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Sofar Sounds, the fastest growing music community in the world, comes to Buffalo

This month, Marc Hunt and his wife, Shani, launched Sofar Sounds Buffalo. The second Sofar Sounds show will be held tonight, June 22 at Sugar City on Niagara Street. Tickets are still available and can be purchased here or arrive at 7:30 p.m. to sign up for tickets. Typically, the location is announced 24 hours prior to the event, which is why we can list it in this article. Artists will be announced just prior to the event.

Founded in 2009, Sofar Sounds (or Songs from a Room) is a “global community where guests and artists come together to experience music in an intimate and respectful setting at a secret concert.” Founders Rafe Offer and Dave Alexander began Sofar Sounds after becoming annoyed by concert attendees “talking over the music, gazing into their phones, or hearing the clanging of beer bottles.” So they invited a few friends over to their apartment for an impromptu concert in their living room. In what began as a grassroots movement in London has grown into a global community that claims to host approximately “500 gigs per month in more than 300 cities worldwide,” according to a Wall Street Journal article. Sofar Sounds is considered one of the “the fastest growing music community in the world.”

There are 2-3 performers per event. All artists apply to play in that area via Sofar Sounds website. The show can feature musicians of any genre, from barbershop quartet to punk-rock, as well as poets, comedians, artists, or dancers. They can be well known award-winning artists, local favorites, or performers just starting out. The style of the event is similar to “storytellers” or “MTV unplugged” says Hunt.

Each act plays for approximately 20 minutes, during which they will talk to the audience about the inspiration behind their music or performance. There is a ten minute break between each set. Profits from ticket sales cover a small flat-rate stipend to artists and performers regardless of the size or popularity of the act. Artists can choose to waive their fee in exchange for a produced video of the performance which is then uploaded to Sofar Sounds website. This is volunteer activity for the organizers who are passionate about the arts. Marc and Shani are both educators. Marc is also a musician and is on the board of Music is Art.

A coordinator for Sofar Sounds stated that she’s “never seen a city have so many people apply to play it.” Given the initial interest, Marc and his wife are working to coordinate with Sofar organizers in Toronto, Ontario and Rochester, NY, to attract groups that are interested in playing through the area.

The first concert that Sofar Sounds Buffalo produced was held on June 12 at the American Repertory Theater of WNY and featured: Graceful Closure, Stress Dolls, and The Ellameno Beat. If you are interested in volunteering to help organize these events, you can apply here. If you would like to host a Sofar Sounds event, apply here.

Graceful Closure

Stress Dolls

The Ellameno Beat

What is a Sofar?

Bringing the magic back to live music. Amazing artists in intimate spaces, performing stripped-back sets to carefully curated audiences. Please, arrive on time, stay to the end. Sit down, settle in and just listen. You’re gonna love it.

Where am I going? The address is revealed the day before on the organizer’s webpage and you will receive an email too.

What’s the place like? A unique public performance space, hidden away somewhere in your city – let Sofar be your guide in uncovering these gems for you and your friends to return to again and again.

How do I get tickets? You can come to a show by requesting tickets, which will put your name into a draw. If you are selected from the draw, you will then be prompted to purchase your tickets. You will then be able to purchase up to three tickets for the show.

Can I still bring a +1? Yes! In fact, you can now bring two friends along. You will be purchasing a ticket per person, meaning it will be $15 for one person, $30 for two, and $45 for three.

Lead image from Sofar Sounds Buffalo.

Written by Jessica Marinelli

Jessica Marinelli

Jessica Marinelli is an author, speaker, coach, marketer, and business development strategist. Her professional consulting company, MEMC handles all aspects of marketing and business development planning and implementation, assisting with strategic planning initiatives and the creation of marketing action plans, as well as planning and executing private and public events, including: the coaching of individuals, multi-day conferences, as well as other development initiatives. In addition to her work with MEMC, Jessica oversees the day-to-day operations and strategic marketing efforts at Local Matters, Inc. the parent company of Buffalo Rising.

She is active in her community and serves on several non-profit boards, such as WNY Heritage Magazine, O'Connell & Company Productions, and the Women's Business Center (WBC) Advisory Board. She is also a Democratic Committee Member in the Town of Tonawanda. Most recently, She has been asked to serve as the Marketing Consultant for the WBC's COVID Recovery Task Force.

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