Sofar Sounds shakes up Appleton

Sofar Sounds is a music experience that started in London in 2010. Departing from a traditional concert setting, where concert venues are large, loud, and chaotic, Sofar Sounds offers a more intimate experience than a typical concert. It’s a musical opportunity that fosters greater respect for musicians. This is facilitated through upholding a standard of no talking, texting or filming during acts. People are encouraged to arrive at venues on time and are given no prior information on who will be performing. Additionally, the three acts that perform are not divided by an ’opener’ or a ‘headliner’; this system allows for equal attention to each artist.

The idea to cultivate these intimate concert experiences has caught on. Currently Sofar Sounds concerts occur in 319 cities worldwide, Appleton joining the ranks in the beginning of 2017. Junior Arielle Kaye spearheaded the process of introducing Sofar Sounds to the Appleton area. Her experience with Sofar Sounds started last summer while she was living in Chicago.

“It’s really hard for me to articulate how these concerts have stood out to me because they have actually reshaped my conception of live music,” Kaye said. “What it really comes down to is that Sofar Sounds concerts help foster a community of respect and music appreciation, which you can’t find in many other places.”

Working to organize these concerts takes about a month of planning. In that month, a Sofar Sounds team works to get three bands to perform, to confirm a location that is kept secret to the public until the day of the show and to market the concert to the community. Sophomore Emily Richter, who is on the Sofar Sounds team, mainly helps with organizing their social media accounts and as an artist liaison. When asked about what she enjoys most about this organizational process, she said, “I am such a believer in Sofar and creating a community that supports live music, so I find every aspect of it really rewarding.”

The Sofar team in Appleton already held their first sold-out concert at the start of the year. Richter reflected on this first concert and stated, “We went from a pretty small base of people who really knew what we were about to booming a few nights before the concert. It was absolutely electric and people want to come back to that feeling.”

The concerts also give Appleton the opportunity to utilize the great amount of musicianship that already exists in our community in a new way. Kaye strongly believes that these concerts can benefit the community. “I think it helps you appreciate the city that you’re living in and see it in a different light than you maybe not have been able to otherwise,” she said.

Sofar Sounds has rescheduled their second concert to be held on March 31. The Sofar Sounds team plans to hold monthly concerts through June and next school year plans to hold two concerts a month. Those who are interested in attending these intimate musical experiences should check out the Sofar Sounds Facebook page to keep up-to-date with upcoming concerts and to find links to reserve a spot.

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