Dealing with a dying scene


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MPica
01-30-2010, 01:21 AM
I live in a nice little town called Ft. Myers, down in south-west Florida. And by nice, I mean terrible.
There used to be a pretty decent local music scene around here, and now there is nothing. Every week I here about a new venue, and the next week I here about it shutting down. Nowhere stays open, and as a result a lot of the bands have called it quits. Back when it was pretty good, there was a good mix of hardcore bands and pop-punk bands. Odd mix, I know, but everyone in a band knew each other and there were always good shows with a diverse line-up.
I understand a bar preferring to have some band composed of 40 year old dudes playing classic rock covers over a band that brings in a bunch of annoying wannabe hardcore kids(Perhaps I'm sounding too harsh; I do love hardcore music, just not the 14 year olds who think they're cool because they can mosh), but it's still depressing to see a scene die out.
I've been looking to start up a new band, but I can't even find people who are interested in just jamming around here.

I guess this just sounds like a big rant...
What's one to do in such a situation?
Anyone else have this sort of problem where they live?

luffy 747
01-30-2010, 01:30 AM
House shows will solve all of your problems.

MPica
01-30-2010, 01:47 AM
A few bands have tried that around here. I haven't been to one myself, but I've heard of fairly decent turn outs. I think most people tend to get worried about noise complaints to the cops, which would ruin an otherwise good night. It just seems like no one has the motivation to even play anymore because of a lack of support from fans and the lack of places to play.

Gargan
01-30-2010, 05:33 AM
Have you got any Church halls? Or function rooms? Something you can hire out that'll have a stage... that way you wont get noise complaints (hopefully), but you'll have to get a certain amount of people to come to break even.

kaptink
01-30-2010, 10:36 AM
Drive to Gainesville?I have no idea how far that is from where you are though :/

MPica
01-30-2010, 10:45 AM
Gainesville is a bit of a drive from here, anywhere between three and a half to four hours depending on traffic. There used to be a place in Pompano Beach that a lot of local bands from here used to drive to to play shows. I'm not sure if it's still open.

Does anyone have any stories similar to mine?

Northernmight
01-30-2010, 12:13 PM
You think you have it bad? .. Try playing Black Metal.. i swear.. you want to kill yourself...

Which is why i don't play live anymore. Not in my own country at least.

RadioMuse
01-30-2010, 02:46 PM
Kalamazoo area, Michigan is kinda that way because it's basically between scenes. I don't know that there's ever really been more than a member or two of a successful band from around there it had a pretty decent scene in the last 90s / early 00s in Rock/Indie, Metal, and Blues. A lot of the venues died out, particularly for smaller bands that don't cater to the bar crowd, so you either had to be big enough to play at Papa Pete's and bring in a crowd (reliably) or you had to drive somewhere else.

But Kzoo isn't that far from Grand Rapids (1-1.5 hours away) or Ann Arbor (1.5-2) and is squarely between Detriot and Chicago (about 3 hours away on either side) so I guess that's where the scenes are, so to speak. But Kalamazoo is finding it's feet again thanks to a great little venue called the Strutt that really caters to a 'scene' sorta movement. Unless you bring in a good crowd there you won't get paid, BUT you will probably get invited back for more dates. They're pretty dedicated to building up the movement rather than just cashing in, which is really, really, cool.

AlanHB
01-30-2010, 04:20 PM
Usually with smaller towns/cities it is easier to build up a following than other places. So you can take this opportunity or whinge that you're not in LA where you will also be destroyed.

MPica
01-30-2010, 06:08 PM
Usually with smaller towns/cities it is easier to build up a following than other places. So you can take this opportunity or whinge that you're not in LA where you will also be destroyed.

I know what you mean. I'd prefer a small local scene to somewhere like LA any day.

scguitarking927
01-30-2010, 06:18 PM
Kalamazoo area, Michigan.

Off topic:
I love it there ha

RadioMuse
01-30-2010, 07:14 PM
[off topic] Yeah, I kinda grew up in that area. My parents live over there still. I'm going to school at the University of Michigan, so I'm in Ann Arbor. I really like both areas... Kzoo is kinda stained by a lot of mixed emotions and memories from the last couple years for me, but it's a great town if you give it a chance. [/off topic]

Find a local band or two that actually do shows and look at their myspaces, see where they're playing. There are also some great venues that don't have followings... I've played a place called the Corner Bar a couple times: had an absolute blast both times but it was nearly empty; rather than take our $4-5 payment we usually just tipped the sound guy. They're not a "cover band" kind of place, they just don't have that many regulars for their shows; more of a lunch/dinner place. If you find a place like that and you can get a few bands in there and start to drag enough people in it could really be something.

