I went to San Francisco initially to spend some time living in the US with my partner Fuko. In addition to always having an interest in the Bay Area (who doesn’t?), I was lucky enough to secure some research work there for a long term project.
As usual, I was on the hunt for some side projects to work on and after not too long, The opportunity arose to work with the San Francisco Music Alliance.
The mandate of SFMA is to promote vibrancy in the foggy city’s music scene – engaging with venues to ensure the health and longevity of such an influential part of American cultural antiquity.
I’ve always been attracted to San Francisco, it’s been the breeding ground for so many scenes I’ve been interested in over different periods of my life – well… music, booze, coffee, design and even the techy stuff too, to some extent.
Since I grew up listening to a lot of punk rock, a stack of the bands I prized in my teens were from the Bay Area. What I didn’t realise was the extent other genres were thriving in the 7x7 too. I knew about the hippie scene, Haight-Ashbury etc.. but I had no idea about the influence of the Fillmore Jazz scene or the grass roots hip-hop movements.
The sheer volume of music available daily was staggering to me – not just like the local blues night Tuesdays I’ve been used to living in a smaller town… I mean big bands, almost daily.
Some of the venues I was able to visit included the Fox Theatre, The Rickshaw Stop, Bottom of the Hill and The Mezzanine. We were even lucky enough to spend a day at Stern Grove! It was easy to feel the history and the energy that had been stored in these magical places.
The brief: come up with a way to demonstrate SF’s broad music culture collaborating with writers and local stakeholders to demonstrate the impact and promote the availability of live music in San Francisco.
Music in SF gave me a place to go when I didn't really know anyone. It was a welcoming experience to have something be available for me; a place to go. In the Bay, it’s not a daunting thing to go to a show by yourself, in fact it's a place to feel comfortable and enjoy music purely for music’s sake.
The map will be distributed throughout music venues in SF. Thanks to the SF music alliance – particularly Joe, Maggie and Ben who made this all a pleasant experience for me and welcomed me with open arms (literally).
San Francisco, I'm sure we'll cross paths again soon...