Banning stage times: condescendence or just naivety?

The 100 Club in London kicked up a bit of a fuss online this week, stating that they won’t be publishing stage times anymore in a bid to get everyone in earlier to watch the supports. 

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Either The 100 Club’s marketing team knew this would happen and it’s a stroke of genius – or they were incredibly naive to think that there would be no kickback from their (now deleted) tweet yesterday (11th February), proclaiming that they wouldn’t be sharing stage times anymore. While their intentions may have been good, their execution was rather shoddy.

They’ve since published a response on Twitter, claiming that they’ll find some middle ground.

It’s no secret that the majority of paying customers would like to know who’s playing, and when. This tends to be for reasons like public transport, accessibility and whether they have time to go home after work or have to go straight there.

People aren’t necessarily avoiding landing at venues at 7pm because they don’t want to see the supports, and it’s quite insulting and very naive to think they are.

Stage times – a recent trend?

Royal Tunbridge duo Slaves became the first ‘mainstream’ act to kick against the establishment with a tweet back in November.

Let’s be clear on one thing: venues publishing stage times is very much a recent revelation. By recent, I don’t mean in the last few weeks, I mean more so in the current decade – and that’s stemmed from platforms like Facebook and Twitter being an instant source of news. 

Attention spans are shorter in current times and people want everything a lot quicker. But fundamentally, they also want to know whether they can get the last train home, whether they need to book a taxi, or whether they can’t go at all. That’s just facts.

We know stage times weren’t really a thing in the 90s. We also know that everyone knows what time doors open and to an extent, what time the curfew is. But why treat your customers with such contempt to think that they’re only turning up at 9pm because they’re not interested in supporting new music?

Technology and times have moved on, and now that people can now find what they need in seconds, it’s not exactly too much to ask for venues to share stage times.

Here’s the funny bit! The type of music venue this is likely to apply to is basement bars with a good mix of new local and national talent on show. Is it not offensive to your indie venue clientele to then presume that they’re not interested in supporting new bands just because they’re not turning up at 7pm?

Isn’t that what they’re already doing when they buy a ticket?

And another thing…

Venues aren’t helping anyone when they don’t announce the supports either. Why should they expect people to turn up when they don’t even know who’s playing? 

Just for clarity, we’re talking more about independent venues than the big-hitter arenas, because you know, people queue outside in the cold from 5am to get to the barrier there.

A little helping hand from venues could go a long way here, rather than keeping everyone guessing and alienating your customers to the point where they just won’t bother if they don’t know whether they can make it on time or even get home.

Some simple common sense is needed here in an issue which is clearly quite heated.

Richard Franks

Editor and founder of Counteract, freelance music, lifestyle and travel writer + social media manager. Big fan of discovering new music + online trends.