Anyway, I wish you much luck.

smartalec007
01-30-2010, 07:55 PM
At least you have a scene, I live in the middle of ****ing nowhere. Instead of venues, there's farms. The only thing that I could think of doing would be to throw a music festival at my house because we have a barn there.

z4twenny
01-30-2010, 08:05 PM
do what people have been doing for 50+ years now.

open your garage door.

dmiwshicldply
01-30-2010, 10:21 PM
At least you have a scene, I live in the middle of ****ing nowhere. Instead of venues, there's farms. The only thing that I could think of doing would be to throw a music festival at my house because we have a barn there.

A few local bands from my area did that once upon a time. We had about 10 bands playing over the course of the day, if i remember correctly. I wasnt one of the ones who organized it, but i think the guys who did had to get some sort of permit from the courthouse or something.

I think it takes a good bit of an investment though, The only reason ours got off the ground because it was funded by about 5 rich farmers who just so happened to be playing in the headlining band.

But it was really really fun if you could pull it off

chokmool
01-30-2010, 10:32 PM
There was a question on another thread about whether the recession had affected music sales. Reports I've seen indicate it has been partially responsible for the decline. I also know opening, and/or keeping a bar or club open can be challenging, even in a relatively good economy.

Not to hijack this thread, but I know some areas have been harder hit than others, so I was wondering how many of you had noticed bars/clubs closing in your areas in the last year.

I was just thinking that may be the case in Ft. Myers. When people have less disposable income, they go out less, and tend to spend less when they do. If that is the case, you may just have to wait it out. Unfortunately, this time it may be longer than other recoveries have been.

I'm assuming that moving to where there is still a strong scene is out of the question for you.

MPica
01-31-2010, 12:04 AM
There was a question on another thread about whether the recession had affected music sales. Reports I've seen indicate it has been partially responsible for the decline. I also know opening, and/or keeping a bar or club open can be challenging, even in a relatively good economy.

Not to hijack this thread, but I know some areas have been harder hit than others, so I was wondering how many of you had noticed bars/clubs closing in your areas in the last year.

I was just thinking that may be the case in Ft. Myers. When people have less disposable income, they go out less, and tend to spend less when they do. If that is the case, you may just have to wait it out. Unfortunately, this time it may be longer than other recoveries have been.

I'm assuming that moving to where there is still a strong scene is out of the question for you.

I definitely agree with that. It would seem as that the recession has played a big part in it, and there's not really anyone to blame for that.
And as far as moving away goes, I would love to but it's just not possible right now. I'm graduating this may, but I have to stay locally for college. Such is life, I suppose.

The4thHorsemen
01-31-2010, 12:58 AM
well, my town's a kinda similar story but it's not that the scene is dying, it's that it was barely there to begin with. My band was starting to work up a little reputation and fanbase (pretty easy to do in a small town where the metal kids are a minority that feel put down by the hicks)

but our bass player moved a couple of months ago, and now we can't find anyone to play bass. I know of like 6 different (not very good) guitarists in the area and maybe two "bass players" that have no idea what they're doing. luckily the only metal drummer in the area is the one I managed to get a hold of (well, he got a hold of me really)

luffy 747
01-31-2010, 01:28 AM
If you feel the recession has convinced people not to come then dont charge for shows. The local hardcore house around my area never requires money for shows, only asks for a suggested donation for touring bands or that you buy some of their merch. Also if you are afraid of noise complaints just do it in a basement. board up an exposed windows and keep the door closed and you should be fine.

Lt.DanHasLegs
01-31-2010, 02:56 AM
yeah man, inconvenience is the beginning of innovation. this is just thinning out the herd and making the cream rise to the top. We've gotta be close to some kind of landmark in modern music history. Also, side note, I went to fort meyers for spring break a few years ago, it was kinda cool..

on topic, do house shows, just parties with bands, people should be interested?

