The idea is simple. In cities all over the world, people can sign up to attend small concerts in order to get closer and bring the intimacy back to music. Sofar Sounds is a company that operates on this premise. The day before the concert, you are sent a secret location. When you arrive, you have no idea who else will be there or who will perform. Last weekend, I decided to take a break from my typical Sunday routine of coffee shop study sessions, club meetings, and laying in bed watching Netflix, to travel to &Pizza in Center City and interact with three new bands and a plethora of Philadelphia residents.
My friend and I arrived to the pizza shop, where benches were spread across the room, pillows and blankets were placed on the floor, and young people from all over the city were bustling with energy. As the company promised, the environment was intimate. The restaurant provided free drinks and pizza, and the audience sat around a stage. The pizza was family style, so boxes of different types of artisan pizza were being passed around the room, from stranger to stranger. Neighbors, who had been strangers only moments ago, began talking about the pizza, what schools they attended, and whether or not they had been to a Sofar concert before. My friend and I found that the two people behind us were also Penn students, and we were all able to share stories about our lives on campus and found common connections and friends.
Eventually the music began, and we were able to hear acts and stories of artists who had traveled from California, Russia, and New York. They played their songs, and then re-joined the crowd to engage in conversation, answer questions, and listen to the other acts. Last weekend I was reminded that as a Penn student, I am also a resident of the city of Philadelphia. Which means that when I want to escape campus, or practice living the young professional life, I can find incredible and unique ways to do so. So, no matter where you live, I suggest that you check out to see if there is a Sofar Sounds program in your area. Find a way to make music and your connection to your city intimate again.