Share This Article
[wp_social_sharing social_options='facebook,twitter,googleplus,linkedin,pinterest' facebook_text='Share on Facebook' twitter_text='Share on Twitter' googleplus_text='Share on Google+' linkedin_text='Share on Linkedin' pinterest_text='Share on Pinterest' icon_order='f,t,g,l,p' show_icons='1' before_button_text='' social_image='']
The success of The Bakery will be a major boost to Charleston’s music scene. It’s been well over a decade since we’ve had a stable, long-running, all-ages venue in this town. Given Charleston’s live music scene and its bizarre late-night quirks, not having an all-ages venue has played a huge part in the shrinking audiences that live musicians in this town face today.
Generations of kids have grown up in a town where they never pick up the habit of going to hear live music. They don’t get to go out to their own clubs and discover their own bands, and they don’t grow up to be adults who love live music and continue to support it. Our audiences have declined to the point where most of our supporters of live music are service industry workers who don’t get off work until after ten or eleven o’clock at night, and that fact has most shows in local bars starting after eleven PM.
People who have to work the next day simply can’t go out that late. This has been the norm for a long, long time, and it’s at a point where the bars that try to start shows earlier than that quickly discover that they’re paying bands to play to empty venues. You can’t blame the bars for adusting the band’s start times to when they actually have paying customers, and you can’t blame people for staying home until they know the music will start. It’s a bit of a vicious cycle.
People also age out of staying out late to hear live music, and without an all-ages venue to supply younger fans, there’s nobody new coming in to take their place. That’s why we have world-class bands in this town playing to a dozen people some nights.
Charlestonians have demonstrated that they will turn out to support live music at earlier times. Just last month US Floyd nearly sold out The Clay Center with an 8 PM show. Every week (weather permitting) thousands of people come to hear the free music at Live on the Levee, and that starts at 6:30 PM (it’s also usually filled with kids and teens, which is a good sign that there’s demand for an all-ages venue).
The key to making this happen on a regular basis is to have an all-ages venue (or several) where teens can go hear music that belongs to them, and fall in love with the idea of listening to real musicians play live music in a cozy setting. It’s too easy for kids to sit at home and play videogames or watch Netflix. They need a reason to go out.
The Bakery has the potential to be that reason. When they bring the venue up to code it’d be great for them to have regular weekend matinees, where local bands can come in and play for a younger audience, then take a break and set up somewhere else in town for a late-night show. The bands can expand their fanbase and get in some extra playing time. Kids can have a safe place to go, fall in love with music, and pick up a habit that can stick with them for a lifetime.
This won’t happen if The Bakery can’t bring in some money and get some additional volunteers to make the improvements that they need to make to get up to code.
If you can spare a few bucks or a few hours, please reach out and pitch in.