Not sure what shows to attend in 2013? Free Concerts St. Louis’ calendar is a great resource.

I have a certain affinity for local music. As an artist myself, I began playing shows when I was in high school, and quickly realized that there was something very sweet about the setting of a concert venue. It’s an atmosphere of community, where we can gather and spend time with one another; eating, drinking, conversing. I love the atmosphere that local music provides.

However, for me, two problems quickly arise. The first is the overwhelming number of people trying to make music on the local level. There are so many bands out there, spanning so many genres and sub-genres and genre fusions. The amount of time that it would take to explore these bands would be more than anyone can spare. I also need direction. Choosing which band to go see on Friday night can go humorously awry if and when that band you’ve never heard of turns out to be some high school kid poorly playing three chords and crying on stage, overcome by their unbridled emotion (if I had a nickel for every time that happened…) With the loss of precious time being a considerable concern, the pursuit of local music can be daunting.

The second problem for me is that concerts cost money. This goes without saying, but the cost of pursuing local music has been burdensome for me for quite some time. With local venues charging anywhere from $10-25 a show, and with many of us purchasing admission for ourselves and a date, the cost compiles quickly. I’ve oftentimes had to choose between two shows in a weekend, simply because I couldn’t justify paying for them. The looming cost can drive prospective concert-goers away pretty quickly.

Luckily, here in St. Louis there is some great local music being made available through free concert venues on a fairly regular basis. It’s somewhat of a phenomenon that I haven’t experienced in the other cities I have lived in. These venues typically host vetted and experienced local musicians that are masters at their crafts. Concert-goers can develop a better understanding of their palate, become acquainted with a wide variety of local artists, and not have to commit a dime to the “treasure hunt” that is concert-going. It’s an ideal situation, and luckily, we here in St. Louis have world class local talent available to us for free. I say we take advantage.