I agree with Caravan Ray. While I concede jb's point that we're doing this for ourselves and for each other first and foremost, I do think the idea of a general audience (or at least the possibility of one) is appealing. The venue for the Austin show was packed on the first night (thanks to WreckdoM headlining the night, mostly), but they didn't seem to mind us being a bunch of amateurs noodling around. It's all about the music.Caravan Ray wrote: Of the 2 SFLs Ive been to (Santa Cruz and DC) both were 'private' type affairs. Both great - but it would be good to do at least one night in a public type place if possible (I don't mind hecklers - I like them). The show Niv organised in NYC at the Sidewalk was cool.
Obviously I don't know Portland - but here in Toowoomba, there are 3 places I regularly play at open mic shows (2 pubs and a cafe) - and Im pretty sure all 3 would love to have a guaranteed crowd of about 30 eating and drinking all night. Do you have such places over there? i.e. - small venues that can only afford to pay for live music 1 or 2 nights a week - but would be happy to be offered free entertainment if you can guarantee a reasonable eating/drinking/paying crowd for them? (I assume everyone coming will be over 18, or 21 or whatever it is there?)
I don't advise trying to aggressively publicize the event or pick venues solely based on factors like foot traffic and how famous they are. Nor do I advise the opposite extreme (closed venue or private space, no audience besides the performers and their significant others). I've been to Song Fight Live events in public venues, and I've been to events at more private spaces where the audience was just Song Fighters, and I greatly prefer the public shows. My favorite SFL I've been to so far was the one in San Francisco. I remember being really trepidatious when I saw the first-night venue, which looked more like a sports bar. I was worried that the crowd wouldn't be into it, and we'd be interrupting their games, or whatever. By the time we got a few sets in, I realized how wrong I was, because the energy of the crowd (including and especially the audience members who WEREN'T there just for the event) really made all the performances shine, and it was a ton of fun!
As event organizers, the choice of venue is yours and yours alone, and you get to decide which experience you want to deliver. My opinion is my own, and it's not shared by everyone here. (Plus, I won't be going this year, which bums me out, because I've wanted to visit Portland for ages.) But that's definitely a factor to keep in mind, regardless of which type of show you're going for.