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“Hey, come see my band at 1am on Tuesday night…”

Local live-music economies have been in a slump for a while now, and we’ve wondered before on this blog about some of the factors leading to that decline. (See “Why music venues are totally lost.”)

But Mar Sellars, in a story for CBC, offers a simple proposal to reverse the downward trend — start shows early!

Take a listen:

Seems reasonable to me. I just played a string of seven shows in a row that started at 7pm. Attendees (and musicians) could be in bed by 11pm. How sane!

The bar attached to the venue stayed open until at least 1am each night, so the drinkers could keep the party rolling and the people who needed to get up early could leave after the show ended at 10pm. In terms of revenue, the place pulled from both crowds.

This approach obviously makes sense for genres and venues that appeal to the 30+ audience, but according to Mar, even her 20-something friends are reluctant to come out on weeknights for late shows. Starting shows early might just be the thing to pump life into struggling live-music scenes.

What do you think?

Should the US and Canada learn from Europe and Japan, where there’s a longer tradition of early shows? How late is too late when it comes to weeknight start-times? How many bands should be on a weeknight bill? Does it feel weird to step on stage when the sun is still shining? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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