Sound & Fury

Mike Sallot
Mike Sallot

Kingston clubbing ain’t dead … it just needs a kick in the ass.

As a music critic for the Journal, I have spent many a night out on the town. I like to think this time has given me a deeper insight into what is lacking in Kingston night life. What Kingston lacks in diversity, it more than makes up for with the mediocrity of the corporate Hub clubs. During my time here, I have searched high and low for an edgy, fun and slightly deranged place to go and kick up my heels on a Thursday night.

For the most part, I have been disappointed. Put simply, the local club scene resembles the plumage of a bird I cannot bring myself to want. I remember a time not too long ago when Alfie’s had bi-monthly “Flow Fridays” featuring quality electronic artists and DJs from around the world. Old-timers have even regaled me with tales of legendary raves that used to take place in Grant Hall on a fairly regular basis. With the closure of Kingston’s only after-hours night spot last fall, the situation has never seemed more dire. Luckily, a few events seem to have sprung up out of necessity, such as CFRC’s weekly “Dance to the Underground” every Thursday at the Scherzo. While these have been encouraging and give me hope that an “underground” scene still exists in this town, the potential for more is there. People are always going to want to go out and dance. I hereby propose a remedy for the staid and dull “scene.” For your benefit, I have provided you with a how-to guide.

Step 1

What it all comes down to is putting on a party where you can get a bunch of your mates together, play some records really loudly and have a good time. When thinking of ideas or themes for your event, it is important to think about putting on the kind of event that you would want to attend yourself. What kind of music do you like? Chances are, there are more people out there looking for the same kind of entertainment.

Step 2

Find a venue or a space to hold your party. Generally, the best thing to do is to make inquiries by talking to the manager or the person in charge of bookings at local bar or club. Think of a smaller venue that does not currently have any sort of special event going on at some point during the week. Initially, you may have to settle for a less popular night of the week, like a Sunday or a Wednesday. However, if your night is a success and you can guarantee a decent turnout, someone may be willing to give you a more popular night, like a Thursday or a Friday. It is also important to work out a deal ahead of time in terms of what price you plan to charge at the door, and what portion of the proceeds you will get to keep yourself. Based on experience, you should not charge more than a few dollars at first so that people are more willing to check it out without making a significant financial investment. You really can’t expect to make much money beyond covering your initial expenditures until you build up a steady crowd.

Step 3

Secure the talent. Know anybody who likes to spin records or a band who may be willing to initially play for free? You can work out a mutually beneficial partnership, and if you have some success you may be able to book out-of-town talent and diverse acts.

Step 4

Promote the hell out of your new event. Hit up the campus and local media with a semi-legit-looking press release. Spread the word. If you are truly doing something original, you have a better chance of getting good press. Do you know any Photoshop wizards? Make up some eye-catching posters and flyers and get them out there. Try and focus on advertising in places where the kind of people you are trying to attract will see it. Don’t poster Ghetto utility poles—that’ll earn you a hefty fine.

At this point, you should call in any due favours or hit up your friends for some help. Share your vision with others and test the waters. Think of everyone you know who may be able to assist you in some way. When someone says they are going to do something for you, make sure they do it. If your first night is a success, word of mouth will spread, especially in a small place like Kingston. Like the old adage goes, “If you build it, they will come.”

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.