Sports bars, lounges breathing new life into live music
Restaurants, bars and lounges are beginning to offer more than just a spot to have dinner and drinks. However, over the past few months, these 'chill spots' have begun to breathe new life into the live entertainment scene by offering a midweek entertainment package that has been evolving with time.
It is not a new phenomenon for hang-outs to incorporate live music into their entertainment package, but in recent times, the number of spots offering live music to patrons has been on the decrease. According to a few marketing consultants to whom The Gleaner spoke, the latter was one of the main reasons they decided to use their establishments as live music venues.
Lauren Mahfood, marketing and events coordinator at 100, where their 100 Live series are held each week, told The Gleaner that 100 had to find a way to be a part of the live music rebirth, as it is important to keep the tradition alive.
"We wanted to give patrons who enjoy live music that opportunity to do so in a relaxed, chill setting," she said. "It is important that as a country where music is such a vital part of our culture, that we keep live music going. 100 recognised that importance and also the importance of showcasing new talent, that we had to do something."
Mahfood went on to explain that they decided on a live music series to also give up-and-coming entertainers a platform to showcase their talent, as there is a lot of talent in Jamaica that goes unrecognised because the artistes have too little space to showcase that talent.
"We want to be a big part of putting people out there and highlighting what Jamaica has to offer," she said. "We are a talented people and some people just need a platform. We just want to be a hope for the many talented people who aren't getting enough chances to shine through."
Aside from showcasing new talent, Mahfood revealed that each week, they have an established act as the main performer for the night, pointing out that it is important for these artistes to keep in touch with their fans in an intimate setting.
Matthew Hann, marketing administrator at Regency Bar and Lounge at the Terra Nova Hotel, where Jazz After Dark is held each Wednesday, agreed.
While he pointed out that their event is a little more on the classic side, Hann echoed sentiments shared by Mahfood.
"We are in a day and age where it's easy for persons to hide behind a studio. Live music is raw, it's room for error but through room for error, you have an opportunity to get better as an artiste," he said. "Week after week, our brand grows and it shows. The growth of the product is testament to how well live music is doing right now. People come out in their numbers to laugh, dance, sing along, and that is something you can never get in a studio or even at a big event. You get a genuine connection at live events," he said.