The beer will still be local and so will the bands, but starting in 2017, the weekly Local Band Local Beer concert series is going to cost you a five-spot.
For ten years, Local Band Local Beer has united two of the area’s finest exports, at no charge, in downtown Raleigh, regularly bringing in droves of beer lovers and attracting bands that were paid well on the strength of the drinking crowd. But, according to a statement released Wednesday by Pour House owner Adam Lindstaedt, the series will begin charging admission in order to offer better compensation to the bands that play there.
The series began at Tir Na Nog on Blount Street in 2006 and changed hands a few years ago when Craig Reed took it over from Chris Tamplin. Reed said the model that allowed the series to flourish and compensate bands well at the original site did not translate well to the Pour House, a smaller space and a pure music venue whose lack of food service increases its dependency on bar sales to pay bands. And lately, though the Pour House is bringing in good-sized crowds (Reed estimates they get two hundred patrons at every LBLB), bar sales just haven’t been doing the job.
“You have a music series where drinking equals band pay,” says Reed. “It doesn’t matter how many people came or enjoyed the band, it’s just a question of did they drink or not. Sometimes people come and they just don’t drink as much. It’s a ten-year-old series, and the Raleigh we had ten years ago is starkly different from the Raleigh we have now. We have to change, too.”
Reed says he’s no fan of the old model anyway. In his view, the music and the bar should operate as separate entities. He figures the new admission model offers a way forward for the series. He’s looking to incorporate art and fashion and collaboration with other local venues, and hoping to gain some bargaining power by drumming up better numbers to lure bigger acts to the Pour House. He expects that some will immediately reject the new admission policy.
“Some people, no matter what you do, they’re gonna say, “Oh, but it was always free,” he says.
But even with the cover charge, Reed says, the value of seeing three bands for five dollars (three with a college ID) is considerable.
“Over three hours of music at a professional sound venue: it’s worth five bucks. You can’t get a sandwich downtown for five bucks. Hell, a cup of coffee at some places is close to that.”
The decision to place a cover charge on Local Band Local Beer has long been under discussion, but the time to act is now, says Reed. “It’s hard being a musician. I play music and I’ve been in bands. Most of my friends are musicians too. There’s nothing worse than someone who practices their heart out and plays a show and there’s a crowd—and feels they haven’t been valued. And that’s what it comes down to—valuing our musicians as much as we can.”