By Kieran Webber
This is something that has bugged me for a while now and I think it is time I get this off my chest. People in Newquay need to learn to pay for live music. There I said it. I know some people may snub at this comment and feel that because they live somewhere means that they should be allowed entrance for free, simply based on the fact you live in the town. It’s madness. Imagine if cities like Bristol, Brighton or even London had that attitude? There would be no live music scene of any kind, in fact any creative outlet would cease to be!
So why is it people of this town feel that they are entitled to free entertainment? Why is that they feel that they don’t need to support the local music scene or venues? I am sure there are some valid reasons, one of them being money. It is no secret that Cornwall is in a lower economic state than the rest of the country and that work, especially during the winter can be scarce, however, most people still find money for the beer that they drink on a night out and the filth kebab from Central Grill. So what exactly is it about entry fee’s that put so many people off?
Growing up in Newquay there are two sentences that I hear often and that is “There is nothing to do in this shit town” and “They are charging on the door? Fuck that then”. Which is literally a paradox, how are businesses supposed to stay open and continue if the punter isn’t willing to pay on the door? How can we expect bands that we all enjoy to travel down here without pay? If the venue can’t pay the band then the band simply won’t and shouldn’t come down to play.
During the winter last year I worked at Whiskers, one of Newquay’s prime venues, and was on the front lines of this strange attitude, constantly they tried their hardest to put on interesting and exciting acts for people to enjoy. Admittedly there was a little too much gypsy swing music for my own personal taste, but it did pull in the crowd (sometimes). Even with a limited budget they were able to persuade bands from Bristol and afar to come to our humble little town and play to us. The venue wanted to book bigger acts and could have easily if they were able to ticket the event, but due to previous attempts they were not willing to book the band and risk low ticket sales. Again, without ticket sales the payment of the band falls onto the venue directly, which is not fair.
As locals we have an obligation to make our town better, to ensure that even during the bleakest of winter days that there is some form of entertainment happening in the evening, but we must be willing to pay for it. Newquay has the crowd, and bars/venues ready to go, it’s just a matter of changing the townships attitude.
I firmly beleive that now, more than ever, we need to support bars, pubs and live music venues as up and down the country we are losing them at an alarming rate to property development, gentrification and ridiculous laws. The more of us that support grass roots music venues, the less likely we are to lose them. Right now the Thekla in Bristol is fighting for its survival due to rich yuppies wanting to squeeze the culture out of cities and towns for the pursuit of profit.
So for the love of god, next time you see a ticketed event please don’t shy away from it or snub your nose at it, fish deep into your pockets and pay what is normally the price of one beer. Surely a band/DJ is worth the price of a pint?