Secret Gigs and Intimate Concerts Reinvent Live Performances in NYC
SoFar Sounds in New York City is reinventing the live performance experience through intimate and spontaneous hidden concerts. This performance planning company takes everyday spaces and turns them into secret venues with live shows.
Their mission is to create, “an immersive experience that brings guests and artists closer together.”
Founded in 2009 by Rocky Start, Rare Offer and Dave Alexander in London, SoFar has expanded to 428 cities all over the world.
They set themselves apart from other concerts because they do not have headliners or openers. The venues are on the smaller side, ranging between twenty to eighty people. They feature three diverse acts and tickets range from $10 to $25, making shows accessible to a larger number of people. Attendees get tickets through a lottery system, and do not know the location of the concert until 24 hours before the show.
Although the ambiguity of the night may worry some, it did not phase King’s senior Julia Campoli.
“SoFar shows are really cool because they’re a completely new and fresh musical experience. The mystery of the shows adds an air of spontaneity to your night,” Campoli said.
Those behind the scenes had positive things to say about SoFar as well. King’s junior Marina Barham has attended over 60 shows as a photographer in locations such as NYC, Paris, Charlotte and Nashville.
Since her first SoFar show on a boat in Red Hook, she has cherished her time working for them.
“They have become a community that is so important to me because there is nothing quite as magical as a room with live music, and the people who love to listen to it. SoFar has brought me some of my favorite memories and some of my greatest friends,“ Barham said.
Last Thursday, SoFar had a show at Hell Phone and Ange in Flatbush. Kate Yeager, Mike Rosen and Black Zeus with Dirty Pipes each performed a twenty-minute set.
Yeager took the stage first.
Even though she has performed forty shows for SoFar and her guitar strings broke within the first five minutes of her set, she still enjoyed her time on stage.
“The show at Hell Phone had this undeniable joy which was amazing to be a part of during a polar vortex. I was so grateful for everyone who braved the cold, sang aloud with us and gave us their energy that night. It gave the room a warmth that everyone could really feel,” Yeager said.
Yeager has been performing since she was twelve. She began in musicals, but for the past eight years, she has branched into performing solo with her guitar.
The final performer, Mike Rosen performed a spoken word poem where he covered topics such as his struggle with anxiety and growing up in the city. Rosen has performed in twenty-five SoFar shows. His first was held in a downtown loft.
“Over the years, I’ve enjoyed and appreciated how supportive they have been helping me get shows all over the world and being open-minded about allowing poetry to exist side by side with music... I’m always happy to be a part of a SoFar evening,” Rosen said.
In the future, SoFar Sounds will partner with Comcast for a 12-City tour of emerging artists, as an effort to increase revenue and offer behind-the-scenes footage of performers.