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Live Music Shoplifters Are Killing the Music Scene

by: Lucas Thomas/Staff Writer

Being able to watch free live music every week at Top of the Roc in Charleston is coming to an end.  People will always complain that there is nothing to do in Charleston, but when something great comes along they will not support it.  These events were called Free Music Fridays, because there was never a cover charge. The problem with “free” is that nothing is ever truly free.  The bar agreed to cover the costs of these shows with the hope of making the money back in drink sales.

Roc’s Blackfront would pay for the promotion, production and gas money for the out of town acts.  The local acts would split a tip jar that went around the audience or was placed at the front of the stage.  This can be a great combination when everyone plays there part.  The problem is when people don’t do the small things to help these “free” events make a profit.  Buy a drink.  Tip the band.  Buy a t-shirt of the band you just fell in love with.  A good business person will eventually have to stop trying events like these when the juice is no longer worth the squeeze.  Luckily, Rocs will still be having free live music once a month.  The next free music night will be December 6.

Eventually people stop doing their active part and no one makes any money. These are the people referred to as live music shoplifters.  They will claim that just being there makes them a part of the scene even though they contributed nothing to the scene other than a warm body in the crowd.  My favorite shoplifters are the one that will stand in front of a venue smoking cigarettes until a cover charge is lifted at the end of the night then they run right up to the front of the stage to enjoy the music and act like they deserve to be there.  Many times they will be friends with the band and still can not fork over the $3 cover charge for them.

I used to be a performer and would cringe at the question of, “Can you get me in past the cover?”  When you ask this question it translates to, “Watching your performance is not worth my $5.”


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