Underestimating the live Synthwave explosion

Dec 16, 2018 | Live Events, Music

A few months ago I met a fellow live synthwave fan. As it is with these things, we met on a Facebook group and arranged a pre gig meet in a bar. On that particular day he had his own ticket and a spare. ‘Has someone cancelled on you?’ I asked.

‘No. I always buy a spare and just before the gig I offer it for free. Mostly to introduce someone to the genre or give someone the chance to attend a sell out event’. I was inspired. It was such a great idea. As we waited in line he threw the offer out in social media and within a few minutes someone was in their way down to the venue to attend a gig they didn’t expect to get in to, let alone for free!

So this week, when picking up some tickets for an upcoming event I did the same thing. One for me, one for my other half, and one for someone on the night as a gift. Now the chances are that it will go to a die hard fan but there is that off chance that it will be nabbed by someone who is new to the scene. Someone looking to expand their synthwave knowledge and meet new people. And it’s that person that I hope picks up the ticket.

Naturally you see a lot of the same faces at these events and that’s great, but recent shows have thrown up some surprise crowds and people attending for the first time. And as the crowds grow, so does the demand.

Last weeks’ FM-84 London show announcement resulted in the show being sold out in 20 mins. Demand was so high they had to increase the size of the venue to facilitate the demand. Later in the day they released more tickets and it was sold out again 30 mins later. The demand is growing however I do have concerns for the bands and their representatives who might be using bookers who don’t understand the live synthwave scene in the uk. London in particular has had stacks of live shows this year with promotors such as Outland and Retro Future Fest being at the forefront of the experience at promoting in the scene… I would imagine that they would have cause to look on with an ‘I told you so’ attitude towards anyone who underestimates the speed of the growth of demand for this sort of live entertainment. Even Night Arcade waded in on the UK market this summer with a show in Manchester that had a great attendance and reception. Clearly testing the waters, I will be interested to see how and if they return to these shores next year.

One thing is certain. Playing this music live isn’t easy. So many of these artists are bedroom based and throwing out amazing tunes from the comfort of home. It’s another thing all together to take that product and put yourself out there for all to see. So a special level of appreciation should be acknowledged to those live artists, experienced with stage craft or otherwise, who make the live experience so much fun – So keep an eye out next February. I have a spare ticket going.

Now you’ll have to excuse me. I need to return some videotapes.