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Small town (not big city) live music venues

Baminated

Member
Messages
6,494
A friend of mine with a solo acoustic/singing cover / orig act ( think Pop/yacht Rock Music meats MTV's Unplugged/Vh1 Storytellers) is planning a small tour and is contacting restaurants for a small tour next year.

If anyone can recommend SMALL TOWN live music bars or restaurants that would be fantastic. Especially if you know anybody that works there. Hes looking to go the small town route and avoid the big cities.

Heres his list of States.
MAINE, VERMONT, NEW HAMPSHIRE, MASSACHUSETTS, CONNECTICUT, NEW YORK, PENNSYLVANIA, NEW JERSEY, RHODE ISLAND, DELAWARE, MARYLAND, VIRGINIA, WEST VIRGINIA, MICHIGAN, WISCONSIN, ILLINOIS, OHIO, INDIANA, KENTUCKY, TENNESSEE, NORTH CAROLINA, SOUTH CAROLINA, ALABAMA, GEORGIA.
Thanks all in advance!!
 
Last edited:

twoheadedboy

Member
Messages
11,458
A friend of mine with a solo acoustic/singing cover / orig act ( think Pop/yacht Rock Music meats MTV's Unplugged/Vh1 Storytellers) is planning a small tour and is contacting restaurants for a small tour next year.

If anyone can recommend SMALL TOWN live music bars or restaurants that would be fantastic. Especially if you know anybody that works there. Hes looking to go the small town route and avoid the big cities.

Heres his list of States.
MAINE, VERMONT, NEW HAMPSHIRE, MASSACHUSETTS, CONNECTICUT, NEW YORK, PENNSYLVANIA, NEW JERSEY, RHODE ISLAND, DELAWARE, MARYLAND, VIRGINIA, WEST VIRGINIA, MICHIGAN, WISCONSIN, ILLINOIS, OHIO, INDIANA, KENTUCKY, TENNESSEE, NORTH CAROLINA, SOUTH CAROLINA, ALABAMA, GEORGIA.
Thanks all in advance!!
I don't understand what your friend is trying to do. Does he have any reason to expect to be able to draw in small towns across the USA? If not, why would anyone book him?
 

Baminated

Member
Messages
6,494
I don't understand what your friend is trying to do. Does he have any reason to expect to be able to draw in small towns across the USA? If not, why would anyone book him?
Not all places are a "bring your own crowd".

In fact the most successful venues actually know how to brand themselves, have a marketing budget and plan, and meet their financial goals without having to hold musicians to the standard of marketing firm.
iow, many of these type of responsible venues which are in existence put the onus on the musician to KEEP their crowd there which they were smart enough to get there in the first place via the aforememtioned business savvy.

Holy effing sh!t, id like this thread not to be a debate about musician/venue responsibility, but to be consistent with the thread title.

That said, thanks to all who have contributed proactively
 

twoheadedboy

Member
Messages
11,458
Not all places are a "bring your own crowd".

In fact the most successful venues actually know how to brand themselves, have a marketing budget and plan, and meet their financial goals without having to hold musicians to the standard of marketing firm.
iow, many of these type of responsible venues which are in existence put the onus on the musician to KEEP their crowd there which they were smart enough to get there in the first place via the aforememtioned business savvy.

Holy effing sh!t, id like this thread not to be a debate about musician/venue responsibility, but to be consistent with the thread title.

That said, thanks to all who have contributed proactively
I don't want to derail the thread. I just want to understand how this works, because my experience has been that the kinds of venues you're describing primarily exist in large cities, and not small towns. Best of luck putting the tour together.
 

mikendzel

Member
Messages
916
The Stoltz Room, at The Avalon Theatre, in Easton, MD.

Perfect venue for him, the town embraces new artists for the most part, and 30 people will pack the room.
 

tiktok

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
22,579
I don't want to derail the thread. I just want to understand how this works, because my experience has been that the kinds of venues you're describing primarily exist in large cities, and not small towns. Best of luck putting the tour together.
Totally.

I've always heard some variant of the "Avoid the big cities when you're doing your tours--go to the small towns, there's less to compete with and people treat you right, etc." over the years, but my experience was that while you could find places to play in small towns--restaurants, cafes, small bar that do music on the side, they wouldn't pay you. You'd get dinner and that was about it. They'd be friendly about it. You'd basically end up playing for the same...ten people you might play for in the same sort of venue in a city, except you'd have to drive 300 miles to get there and find somewhere to sleep that night. If you're looking at this as a vacation/adventure where you get to play some music most nights and see parts of the world you haven't seen before, it can be lots of fun. If you're looking to make money or build an audience, probably not.

People living in small towns aren't peasants starved for entertainment from the shiny big city--they've got the same internet and 500 channels of cable on a 50" screen as folks in the city, plus all the fishing, boozing and screwing around anyone could want. They're probably not going to buy a CD.
 

DrumBob

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
17,265
There are so many places like this in northern NJ, he should just Google search. I can recommend the Tabernacle in Mt. Tabor, where he might get an opening slot; Sellersville Theater in Sellersville; They are small concert venues. Rockin' Joe's coffee houses does singles. There are lots of places around here who book singles. I can't think of many of them off the top of my head. He has to do his research.
 

Tim Bowen

Member
Messages
3,483
If the guy is just looking for standard solo act bar/restaurant wages + comped meal & beverages + right to display a tip bucket, there are several places he can check out in downtown Rome, Georgia. Harvest Moon/Dark Side of the Moon; Johnny's Pizza; Curlee's Fish House.
 

Tim Bowen

Member
Messages
3,483
On the big town vs. little town thing:

Depends on the town. My little town of 36K has a vibrant nightlife and music scene, one that I helped build, starting in the early 1980s.

I've also worked professionally as a musician in Atlanta, Nashville, & Los Angeles. I definitely earn more teaching in the city, and I continue to teach one day a week in the Atlanta area. For garden variety bar & restaurant gigs and society event work, I've always earned more in my small town than I have in the big metros.
 

stevel

Member
Messages
14,545
I don't understand what your friend is trying to do.
Me neither.

What's the point? What's his goal here?

He could get a gig on a cruise ship and tour the world (or at least, one area of ocean with a number of destinations).

He could go to any tourist destination in the summer and land either a house gig or rotate between a number of venues and play all week. Florida Keys, Outer Banks of NC, and so on.

How much is he expecting to make? Is he looking for places to put him up, or is he going to sleep in a car or hotel?

There are probably thousands if not tens of thousands of places that would hire him a year from now if he has a good demo.

But most "small town" venues, and even small venues in larger towns are going to be looking to bring people in. It's only the tourist areas that tend to have an audience that needs to be entertained who don't need a "draw" because people are already going to be there. However, if he has an Elvis act or something (Yacht Rock could certainly be marketable in much the same way a Buffet type act is) I could see where they'd want to book that.

Is he just trying to see the country or something?
 

aiq

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,136
Does he have a recording or some juice in the CV?

The Listening Room or Callahan's in Mobile both feature high quality acoustic performers.

You did say Alabama but along the coast is a slightly different vibe.
 




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