Public Venues vs. Private Events
Updated: Jan 3, 2020
I’m sometimes asked which I like better: playing in venues that are open to the public, or playing for private events.
It’s not a simple question.
To me, playing in public venues is fun precisely because there is no restriction (other than age, in some settings) on who can be there. Anyone can walk in, so there’s a bit of randomness to it. It’s a chance to reach new people, make unexpected friends, and branch out into the community.
Customers in such places are there, usually, because they’re out to enjoy themselves, and it’s fun to contribute to making that happen. From a business perspective, public settings are an opportunity for us to show a club owner that we can bring in a crowd – the surest way for us to get booked again.
Private functions, however, have their own charms. Weddings, birthday parties and other celebrations are special events by definition. Fundraisers and other charitable events have an air of goodwill and noble purpose about them.
With both kinds of events, people are there because they are supportive of something that’s special to them, and the event is something they feel personally good about. Playing music at such gatherings, then, has a certain kind of joy about it, and people in attendance are usually very appreciative of the contribution the music makes to the occasion.
So which do I like better? You knew I was going to say it, didn't you: I like them both, for different reasons. And in fact, it's nice to do both, rather than just one or the other. Keeps things interesting!