Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Breaking Myth #5: They're all out to rip you off! (part 4)

Yeah, I wanna check out your band. Can you put me on the guest list?

This one goes out to the audience, or potential audience. Just where have you been hiding?

For some reason people seem reluctant to part with even the smallest amount of money to see bands live. I am talking about the bands that are out there playing in your local clubs and bars, not about the superstar shows at the super room that you fork a big chunk out for months in advance for. I'm talking about the treasure trove of talent that is available to you pretty much all the time and for a pittance.

When I lived in Los Angeles up to the beginning of the current millennium, folks would go to several shows a week; sometimes even more than one a night! That was because there were more than enough amazing bands from all over the planet playing all the time. Well, L.A. was and still is a metropolitan talent magnet.

The point is, that because there were so many shows and people were going to as many of them as they could afford, the door prices were kept pretty low. Usually you could expect to find a show with 3 or 4 local bands for $5. From that, with rare exceptions, all the bands would get their gas money and a few dollars extra., but more importantly, they would be gaining invaluable stage experience and (if they were any good) a strong following (of incalculable value). If one of the bands on a bill was on tour from the further reaches or one of the bands happened to have garnered a bit of success and was guaranteed to pull in a much bigger crowd, the price might jump up to as much as $10. From what I understand those prices have pretty much doubled in the past decade (gas/petrol has more than doubled in cost over that time).

Here in Cyprus, most of the shows with the local bands run at about €10. That money not only gets split among the bands, but sometimes the venue gets a cut as well. The thing is, there are a lot less shows here in Cyprus than there were back in L.A. Maybe if more people went out to support the vast talents we have here, we could manage more shows and maybe even get the prices down a touch.

I wouldn't count on that last bit. But I will say that it is a damned shame that we don't have 2 or 3 shows a week in each of the cities (Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos) with packed houses. We certainly have enough musical talent on this island to warrant it.

None the less, people seem to think that €10 for an evening of great live entertainment is a rip off. Why is that? Is it a erroneous perception that the bands aren't any good? Have people lost the love of music? Or has it somehow become un-cool to go to a show and support local bands? I'm not sure what the causes are, but I do think I know a couple of things that perpetuate it.

One of the big problems is that people go to shows because their friend's band is playing. Not that going to support your friend's band is a bad thing. I think more people should go see their friend/workmate's bands. You might actually be shocked at the talent that unassuming accountant actually has.

And when you do finally go out to see your friend's band, plan on seeing all of the bands that are playing. Go out to the show with the intention of having a great time. Go out to discover an amazing band that was in your back yard the whole time. Don't just make an appearance so you don't have to feel guilty about never supporting your friend. Believe me, that isn't doing anyone any favours. In fact, if you do that, you ARE getting ripped off! Your money is better spent if you just pay your friend €10 and not go see them.

So, come on people! Let's get out there and discover and support our bands. And don't be a purist; try some bands that are outside of the little niche scenes your friends are in. There is truly a wealth of brilliant music and performances to inspire you and make you feel alive. And, it's bound to be better value than dinner and a movie!


  1. hi
    i am a performer in Cyprus and have been performing for over 15 years. thank you.... for everything said in your post!!!!

    Cyprus is a very small island with not enough people to support venues. People have been complaining for years about the 10 euro entrance fee and i always try to explain to them the expenses and the hardship each club goes through in order to survive, let alone "take advantage" of their customers and make extreme profits.

    it's simple.... 10 euros you spend going out for a coffee, 4 hours of live music with performers giving their all is money much better spent!!!

    Eventually if people dont support and value the local bands and performers, the performances will eventually fade out and cyprus will lose their music scene. It seems, as always, we are aknowledged for our talents everywhere, in other countries, but our own!!
    Support Cypriot artists because one day you might not have us around to do so...

    Keep the music aLIVE!!!!

    1. Hello (Anonymous?). That is exactly the point behind this whole blog. I love living in CY. That is why I have settled here permanently with my family. I am also blown away by the talent I have seen and heard here. It is truly amazing considering the size of the island. I just don't understand why poeple don't pay attention and take advantage of what is readily available for them, as well as why the musicians seem to divide themselves into factions that don't support each other. If people could seriously start to support each other, I think this island would be the next spark of a new artistic revolution!

  2. hey sorry for the anonymous.... i didn't have any of the other options so i took the one i had for sure... anonymous ;) my name is George, nice to meet u.

    you are right on both accounts unfortunately. Local talent is harder for Cypriots to aknowledge because we are "unknowns". As soon as a "famous" singer comes to CY then everybody jumps to the occasion no matter what the standard of their performance is. For us it is a constant struggle to prove our worth over and over again.

    As for the bickering between musicians? ... well i suppose it's partially part of our nature as Cypriots :/ also the fact that there is not enough people to cover the live venues so that intensifies the feeling of competition between us. Another factor i believe is that there is a division between types of music!!! rock, greek rock, folk or whatever. rubbish if u ask me... music is music and it deserves a bit more respect then that.

    finally, as for what u say about an artistic revolution generated by this island. It could do, but its hard when what u do is not appreciated and it wears you down. no matter how much u love what u do, eventually from an artist you end up feeling like an entertainer alone.... i personally have felt like a jukebox on several occassions. I hope things change someday because this small island DOES have a lot to offer on many levels. all we need is a little support!!!

    1. Hello George! Nice to meet you man. I agree with everything you just wrote. Also I think that what we are both after is well worth the fight. I know it isn't and won't be easy, but the best things in life almost never are. I think if like minded people (like us) can manage to work together and build up the good parts of the scene we stand a much better chance of success! I'm in Lefkosia. Feel free to email me at william.f. or hit me up on facebook (basilis graves) and we can talk more. We can even meet up for coffee if you like. This offer is open to anyone who wants to join up to make something happen.