The Power and Impact of Supporting Local Music

I’ll be the first to admit, until I was actually a musician in the local music scene, I really didn’t support it much. I went mostly to nationally touring acts. At the time, I didn’t realize how important and vital it was to support local music as it has so many benefits not just to the bands and venues, but the local economy as well.

Believe it or not, here in Rhode Island there is a very large and vibrant local music scene. We might be the smallest state in the Union, but we have some truly amazing bands who are working very hard. First, let me talk about what supporting local music does for the scene from my point of view.

Musicians in the scene already know what goes in to putting on a show, but for those who don’t, here is what your $5-$20 door fee pays for one show from my experience in no particular order: the creation of the songs, music and lyrics; hours of practice; maintenance of musicians’ equipment; gas for vehicles; travel to the venue; development, purchasing, and maintenance of merchandise for the fans; setting up equipment and merchandise hours before the doors even open; and if very lucky recording and developing a CD. We play while sick and even with broken limbs all because we want to share what we’ve created with whoever will show up, but mostly because we love what we do.

One thing I’ll share, I LOVE being on stage with my bandmates. It doesn’t matter if there’s 1 person or 100, we give 110% every time and we have FUN while doing it. Why, because we’re family. Yes, we have squabbles from time to time and not everyone sees things the same way, but that’s the nature of the game. When we’re on stage and the power is cranking out of the PA, the audience is singing along to the songs with heads banging and fists in the air…ahhh, nothing like it in the world.

You’re $5-$20 and beverage purchases also help the venue and its staff. In the past couple of years, we’ve taken a few hits where some really great clubs have shut down because the revenue has been poor. By keeping these venues open and vibrant, it gives people jobs from the person taking money at the door to the bartenders and even maintenance of the facility itself.

Supporting these venues gives back to the local economy if you really think about it. The venue staff use their money to live which means buying groceries, gas, clothing, etc., and this supports more jobs and stores and the economy in general. Even the venues purchase a lot of their products locally. When these places close, it might not be a huge impact on local economy if they have a small staff, but it does effect MANY people’s lives.

Do I support the local music scene? Absolutely. My wife and I usually go to local shows a couple of times a month. We do this because not only are there a lot of great bands around here, but they are friends as well. Another thing, even if my band does have a show, we stay for the entire event. The importance of doing this cannot be expressed enough as it supports the bands, the venue, and is a great opportunity to interact with the fans.

Finally, last night my wife and I saw Metallica and Volbeat. Metallica has been a major influence for me since I was a teenager and they are my wife’s favorite band. As I watched the two bands go through their sets, I saw how at heart, they are still garage bands. They LOVE what they are doing, they enjoy interacting with the fans, playing music and are amazingly, very humble.

EVERY nationally touring band started local, period. So, get out there and give your local music scene a chance. Your $5-$20 can change not just your local community, but LIVES.

-Scott Duncan - MU Columnist

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