After going to shows for several years, about 6 or 7, I’ve come to notice a few things. From traveling to different states and settings for shows, I’ve concluded that hardcore is the same just about wherever you go when it comes to who is running/promoting the show. I’ve grown more partial towards shows controlled by kids in the scene at a venue that isn’t commercialized (a.k.a. “D.I.Y.”, “Do It Yourself”).
The motive behind putting on a show for a DIY kid is for the love of the music and to support bands. Money is the driving force for other promoters. A majority of the DIY promoters have been in bands or worked closely with them. This give them the understanding of being a band playing a show. Other promoters typically don’t care about the bands, but more about the size of their wallets once the show is over. Hardcore bands are aware that there isn’t much, if any, money in writing and playing the music they love. Passion is what motivates them. Any money that they can make off of a show normally goes towards travel expenses, merch, and recording. DIY promoters do the best they can to give bands enough and a little more to make the show worthwhile. I’ve heard of a non-DIY venue in the central Pennsylvania area forcing bands to pay to play if they don’t sell enough tickets. The same venue also makes bands do an inventory of their merch before and after the show, taking a percentage of the sales. What fucking horseshit! Non-DIY venues charge more per entry to accommodate for security (which is a topic I will get to in a second), sound techs, bartenders, and doormans’ pay. So how much of the money made in ticket sales do you think the bands really get in a place like that?
As of recently, security at shows has been a large conversation piece in the PAHC scene. Two venues in particular that I have been to within the past few months have had issues with controlling what goes down at their shows. At both places an outside company or group of guys were hired to run security. Both shows ended up with fights between my friends/acquaintances and security with them getting kicked out, and no refund. One was with cops getting called and them being arrested. The situation with the police getting involved WAS in the venue’s hands and not the promoter’s, however. Personally, I feel that shows with hardcore kids running security is a lot more successful than shows ran with hired security. Generally someone attending a show is going to respect a friend or acquaintance doing security over a ‘roid-raging meathead who doesn’t like or understand what goes down at a hardcore show. DIY venues, I have noticed, don’t have as many fights because security doesn’t overreact and put someone in handcuffs for a misunderstanding that could have been resolved verbally. There is a mutual respect at DIY venues. This respect extends itself to the promoters, show-goers, and bands. Barricades are not needed between the band and crowd. This along with no asshole bouncers creates an all around better and more intimate atmosphere. One can relax and enjoy the therapy a good show gives without needless distractions.
So moral of the story is: choose a DIY show and venue and support real hardcore. Avoid empty pockets and run-ins with security guards trying to beat you up for “dancing too hard”. This is our scene. Thanks for reading!