Saving SF’s Live Music Culture
The Root is a new local organization intent on fostering live music in San Francisco — a worthy cause as gentrification takes its toll on clubs like the Elbo Room, Cafe du Nord, Bottom of the Hill, Savannah Jazz, and most recently The Lost Church, all teetering over the abyss of rising costs, changing tastes and condomania.
April was a busy month for The Note which opened the month with a panel discussion representing musician, club, civic and media interests. The panel’s media voice was that of Ian S. Port, Music Editor for the SF Weekly, and author of “Scene Change: How to Help the S.F. Music Scene,” which summarizes the panel’s discussion and reviews ideas for advancing the cause of live music in SF; and “Tour of Venice: Why It Matters If S.F. Loses Its Musicians,” where he writes: Our music scene depends not just on singers and DJs, but bartenders, lighting techs, sound engineers, door people, record label employees, and talent buyers — many of whom, on their nights off, take a stage somewhere. These people form a community and an economy. Theirs is one of the thousands that make the city vibrant.
The Root’s Facebook page is the focal point of its activities, the latest of which covers the announcement about Mayor Ed Lee‘s and Supervisor Mark Weiner‘s “new NightlifeSF initiative, being led by a dedicated nightlife and entertainment sector manager at the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, to make City government more responsive to the needs and concerns of the nightlife and entertainment business community and to improve the effectiveness of government interaction with these businesses. “ Cutting the red tape, which The City, Alcohol and Beverage Control, ASCAP and the State pile onto the clubs in abundance, is a welcome sign of City Hall’s actually doing something long talked about.
Still, there’s only so much City Hall can do. The DJs et al noted in Port’s article, and especially us fans, have to up our commitment too. For fans, reading an article like this, following the links to Port’s articles, and liking The Root’s Facebook page are easy enough. Getting out to more shows, particularly wage-slave-friendly shows that happen early and often throughout the week is always the best option but, unfortunately, one too easy to pay lip service too. Those who have the desire, but not always the will, might think about setting a reasonable quota of two, three or four shows per month. Plan ahead by checking calendars of bands, clubs, music sites like the Hicks with Sticks Calendar page and any of the four other calendars linked to on that page. Also “like” favorite bands and club pages on FB and keep a close watch on your FB events list. Finally, put shows on your calendar and go! Saving live music throughout the Bay Area really is that simple.