Here at HQ we have known about the live music event Sofar Sounds for a while. While many live events purport diversity and deliver the tried and tested, Sofar Sounds does deliver on that diversity. We love that and a few of the team have been to their events across the globe to testify to that.
It’s important in this day and age where sameness and the formulaic can achieve success that there is an event where uniqueness can flourish minus the industry need for ‘x’ amount of followers. With their brand of secret gigs across the globe Sofar Sounds is a tidy beacon for the talented.
London is a city that is constantly moving and one that is never quiet. If you are seeking an escape from the city chaos but want to remain part of the party, you should chill out with Sofar Sounds.
It is not a playlist, although you should add the artists that perform there to yours. Sofar Sounds is a unique gig experience held in alternative venues in 404 cities all over the world. Settings include a roof top in Vancouver, an antique shop in Barcelona and old studios in London.
Sofar is movement which aims to “bring back that magic” associated with gig going. Founder Rafe Offer said: “People are becoming increasingly frustrated with a world where we are attached to our phones and not connecting with what is in front of us. We want to put on a live event alternative that is free of distractions and where guests feel they are truly included.”
Sofar began as a low-key intimate gig in Rafe’s flat in 2009 with his friend Dave Alexander performing. They invited eight friends round to watch, something he looks back on as his “most memorable” gig. He recalls how: “The room was so quiet and everyone was so attentive, you could hear the clock ticking in the background.”
Sofar has since had over 10,000 shows and hosted household acts such as Bastille, Wolf Alice, Jessie Ware, Ed Sheeran, Hozier, Emilie Sande and Leon Bridges. Rafe believes: “Part of the beauty of Sofar is that it is open to all kinds of musicians, performers and genres. It really allows for diversity in listening and an opportunity to explore and discover something new.”
El Loftie, Assistant Director of Sofar Sounds London lays it popularity at its ability to make connections. She said: “Sofar has become a global community connecting artists and music lovers all over the world which plays a part in setting it aside from other companies”.
The location remains a secret until the day while the identity of the performers only becomes apparent when they appear on the stage. The event is BYOB which adds to the fun-anything-goes-relaxed atmosphere of Sofar Sounds. El said: “I love the tingling feeling you get at a Sofar show when you’re sitting on the floor in a secret location not knowing what you’re going to hear or if you’re even going to like it and you are absolutely blown away. It is a feeling that is hard to beat”.
Attending Sofar Sounds at Sofar’s HQ, Coate Studios, Hackney, London, brought into my life music from bands like the magnetic Leeds based pseudo country band Household Dogs. More importantly So Far Sounds is more about music than promotion of the event. As romantacised as it sounds its popularity as an event seems to have come about because the people behind it created it with a genuine wish and love of promoting great music.
Featured image by Jane Jimenez
Second image by Maren Blomstereng