With a presence in 327 cities, Sofar Sounds’ not-so-secret society lets music lovers discover emerging local and national voices.
What do Twilight leading vampire Robert Pattinson, the electropop duo Sylvan Esso, and indie rocker James Bay have in common? Before they were recognizable names, they all performed for intimate crowds in living rooms. This is the gist of Sofar Sounds, which debuted in London circa 2010 and has since become a global phenomenon, currently producing four shows a month in Miami (and aiming for 10 in 2018).
So how do you get in? First, you apply for tickets through the website (for each event, tickets are distributed via a drawing, and the number of guests allowed in depends on the size of the venue). If you’re chosen, you’ll be notified of the secret location the day before the show. Previous local jams have been held at Tropical Vinyasa, at Vinos in the Grove, and even in a Brickell City Centre residence. Upon arrival, you’ll be informed of three simple rules: listen (like, really listen)—that means no talking during the performance and absolutely no texting (rule number two)—and stay for all three acts (selected from a roster of local and national musicians).
The gatherings—which, by the way, are Byob—draw an eclectic and unpredictable audience of audiophiles in search of new sounds and artists who are eager to share their music while practicing the craft of performing on a stage. Who knows? Maybe one day you’ll be able to say you saw the next Prince perform live just a few feet away from you. Perhaps even in the comfort of your own living room (yes, you can also apply to be a host). sofarsounds.com
left: Sofilla and her band play a Sofar Sounds show at Daza Records in front of a mural by Odobostudio and Mutavision. right: Sofar Miami alumna artist Jahzel Dotel. bottom: Miami musician Gene Paul thanks the Sofar Sounds crowd for its support.