It’s becoming less and less affordable to see your favorite artists when they come through Philadelphia – a problem that mostly has to do with concert-promotion giants Live Nation and Ticketmaster.
The two companies, perhaps the two largest concert promoters in the world, announced a merger back in February, resulting in quite a stir among ticketing companies and independent concert promoters.
Luckily, there are alternatives yet to paying, at times, more than $100 for a couple tickets – like you did for that pair of lawn seats to Coldplay’s show at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, N.J., back in May – after suffering a multitude of so-called processing fees.
Here in Philadelphia, there exists a thriving independent music scene that has, despite tough economic times and competition from ticketing conglomerates like Live Nation and Ticketmaster, found a way to survive.
This network of smaller, intimate venues play host to some incredibly devoted bands and music fans and maintain the pulse of Philadelphia’s live music scene.
From tiny bars like the Khyber to more upscale venues like World Café Live to the city’s largest non-stadium venue, the Electric Factory, Philly’s selection of concert venue atmospheres runs the gamut. And fortunately for Philadelphia music fans, there are still places to see a show for less than $15.
There’s a certain do-it-yourself attitude in Philly, and countless bands start from scratch in the City of Brotherly Love, performing at open-mic nights and taking full advantage of the thriving bar scene to secure gigs.
Certainly, making serious strides in the music industry today is an extremely difficult challenge, but Philly can be a great platform for many bands to get off the ground. If nothing else, the city’s diverse, vibrant music scene just gives bands and performers a chance to get out, perform and have fun.
Not only does the do-it-yourself mentality apply to performers, but independent concert performers, such as the beloved R5 Productions, make it their mission to provide cheap, all-ages shows at smaller venues around town. Their shows, which tend to average around $12 for admission, fill venues like the First Unitarian Church, Johnny Brenda’s and Kung Fu Necktie.
R5 manages to secure some of the most spectacular, under-the-radar talents, and as R5’s Web site explains, its shows are “for the kids, by the kids.” Bands promoted by R5 have gone on to national success: Jimmy Eat World, Cold War Kids, Broken Social Scene and the Arcade Fire have all played R5 shows, getting their starts playing church basements and bars.
So, if there’s one suggestion I have for you during your time at Temple, it would be this: support and enjoy the great music scene Philly has to offer. Don’t be hesitant to take a chance on a band you’re less than familiar with, performing at a smaller venue – because after all, there’s nothing like sticking it to the man.
Kevin Brosky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.