If you're not yet involved in your local scene, you might feel intimidated as a newcomer. But every community needs as many movers and shakers as it can get – and you'll likely be a welcome addition to in your city. Get involved and start helping your local scene thrive by following these five tips.
1. Go to shows regularly
Check listings on venue websites, band pages, local blogs or newspapers, and anywhere else you can. Show up – and pay the cover! Even if you know someone playing, avoid asking for a list spot. While your presence on its own is nice, your monetary support means significantly more. Bands need to get paid, after all, and the ticket count also earns them credibility with the booking agent and venue.
2. Buy merch
This one has the potential to be doubly helpful: when you purchase merch directly from the band, you're helping them earn the money they need to keep going. Additionally, sporting a T-shirt or a pin is a means of supporting them publicly. People may ask about them, and you'll tell 'em.
[Why Being Part of Your Local Music Scene Matters So Much More Than You Think]
3. Promote the scene via social media
Follow your local venues, bands, and blogs on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the like. Spread the word (and help 'em beat timeline algorithms) by engaging with events, articles, and anything else that's positive for your local scene – that means liking, retweeting, commenting, and sharing. Note: word of mouth works too. Invite friends to come along to shows!
4. Make an effort to meet people
Get to know the bands, booking agents, and promoters, but don't forget to connect with other local music fans. The more people you meet, the more you'll feel a part of the community. Don't be afraid to introduce yourself to someone you've never met. As long as you're polite, they'll probably be happy to hear about your enthusiasm for the scene. They'll probably even introduce you to others. (And once you're comfortable member of that community, you can help introduce newcomers!)
[How to Be a Good Music Citizen in Your Local Scene]
5. Help out in any way you can
What skill or resource do you have that could help out musicians in your local scene? Are you the owner of a print shop? Are you an artist? A writer? Do you know someone who is any of the aforementioned? Do you live a house that could be used for a show? Are you good at organizing events?
There are myriad ways to apply a variety of skills or resources as aid to the independent community. At the very least, you're probably capable of distributing flyers or hanging posters. Why not offer to make the rounds promoting? Even an effort as seemingly small as that can be incredibly helpful.
Jhoni Jackson is an Atlanta-bred music journalist currently based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she juggles owning a venue called Club 77, freelance writing and, of course, going to the beach as often as possible.