Weekly survey: What time should a weekday gig start?

Bands and club owners are always looking for ways to boost attendance and increase bar sales. Before the pandemic, I recall some debate about what time weekday shows (actually Sunday-Thursday) should begin. It boiled down to this:

(a) Would it be better to have start times of 7:30 or 8 to make it easier for people to come straight from work and with a reasonable end time so that everyone could get some sleep?

(b) Keep set times at the usual rock’n’roll times (i.e. later than 9:00) because that’s the rock lifestyle and bar/club owners need as many hours of bar service as possible.

I bring this up because I was at a music showcase event in Cleveland last week where everything began at either 7 or 7:30. By the time the night wrapped up around 11, five or six bands got to play. Those who wanted to go back to the hotel did while everyone who wanted to stay at the bar stuck around. I found this arrangement to be most civilized, a nice compromise for gigs on a school night. (I had work to do in the morning, so I needed to get up early.)

Where you do stand on the subject? Again, we’re talking about bar and club shows, not big concerts that already start early.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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One thought on “Weekly survey: What time should a weekday gig start?

  • Generally speaking I favor doors at 700 or 800 and shows at 800 or 900. But that’s a set show with one opener with a generally short to medium set no longer than 45 minutes with a teardown and break of no more than 30 minutes or 45 minutes so that the show itself (and this tends to be the norm where I live – we don’t have after bars open after 200am that I know of here but then again I’m old) and that makes it so the show is done by 1230am or so if it’s a full-on show. (given the later set or a longer opener etc or other variables.) If it’s in the local metro area, I get home by 100am, 130am or later if I eat or happen to find someone to chat up but plenty of time to wake up for work.

    Works for me 🙂 But it’s about ten feet from my bed to my den so it’s not a big commute and I am not a morning person anyways so regardless of whether I have a show or not – I am not awake fully for the first two hours anyways unless I wake up early (unintentionally).

    LSS: Doors 7/8, Show 8/9 Seven days a week.


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