WhyteChocl8
01-31-2010, 12:46 PM
House shows are a very good way to get stuff lifted off the ground. For it to really get goin you should try and get a couple of other bands on with ya that are good and know what there doin (one shitty band cant hurt though as itll make you look better lol) but figure each band will have its own little click of fans so you never know, you can find yourself playing in front of a decent amt. of people.

MPica
01-31-2010, 04:46 PM
All very good advice. Thanks guys.

SlackerBabbath
01-31-2010, 07:28 PM
Scenes change, it's all part of the game. The only real solutions are to either change yourselves or go find a similar scene somewhere else.

Of course, you can always play a part in rejuvinating your own area's scene.
Hire rooms, put gigs on, become promoters, after all, it's basicaly the promoters who influence a scene.

The scene in my town went through a scene death a while ago, it used to be great, loads of really good and really different bands. (diversity within in a local scene is paramount, it's what stops it going stale) Then some joker at the local council said 'I know, let's promote Burnley as the 'Blues Capital' of England and organise a big local festival every year to be held at venues all over town'.
For years after that you couldn't get a gig in Burnley unless you were a blues band.
Eventualy after the damage had been done, an annual local open air festival was arranged by the council, which, which they promised would be a purely 'local band' festival to promote local bands. This attracted a great audience for the first couple of years, then one year the council announced the line up and it only had one local band on, and they had played the year before, and the rest of the line up was 'out of town' bands that the council had hired for later in the year to play at the council run 'town hall' venue, known as 'The Mechanics'. They had basicaly hijacked the festival to promote their own venue.
The local bands revolted, lots of letters by bands and local music fans were printed in the local newspaper complaining about the way the council were treating bands in Burnley by 'messing around with the scene' (which, before the 'blues' thing, actualy catered for a hell of a lot of out of town bands as well, making it an important town on the national circuit)
The council threw their teddy out of their pram and cancelled any future festivals so we (Slack Babbath) stepped up to the plate and said 'Sod you then, we'll sort it out ourselves!' and organised an indoor festival in the biggest 'non council run' room we could find in Burnley. We called it 'Quazfest', (after Ozzfest, I'm the singer for Slack Babbath and my stage name is Quazi Washboard) wrote a letter to the newspaper announcing our intentions and stating why we were doing it and how the council had screwed with the scene over the last few years, (which they gladly printed) made it a 'half local, half out of bands' bill and it was a great success. We made it an annual gig and local venues started taking notice of who we were booking and booking them as well, and because our bill was nice and varied, the scene started getting more varied too.
Eventualy, lots of new bands started springing up again because there were gigs available for local, non-blues bands.

Now, I can't say for certain whether we actualy really influenced the rejuvination of our scene, or if it would have just naturaly rejuvinated without us, but it was 'definately' a lot of fun to do, did wonders for us promotionaly, and it showed us that just because venues close or change, that doesn't mean that you can't still play great gigs in your own town. And who knows, you may just influence some local promoters, especialy if they see you drawing a big crowd.

MPica
01-31-2010, 07:52 PM
Scenes change, it's all part of the game. The only real solutions are to either change yourselves or go find a similar scene somewhere else.

Of course, you can always play a part in rejuvinating your own area's scene.
Hire rooms, put gigs on, become promoters, after all, it's basicaly the promoters who influence a scene.

The scene in my town went through a scene death a while ago, it used to be great, loads of really good and really different bands. (diversity within in a local scene is paramount, it's what stops it going stale) Then some joker at the local council said 'I know, let's promote Burnley as the 'Blues Capital' of England and organise a big local festival every year to be held at venues all over town'.
For years after that you couldn't get a gig in Burnley unless you were a blues band.
Eventualy after the damage had been done, an annual local open air festival was arranged by the council, which, which they promised would be a purely 'local band' festival to promote local bands. This attracted a great audience for the first couple of years, then one year the council announced the line up and it only had one local band on, and they had played the year before, and the rest of the line up was 'out of town' bands that the council had hired for later in the year to play at the council run 'town hall' venue, known as 'The Mechanics'. They had basicaly hijacked the festival to promote their own venue.
The local bands revolted, lots of letters by bands and local music fans were printed in the local newspaper complaining about the way the council were treating bands in Burnley by 'messing around with the scene' (which, before the 'blues' thing, actualy catered for a hell of a lot of out of town bands as well, making it an important town on the national circuit)
The council threw their teddy out of their pram and cancelled any future festivals so we (Slack Babbath) stepped up to the plate and said 'Sod you then, we'll sort it out ourselves!' and organised an indoor festival in the biggest 'non council run' room we could find in Burnley. We called it 'Quazfest', (after Ozzfest, I'm the singer for Slack Babbath and my stage name is Quazi Washboard) wrote a letter to the newspaper announcing our intentions and stating why we were doing it and how the council had screwed with the scene over the last few years, (which they gladly printed) made it a 'half local, half out of bands' bill and it was a great success. We made it an annual gig and local venues started taking notice of who we were booking and booking them as well, and because our bill was nice and varied, the scene started getting more varied too.
Eventualy, lots of new bands started springing up again because there were gigs available for local, non-blues bands.

