Sofar Sounds concerts began eight years ago in London and have since gone worldwide. Elliott, who formerly ran Newark’s Key Club and turned it into a regional entertainment destination, launched the series in Newark in June. Potential attendees apply for tickets and, if selected, find out the location of the concerts the day before the scheduled show.
We checked in with Elliott about how the shows are going so far, who’s showing up and what people can expect. He emphasized that for him, Sofar shows are first and foremost about the artists and the music.
Q: You now have a second Sofar Sounds event under your belt. What have you learned about producing the events since you started?
I have produced live events for 20 years, which was very helpful in the expansion of Sofar Sounds to Newark. In addition, Newark’s rich entertainment history and legacy includes Queen Latifah, Dionne Warwick and many more. Sofar Sounds provides a global outreach opportunity for participating artists in the Greater Newark region.
(Interview continues below)
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Q: How do you go about booking artists for Sofar Sounds?
Artists can submit themselves on the Sofar Sounds web site for review or email firstname.lastname@example.org. With my years of entertainment experience in the bar/restaurant and nightclub industry, I’ve produced thousands of shows and booked equally as many artists. I have an ear and appreciation for music and have even been referred to as “the Black [incarnation of] Dick Clark” of the music industry. Social media is also a big plus for finding artists.
Q: So far the shows have been R&B-focused. Is that the plan moving forward, or might other genres get in the mix?
I [actually] would not say they are R&B focused. Music is music to me–and good music is good music. There has been R&B, soul, country, jazz and opera reflected at the shows. Sofar Sounds encompasses all genres of music and Sofar Newark will be no different in its offerings to music audiences.
Q: Where have your show attendees come from and how would you describe the vibe at the shows?
Attendees of Sofar Newark have come as far as from Washington DC and New Haven–Paul Bryant Hudson of Sofar Sounds New Haven attended the second show. Among our locals we had [Newark city councilwoman] Gayle Cheneyfield Jenkins in attendance in addition to other local residents. We doubled the attendee number to about 60 people for the second show.
The crowd is diverse and comes from a wide range of age groups. Our supporters are pleasant and enthusiastic–real music lovers who attend two to three live shows a month.
Apply for tickets for the August 12th Sofar Sounds show online. Selected attendees can invite up to two plus-ones. The venue and lineup will be revealed prior to the show.
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