1.08.2015

Local music scene holds S.O.S. meeting

By Lauren Halligan, lhalligan@digitalfirstmedia.com,@TheWeekender518 on Twitter

Music-lovers are sending out at S.O.S. to help the local music scene thrive once again.

A once-thriving music scene has fallen from glory in recent years, and the remaining community is making an effort to keep it alive.

Thursday night dozens of artists and music enthusiasts banded together at a meeting entitled “518 S.O.S. (Save Our Scene).”

Local bands and musicians were urged to attend the Thursday meeting. “It is important as a community in this industry to work together,” the Facebook event description read. “Over the past couple years everyone has started to drift apart and not work together to keep this music scene alive and strong.”

The meeting, held at Bogies music venue at 297 Ontario St. in Albany, was led by Mike Valente of Black and Blue Entertainment.

Standing in a local haven for hardcore music, built on DIY efforts, Valente explained why the club’s schedule is looking so thin this season. “Nobody goes out anymore it seems,” he said.

The root of the problem is shows that once drew a major crowd are now only bringing a handful of patrons for the business. Another promoter who books concerts at the club, Ashley Ventura of Delirium Entertainment, said "It seems like everybody stopped caring.”

The state of the industry may be partially to blame, the local bookers agree. Acts have gotten more expensive over the years, due to agents charging more, which eventually drives up ticket prices. “Five-dollar shows are almost long gone,” Valente said.

Instead of taking risks on booking lots of shows in the coming months, “I’m going for quality not quantity,” Valente said, mentioning he’s not sure how much longer he could keep Bogies open.
After offering a peek into the financial struggles of booking shows that don’t draw attendees, “I'm a little nervous about what 2015 hold for this club," he said.

This did not sit well with the crowd, of which members immediately presented possible solutions such as raffles, interactive shows, mixing genres on bills and networking with one another on a regular basis at a regular meeting.

Valente doesn’t want to see the scene fall apart either. “I want to try and get everybody back to handing out flyers, back to coming to shows,” he said

Morale was high by the end of the night, as bands agreed to promote the local shows with paper flyers and in-person networking.

The general consensus in the club Thursday night argues there is hope for making 2015 a better and stronger year within the 518 music community. Having sparked a flame under a group of people that truly care about music, “I think it will work,” Valente said after the meeting, optimistic for the scene’s future.

Lauren Halligan may be reached at 290-1443.

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