When I lived in New York I was part of a musical community that centered around a Monday night open mic at a local bar called the Sidewalk Cafe. Every other night of the week they had live music that performed for tips.
My experiences at Sidewalk played a big role in shaping my opinions about music and the creative process. It also gave me a place to go when I wanted to relax or get out of my apartment. I made some lifelong friends there as well.
This magical place was essentially a bar trying to sell people drinks and food and the music was just part of the advertising. This how most small to midsized music venues operate and struggle to survive. Without food or drink sales most could not exist.
In some countries the government subsidizes art in the form of grants to musical venues. They don’t have to worry as much about selling beer or booking acts that will attract a large amount of people/ customers. On the other hand if the government stops funding the organization they have no real way of supporting themselves.
I don’t know what the better system is? There are pros and cons to both. But for me and many others that little bar in New York was so much more than a place to grab a beer after work or get brunch on Saturday.
I encourage anyone to seek out and patronize your local small live music venue. You just might get inspired or better yet stumble across a whole community that welcomes you with open arms.
Below is a playlist of songs that have resonated with me in the past month. I hope they bring more joy to your life. Thanks for listening, MMM
Included are songs by: Jeffery Lewis, Rosie Tucker, Passerine Dream, Liz Phair, Holiday At Sea, The Lazy Eyes, Etran de L’Air, Bruno Pernades, Lucy Dacus, Madlib, Yasuaki Shimizu, JONI MITCHELL, Arushi Jain
(Subscribe to get a new playlist every 1st Monday of the month. Click on my user link or search: Major Matt’s 1st Monday on Spotify to cruise past playlists and discover more music.)