Leona Rajaee & Alex Penman
Song Recommendation: Community Service by Ceremony
This July, one of San Luis Obispo’s most prominent music venues, SLO Brewing Co., is set to close temporarily as it moves to a new location. While this is seemingly good news, there’s a catch — their new location will not feature live music.
We’ll surely miss SLO Brewing Co.’s live shows. The venue hosted some memorable live musicians and boasted a laid-back atmosphere which complemented San Luis Obispo’s downtown scene. So does the end of live music at SLO Brewing Co. mean the end of live music in San Luis Obispo?
We say no.
Without SLO Brewing Co., a gap in the music scene will exist. But this gap creates a great and unique opportunity for a new venue to open up — a venue San Luis Obispo might have needed all along.
In the meantime, we can use what we already have — and we’re not just talking about traditional venues. If we want San Luis Obispo’s music scene to continue thriving, we need to re-imagine what a show space can be. These days, people see their favorite musicians on rooftops, in doughnut shops and even in the middle of a desert. Even in our little city, existing venues such as Lee Golde (a boutique art gallery) and Avila Beach Golf Resort (a beachside venue) are redefining what a music venue can be.
In addition to these makeshift spaces, our music scene has the advantage of San Luis Obispo’s geographic location. Being sandwiched between the cultural hubs of Los Angeles and San Francisco serves us well when it comes to attracting talent. It’s almost become a rite of passage for touring artists traveling between the two cities to make a pit stop in San Luis Obispo.
And even if that rite of passage faded, San Luis Obispo’s abundance of local music is doing pretty well these days. We can tell because KCPR is regularly adding local bands to its rotation. From Hollow Sunshine to Pinnacle, we can be hopeful about the status of music coming out of the Central Coast.
But none of this really matters unless we get organized.
Just as San Luis Obispo’s need for a skate park was alleviated after years of hard work by the skate community, residents and city council, we need to work together for a new live music venue. With the growing popularity of music festivals, it’s obvious that live music is profitable. And beyond that, in order to really show that our city needs a new music venue, we need to support the shows that are already happening.
If we want to continue to bring the high-caliber musicians that SLO Brewing Co. brought, we need to demonstrate that demand is high. By doing so, everyone from bookers and promoters to the city will get the picture that San Luis Obispo’s live music scene really is a win-win for everybody.