Now, I can't say for certain whether we actualy really influenced the rejuvination of our scene, or if it would have just naturaly rejuvinated without us, but it was 'definately' a lot of fun to do, did wonders for us promotionaly, and it showed us that just because venues close or change, that doesn't mean that you can't still play great gigs in your own town. And who knows, you may just influence some local promoters, especialy if they see you drawing a big crowd.

Very inspirational story. I'm glad to hear you were able to help bring back a scene.

PunksNotDead!
02-01-2010, 11:29 AM
I know exactly what youre talking about. im not gonna give you my story about something like this cause this IS my story. what the hell happened to all the venues??? i understand that ethos closed cause the landlord evicted them but thats like the only thing that i heard of all the venues. i have no clue what happened to rockstarz, its like the lions den now right? do they not have shows? and black and blue wont let anyone play cause of the xTyrantx show. apparently there was too much damage and theyre just pussies. we need a new venue here badly. i remember last year at this time i was going to shows every weekend. i miss that

MPica
02-01-2010, 05:08 PM
I know exactly what youre talking about. im not gonna give you my story about something like this cause this IS my story. what the hell happened to all the venues??? i understand that ethos closed cause the landlord evicted them but thats like the only thing that i heard of all the venues. i have no clue what happened to rockstarz, its like the lions den now right? do they not have shows? and black and blue wont let anyone play cause of the xTyrantx show. apparently there was too much damage and theyre just pussies. we need a new venue here badly. i remember last year at this time i was going to shows every weekend. i miss that
Wow, someone from around here :D
Rockstarz closed because the owner was in and out of a jail a few times. He violated his probation and that was the end of a really great venue.
I feel bad for Ethos' landlord. I met her, such a nice lady. Her and Taylor(her daughter) tried to do a lot for the scene but i guess they just couldn't do it all themselves.
I didn't hear about what happened at Black and Blue, honestly I heard about that place once before it got closed down/stopped doing shows or whatever. I'm guessing it was the same situation as what happened at the Bridge? In case you didn't know about that, Among Us was playing a show and a few kids broke some furniture while they were slam dancing. The crowd was really disrespectful about it and no one would fess up, such a shame.

If you don't mind me asking, where do you live exactly? Go to school, in a band, etc. etc.?

tancanada
02-01-2010, 08:53 PM
Dude MPica, come up to Sarasota, our scene is booming here

MPica
02-01-2010, 08:59 PM
You know, its funny that you say that.
I always see fliers and ads for local Sarasota shows and I always say to myself, "Man, I need to go up their for a show sometime." :shrug:

tancanada
02-01-2010, 09:03 PM
Yeah, the venues and kids are always pretty great at Sarasota and Bradenton shows. Just dont hit up Venice, The kids there generally suck :p:

MPica
02-01-2010, 09:10 PM
Haha, well that's good too. I guess I never really thought of how close Sarasota and Ft. Myers actually are. It's nice to know that there's a good scene only an hour away.

tancanada
02-01-2010, 09:20 PM
You could always go over to Miami too, thats not too far away right?

