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Reviving the magic of live events

Sofar Sounds, a global platform for artists turns 10 globally this May. Most cities, including Goa are participating in the celebrations by hosting artists in special locations. NT BUZZ gets you the details of these intimate shows which are becoming popular in Goa

Danuska Da Gama | NT BUZZ

Sofar Sounds is a global platform for artists, musicians (mostly), spoken word artists, stand up comedians, etc to showcase content that is original. Today, it is a community of thousands of artists, hosts, fans, and more, putting on hundreds of secret, intimate events per month, across 433 cities around the world.

In Goa, Sofar began in October 2017 and till date has had a mix of Goan, national  and international artists performing with them like Valerie D’Silva, Aviv Pereira, Madame Gandhi, MC Kaur, Neil Fernandes, Prashant Edwin, Val Shipley (of ‘Parikrama’ and  ‘Silk Route’ fame), Larry T Hill, One By Two, Mrinal Casewa, Riell, etc.

To celebrate ten glorious years, a special event is being curated on May 18 at an undisclosed location in Terekhol featuring a secret line-up of artists. “Like always it will be an intimate show which focuses on the people and the artist performing. It’s in keeping with our tagline ‘Be still and listen’,” says Chintan Shet, who oversees the marketing operations of Sofar Goa.

Talking about the popularity of this platform Shet reveals that big names, such as Ed Sheeran, Hozier, and Prateek Kuhaad started off by playing in small Sofar spaces.

“So Sofar is also instrumental in giving the artists not just an audience, but also to help showcase their music to a wider audience with their performance videos,” Chintan says.

To keep up the momentum of Sofar, one gig is organised every month where at least three artists, sometimes more, perform different genres. There is a team of nine volunteers in Goa along with the city leader Nupura Hautamaki.

However, these performances aren’t open to public. They require prior registration. “We keep the location a secret, and our gigs are small gatherings of 30 to 100 people,” shares Chintan.

The artist line-up also remains secret until the audience hears them on the day of the gig. In fact even the venue hosts and partners are kept in the dark. “The idea being that one comes for the love of music, and discovering new original music, since at Sofar gigs, only artists doing original music are invited to showcase the same,” he says.

Interested people register on the website one time and then apply individually for every gig. There is a lottery system, and thus invites are sent through email. There is a confirmation required to book a seat (with or without a plus 1) and 36 hours before the gig, the confirmed attendees are sent the address to the location.

Attendance is tracked diligently. Absentees then face difficulty in getting a seat for the next three months. “Here the idea is that an artist deserves a full audience,” Chintan explains.

He also adds that Sofar shows do not permit filming or photography during the performances, or even talking or chatting loudly, as again the idea is that the artist deserves full respect and attention of the audience. Only Sofar team members take pictures and videos which are then shared across social media platforms.

In India, all cities are volunteer cities, which means everyone in the team including the city leader, are volunteers who work to organise this.

“The concept of Sofar is also accessibility and affordability to all. Anyone can attend a Sofar show without having to spend money, though it helps when people contribute – to meet production costs and food and beverages,” Chintan informs.

From homes, to museums, to forts, Sofar has had shows at diverse venues every month, without repeating a venue for three months, so as to also showcase the diverse aspects of the city and places.

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