Why bother with your local music scene if you're ultimately gunning for worldwide stages? If that sounds a bit asinine to you, then you likely possess a pretty good understanding of what it really means to be part of a community. Because that's what your local scene is: a community.
Considering what it can do for the growth of your fanbase, connections, and confidence, why wouldn't you want to join in? If you're not already involved in your local scene, read on for our top five reasons why you should be.
1. It's a source of mutual support
The most obvious benefit of any community is that it's a resource for all kinds of help. When something goes terribly wrong – your van breaks down just before tour, a band abandons the lineup the day of a show, or even something in your personal life – your group of comrades is there for support. There's relief even in just knowing you've got people you can count on.
It should go without saying, though, that it's a two-way street for all involved. Communities don't take well to any type of parasitic behavior. Offer help and encouragement often, and reevaluate your relationship with anyone who doesn't do the same.
2. Your scene is also a professional network
Landing a gig at a venue you've never played is much easier when you've got a friend who has – same as how approaching a local writer or label head honcho is less intimidating if you've got mutual friends. People you befriend in your local scene can introduce you to others you want to work with – and not just in your own city. The difficult process of organizing your first-ever tour is made simpler when you've got contacts handed down from a bud's previous jaunt. You never know who someone could potentially hook you up with – or who you're pals with that could help someone else.
3. You can learn by sharing experience and skills
Real insight from experienced people can be an invaluable aid in your journey through the independent music world. That's why we so often call upon industry folks to provide advice for Sonicbids readers. Making connections with players in your local scene in person, though, means you've got access to a help hotline anytime. (Within reason, you guys.)
Never organized a show? Talk to someone who has. Looking for a label, but don't know where to start? Look to a band who landed a deal for tips. One day you can share your own experience and expertise with another up-and-coming band.
4. It's a better way to buy gear
Instead of buying used gear with unknown history, look to your local scene for your next purchase. They're more likely to be realistic with you about any problems and, if you're just beginning to learn about the equipment, they might have some tips to offer.
Note: neighborhood shops are another ideal source for gear. Essentially, they're part of the local scene, too. If you're unfamiliar with what stores are best in your area, query musician friends in your community.
5. It enriches your entire life
A sense of belonging can be hugely beneficial to your personal happiness. You could even deem it a human need on par with food and shelter. Psychology Today agrees and confirms its benefits to your health and motivation, too. Musicians – and even just music fans – can reap all those rewards by being part of their local independent music community.
In an industry so full of rejection, feelings of acceptance and assurance that you're not alone can be your lifeblood. Keep an eye out for our follow-up post about how to get more involved in your local scene.
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.