MPica
02-01-2010, 09:24 PM
Ehh, Miami is two and a half to three hours away. You're much closer. I've never really heard much about the music scene in Miami though, I kind of always assumed it's just a bunch of nightclubs and latin music :p:

PunksNotDead!
02-01-2010, 09:50 PM
Wow, someone from around here :D
Rockstarz closed because the owner was in and out of a jail a few times. He violated his probation and that was the end of a really great venue.
I feel bad for Ethos' landlord. I met her, such a nice lady. Her and Taylor(her daughter) tried to do a lot for the scene but i guess they just couldn't do it all themselves.
I didn't hear about what happened at Black and Blue, honestly I heard about that place once before it got closed down/stopped doing shows or whatever. I'm guessing it was the same situation as what happened at the Bridge? In case you didn't know about that, Among Us was playing a show and a few kids broke some furniture while they were slam dancing. The crowd was really disrespectful about it and no one would fess up, such a shame.

If you don't mind me asking, where do you live exactly? Go to school, in a band, etc. etc.?
i live in central ft myers. go to f***in verot (wish i didnt) THANK GOD im done with that though. ive got a couple projects that never got off the ground. at the moment im looking for a straight edge drummer for an old-school hardcore band (original for here isnt it?). the other stuff is like prog metal and shit like that.
you?

MPica
02-01-2010, 11:07 PM
Wow... I go to Verot... Small world lmao.
I play bass, I've been looking for a new band for awhile. Not really straight edge though...

PunksNotDead!
02-02-2010, 11:12 AM
Wow... I go to Verot... Small world lmao.
I play bass, I've been looking for a new band for awhile. Not really straight edge though...
goddamn dude lol. small world indeed

Peaceful Rocker
02-02-2010, 11:42 AM
Well, first off.. You like to play hardcore? Ok, let's be real. That music is only popular with kids 14-18 years old, and do you really think that's going to stay popular? You need to present yourself better, there will always be people that want to hear good music, there aren't always going to be angry kids that want to hear somebody scream like a pig, that kind of act only stays popular for so long. IMO, there aren't any hardcore bands here, if you expect to be succesful with that genre you need to travel where that scene is bigger, like in LA

MPica
02-02-2010, 04:38 PM
Well, first off.. You like to play hardcore? Ok, let's be real. That music is only popular with kids 14-18 years old, and do you really think that's going to stay popular? You need to present yourself better, there will always be people that want to hear good music, there aren't always going to be angry kids that want to hear somebody scream like a pig, that kind of act only stays popular for so long. IMO, there aren't any hardcore bands here, if you expect to be succesful with that genre you need to travel where that scene is bigger, like in LA

Actually, that's not the case at all. I like hardcore music, but that's not all I play. In fact, out of all the bands I've been in I wouldn't classify any of them as hardcore. I'm pretty versatile between genres, and I play everything from pop punk to deathcore.
It just happens that the majority of the scene here happened to be hardcore and metalcore bands, that's what I meant when I said that.

Thereisnotry
02-02-2010, 05:09 PM
We had a scene die out here in Cincinnati. On my side of town, back when a certain venue was around, bands and audiences were booming. Then after that venue shut down all the bands seemed to either moved away or break up. I don't play hardcore and if you're not in a hardcore or street punk band then its hard to find other bands to play with or an audience to listen to you. There are of course the big nation-wide promotion companies that come through and set up local shows, but they charge way too much for their tickets and have scared more people out of wanting to go to shows.

So my brother and I hosted a show in our garage a couple years ago. Got a bunch of bands to play and made it an all day event. The next year we had someone with a much bigger house offer to have the show there. This year we're looking to rent out a local community center to host it. And of course, my band headlines every time ;) .

However, it still hasn't been enough to spur much regrowth in the scene. In fact, more bands seem to be dying off and not that many being started up (except for hardcore and punk). So you could try having garage shows; if it catches on then you've got a blooming music scene to look forward to, if it doesn't, then what did you really lose by trying?

MPica
02-02-2010, 05:24 PM
Very true. I'm definitely try and organize some house shows and stuff like that, now that everyone's given me the idea. Just have to work on finding some people who will actually be dedicated enough to start a band with =\

ThorDevlin
02-06-2010, 04:10 PM
The town in Virginia I'm from is dead unless you've already got a booking agent behind you, you're established or you know the right people. extremely frustrating for new bands. My solution may be a bit much..but it's worked for me. If you scene is dead, find one thats thriving and move. Otherwise, find a way to make things work. Play college parties, high school parties, even open mics. Get your name out there however you can. I had the problem of not finding band members too, just keep looking, there's people out there, you just haven't met them yet...or maybe you have and don't know it..