by Floco Torres
There’s a saying that goes, “Think locally; act globally.” Even though the definition is aimed more at environmental issues, its overall intention has spread into other ways we could do our part in our communities. Sub-category sayings like “Support the Scene” essentially mean the same thing, but they’re targeted more towards supporting your city’s local artists, musicians and businesses.
Slogans are just fine and make us feel good when we hashtag them boisterously on social media, but the goal here is to actually SUPPORT the scene, not just appear to. I wanted to start a conversation on how we can make sure we’re physically putting these slogans to action.
Let’s start with how we can properly support our independent musicians, venues and event spaces when it comes to the suggested donations and cover charges. A suggested donation is seen more at pop-up events or DIY spaces. It’s is a nice way of asking for money to help with expenses for putting on the event and usually entices people to attend because there’s less financial commitment. Usually ranging from five to ten bucks, this money goes to paying the performers and speakers, covering costs for equipment and the venue, or all of the above. Your donation directly helps the event exist and how frequently the event can happen. With our DIY venues that are opening their homes to help provide a pulse to our music and arts scene, this donation may help pay an inflated power bill from the four to five shows a month that they’re hosting in their basements or living rooms. Suggested donations aren’t mandatory of course, so if you find yourself not paying to get in, make sure you’re buying merchandise from the bands or products from the vendors present, buying a drink from the bar (and tipping the tender), or any way you can monetarily support the event.
When it comes to a cover charge normally seen at more established entertainment venues, this cost usually goes directly to the entertainment. Depending on the size of the venue, the level of acts that are performing and such, cover charges can range a little higher ($10-$20, or more). Even if you only pay the cover, it’s still important that you’re supporting financially. The same goes for attending free shows. Make sure you’re finding ways to put your dollars back into the scene.
Believe it or not, the only thing the big cities have over Akron is a larger population and a larger part of that population willing to spend money. If you won’t spend money at events in your own backyard, but will do so for (big name event) in (insert city), you become a part of the problems that you think plague your community when you complain about what it doesn’t have. Attending is great, and social media creates ideals you don’t have to uphold. But being proactive by spending money at our local events so the scene can exist—hopefully even thrive—is how you can really support the scene.