship tagged posts here.