Fond of good live music but can’t stand the chaos of the crowd or the idea of going to a pub to enjoy a gig doesn’t appeal to you? Then Sofar Sounds Kathmandu is just what you need. Here you can enjoy live shows in intimate spaces that are just right for a small crowd. Currently taking place in more than 400 cities across the world, Sofar Sounds is a global movement that hosts gigs at private spaces, offices, and even retail stores.
Apart from developing compassion and mutual respect among performers, Sofar Sounds is also about promoting upcoming artists. And what originally started in London, England now runs about 500 shows every month in various cities.
“Following Sofar Sounds’ main concept of creating sounds from a room, we are also trying to create a small bubble of artists, their music, and listeners. Here they will connect closely and experience the magic of music together,” says Marta del Grandi, city coordinator of Sofar Sounds Kathmandu.
In December 2017, Sofar Sounds arrived in Kathmandu with the help of the volunteer initiative of a team driven by common cultural and artistic values. The team comprised of musicians, photographers, sound engineers, video makers, and writers. Grandi mentions that Kathmandu was chosen as one of the cities for Sofar Sounds’ performances because they saw the dire need of a different concept for live shows here in Nepal.
Sofar Sounds Kathmandu generally features three acts of different bands or singers per event. Each of them is allowed to present a short set of about 15 to 20 minutes. Any artist can apply to be a performer but he will have to give an audition before going on stage. After their act, a professional live video of their song is also produced which also functions as payment in kind. The video is then uploaded on the international Sofar Sound’s YouTube channel, which has more than 500k subscribers.
The project runs on donations by the audience that is enough to just cover the logistics and organizational costs of the events. However, they look forward to a future when they will be able to pay the people who work hard to make these events so special.
Those who are interested can also opt to organize Sofar Sounds sessions at their own place. These members are regarded as host members. All you need to do is apply through the official site where you will be required to give a brief description about your space. The authorized team of the city will then run a strict check to make sure that the space is safe and that the host is comfortable with the arrangements to be made for the shows.
Sofar Sounds Kathmandu has already organized five events in the city. Grandi recalls the first edition of Sofar Sounds Kathmandu that was staged on December 2, 2017 and featured three acts by Mi Ku, Shreeti and Friends, and Phosphenes. 100 people showed up at the event and Grandi says it was a little bit nerve wrecking because this meant a lot of responsibility for the volunteers and the audiences as well. But as soon as the artist started their performance, the scenario changed. The music, it seemed, brought people together and everything just synced.
“It was tough organizing the first event because we had to meet the quality standard as a part of an international community. We didn’t want anything to go wrong. But our fears were unfounded because the event was a success,” says Grandi.
Though the current team consists of 10 people, there was a time when more than 20 people worked on a single event. Every person was assigned individual duties to be carried out before, during, or after the shows. Some of them took care of pre-production essentials such as venue scouting, decorations, and web management, while other took cares of the logistics, safety issues, artist hospitality and recording on the event day. Then there were the ones who were responsible for the production of the videos after the show. This system is still followed today.
Currently, the team is preparing for the sixth edition of Sofar Sounds Kathmandu that is scheduled to be held in April. If you want to be a part of the event, then you can approach them through the official website of Sofar Sounds. There will be a random selection process depending on the number of people the venue can accommodate. Selected individuals will receive a email confirmation.
“We are glad that people have appreciated our previous editions. We want to maintain the same standards and for that we will work on each event as if it were our first one. We are also doing our best to try and welcome as many guests as possible,” concludes Grandi.