We asked Johnny Virum of Virus Cycle to write us a short piece about what he thought of the music scene around town. This is his story about how he feels the Boston Music Scene is doing. Do you agree? use the comment feature at the end of the article to let us know how you feel!
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The Boston music scene is a very harsh and unforgiving entity to the average band that plays any kind of original music. Whether you’re in a Jazz, Industrial or Death Metal band, there are many obstacles that must be overcome to be able to survive and thrive in this area. In the past ten years, there have been many events that have attributed to the decline of this scene. Today, many clubs and promoters are worried about the monetary bottom line which, in many cases, is put above talent. However, before the economic aspects of the economy are explored, one must understand the one catastrophic event that started the decline of the Boston music scene: The Station nightclub fire.
Rhode Island’s Station nightclub fire was the fourth deadliest nightclub fire in the history of the United States. On February 20, 2003, 100 people lost their lives after the band Great White’s pyrotechnics engulfed the club in flames. This horrible incident lead to many city and town authorities to start requiring many clubs in their local areas to update their sprinkler systems. Many clubs didn’t go along with the new laws and decided to close down instead of doing the costly maintenance on their systems that was now deemed mandatory. This left many bands, as well as many promoters, without local clubs to do business with. This event started the decline of the music scene in Boston. The next unfortunate incident was the economic downturn that started a few years later after the horrible events of February 20, 2003.
Due to a slumping economy, many clubs have closed their doors. Other club owners have seen this happening for some time and are afraid that this will happen to their establishment, so in turn, they are afraid to take chances on many bands who are not yet established and are without huge draws. Many clubs would rather book cover bands or host karaoke sessions in the hopes of drawing in more patrons. This is also a problem for many underground genres of music such as Industrial and Goth, because their owners believe that there is not enough mainstream appeal for their patrons so they feel that they will lose money on the event and won’t book it. This is a problem that plagues the Boston music scene and it is leading to a very stagnant and unfulfilling environment for many artists all over the area.
So if you’re an artist and are reading this, you might be asking yourself, “Where does this leave me?” My best advice is making your own scene. Make good music and then promote it on every media avenue you can. Play a show or two; if you’re not playing out as many shows as you want, cough up some money and rent a VFW hall or something similar and start your own show. You need to start a buzz around your musical endeavors. Don’t sit back and let the mainstream dictate your musical career, because if you do it will be gone in a blink of an eye.
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