The Big Debate: Should Venues Share Set Times?

Something which is being heavily talked about amongst the music scene is whether venues should be sharing set times for gigs or not. This is after London’s 100 Club announced they would not be posting set times any longer. UK band, Slaves, also made this decision at the end of last year during their tour.

People have mixed opinions about this.

The motivation – so they say – is to get the punters turning up to see the support acts…to give them further exposure. Obviously this is a sound idea but there are many factors why this doesn’t work.

Sometimes there can be an hour wait between doors opening to the first act performing which is a long time to be waiting around. I usually attend gigs alone whether it is to review them or for leisure and for me waiting for an hour is my worst nightmare. I am an awkward being and talking to randoms is not something I am most comfortable with.

There are some people who believe that this is all a ploy from 100 Club to get them some more revenue by selling more booze. If this is the case, it is an awful motivation. In my personal experience when I’ve attended gigs recently (at other venues) the bar hasn’t been open until the gig has started. So this wouldn’t make sense.

A bigger issue surrounding this is that people need to organise transport to and from the venue. If people are travelling long distance then they need to know that they will be able to get home. I know when I’ve traveled to London (and in fact to 100 Club) set times has been key so I not only get there in time but also to see if I am able to make the last train home or if I will have to take a coach. Even when I am attending gigs in Birmingham I check out my transport before I go.

There have been many occasions which I have gone to gigs purely for the support acts. Such as Calva Louise supporting The Blinders and Free Galaxy supporting Bloody Knees. I usually end up staying for the main act anyway but it wasn’t them who gained my custom.

I honestly think not posting set times in the future may put people off from attending gigs at the 100 Club which would be such a shame because it is a brilliant venue. Since the outrage the venue has stated:

“We didn’t expect such a reaction to the statement made about no longer announcing stage times. Though there’s been a lot of support for it, it’s made other people feel angry and concerned. The sole intention was to support the supports. Nothing else. Middle ground will be sought.”

I for one completely understand their want to “support the supports” however there are other means of doing this. The venue currently doesn’t list supporting acts on their gig listing page which if they want to support these artists is the first thing they should do. But it is also the promoters’ job to – yes you guessed it – PROMOTE these artists. They should be doing their job well enough to get people to the gigs.

I think Birmingham Promoters do it so well. They’ve been the best I have come in contact with. Whenever they list events anywhere they always include the support acts. They have ads sometimes purely focused on the support acts. But also I really salute any main act who pushes their support out to their own fans. If they don’t then there really is no point in them having one.

It is going to be interesting to see what the middle ground is that 100 Club comes up with but also to see if other venues around the UK follow suit.

What are your thoughts on this?

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