Sofar Sounds redefines live music


It’s happened to everyone before. Excitedly, you decide to go see a live show, but it doesn’t turn out as planned. The sea of people in the venue makes it nearly impossible to move. It takes you 20 minutes and $10 to buy one beer. And, it can be hard to focus on the artist while everyone around you is glued to their phones.

Far too often live shows get bogged down with these distractions that take away from the experience. Sofar Sounds wants to solve that.

Started in 2009 by a few friends frustrated after a disappointing and disruptive show in London, the group began hosting intimate performances in their own homes. Sofar Sounds quickly took off and has now spread to nearly 300 cities all over the world.

The Sofar experience has developed into an original way to experience music. You sign up online to reserve your spot at a show. However, the catch is you don’t know who the artists are or where the show is located until the day of the gig. Sofar focuses on the element of surprise.

Debuting in Aug. 2015, Sofar St. Louis now has over a thousand members according to city director Chris DiGiacomo. “What’s really key to our growth is making sure each experience is different from the next because that’s one thing that I felt was lacking in St. Louis,” says DiGiacomo. “We have all these venues, and we have all these artists. They’re all playing, but sometimes it’s the same people that show up to the same place, and it can feel like a routine. We just wanted to change things up.”

In the past year, Sofar has held shows in some of St. Louis’s most unfamiliar spots. From a pumpkin patch to an old firehouse to a rock climbing gym, there are few places that are off limits for a Sofar show. “These are not just venues. These are unique spaces that otherwise never have live music in them,” DiGiacomo said.

The lineup of performers follows the same surprising and unconventional pattern. The artists selected for each show come from all over the country, but Sofar tries to have one local artist at each performance.

There is no opener or headliner at a Sofar show in hopes that the audience treats each act with equal respect. DiGiacomo says, “It’s about discovering, but it’s also about leveling the playing field. Each band is paid and treated equally.”

Other protocol for a Sofar Show? Keep the phone usage to a minimum, and don’t talk during the performances. Again, the goal is to get back to the focus of what live music is really about, which can be difficult if you are constantly chatting with your neighbor or texting on your phone.

As the Sofar St. Louis community continues to expand, there will be diverse artists and unusual venues popping up around town, so Sofar can continue giving St. Louis concert-goers a magical music atmosphere.

Visit Sofar Sounds online at

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