Ever hit up that low-key, oh so hip music venue, and wish you could have a cozy indie nook to one day call your own? A place just well known enough to bring in the desirables, but forgettable enough to keep out the mainstream. Well shoe-gazer, wipe that hair out of your face, and listen up, because here are three things you’ll need to know to start your own indie scene: Who Cares? The "not trying" mentality has long been a staple of cool hangouts. Therefore, whatever space you choose should reflect a vibe of "not caring." Your venue should appear like it is not meant to host music performances, as the desired sentiment should be one of illegality and counterculture, as this environment will heighten the liberating effects music can often have. String up some Christmas lights in an ex-bowling alley, or barbershop, and that should set a lackadaisical mood. But don't "not care" so much that your building fails fire code inspection and audience members get rashes.
Care enough to provide bands of all polish a shab-hole with great acoustics to either increase or reestablish indie cred. All in a Name Next, name your space something that hides the fact your venue actually hosts music. Remember, the more unknown, the better. The Smell, Mr. T’s Bowl, and Spaceland are already taken, so pick something just as vague, coy, and somewhat silly. Remember, your average scenester appreciates childhood, so don’t be afraid to invoke nostalgia. Imagine your club’s name on the lips of a hipster, as she plans her weekend: "Sup Sha-Sha, you down to hit up the Barnacle?" is a good start, but "Nah, Camilla, I’d rather check out Luftwaffles" is better.
Scum Theme As previously mentioned, you’ll want to have your place be a certain amount of trashy. It’s time to decide what “scum theme” you want to go with. A late 70s, glam rock era New York scummy, or a grunge era Seattle junky bar scummy. Remember, details are everything. Here’s a tip: if you want to give your venue that gritty, “just been died in” feel, draw chalk outlines of bodies on the ground. Also, hire some stuntmen off of Craigslist to choregraph a bar fight, and have them break stools over one another during cheap beer night. Fights during musical performances can be quite a show, and excite scenesters into repeat visits, not to mention free word of mouth advertising.
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