Showtimes?

This is a bit of a rant.

Why do so few venues publish the stage times and curfew times of their gigs? London venues are generally good at this, but it’s a very different story out in the sticks. Does it not occur to them that some rock fans in niche genres are willing to travel significant distances by train? Knowing whether or not the show will finish before the last train home is a significant deciding factor on whether or not to attend. Even if it’s “must see” gig by a favourite band, it’s useful to know whether or not you need to book a B&B; there’s been one gig where I could have saved a lot of money if I’d known about the early curfew.

Even if most people either go by car or live close enough that a taxi home is affordable, surely every single extra punter through the door is worth it? Especially those who don’t have to drive home and might be able to spend more money at the bar?

That’s before we get to the ridiculous guessing game over whether the advertised start time is doors or the actual start of the show. Rock clubs and provincial arts centres seem to have entirely different definitions on what it means, so you either end up spending half an hour in freezing rain outside the venue, or risk missing the beginning of the show.

What does it cost venues or bands to make this information available?

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6 Responses to Showtimes?

  1. John Hunt says:

    Even in Liverpool, venues are quite vague about this. The first time I saw Amy Winehouse, I got there about 7.30pm, and she didn’t come on until almost 10pm. That might have had more to do with her requirements, though. Liverpool University is better. The acts almost always come on stage at about 9.20pm, but even then, it only has the time the doors open, printed on the ticket, so you’re never quite sure, which must be frustrating for fans travelling from further afield.

  2. Synthetase says:

    Generally speaking, tickets in Australia have a “doors open” time printed on them. That doesn’t mean they’ll follow their own advice, though. At the last Opeth gig in Melbourne, the doors opened around over an hour later than advertised on my ticket, but discussions in the line between patrons soon showed that they’d printed lots of different opening times. Mine said 7:30, someone else’s said 8:00, still another one said 8:30.

    I’ve never seen a finishing time for gigs here either, and missed the last train at least once. By a happy chance I met someone I knew at the gig and scored a lift home :)

  3. The Other Tim Hall says:

    Well, _some_ London venues do it, and those that do, do so inconsistently, and even then it’s a pretty recent trend. And you can almost always add 15mins to get the true “on stage” times.

    My slightly cynical assumption has long been that they want to get people in early to maximise the bar take.

  4. Synthetase says:

    Yeah, and to give people plenty of chances to get at the merch stand as well.

    I saw Steven Wilson last week, with no opening act, there was a good hour between doors and stage. Anyone who wanted a T-shirt (and a drink or three) got one.

  5. Tim Hall says:

    My local venue is sometimes the opposite; the opening act is sometimes on stage within minutes of the doors opening, and sometimes it can take a long time getting in especially if they’re checking IDs for age on the door.

    Occasionally for 16+ gigs with three bands on the bill you need to be in the queue well before doors open if you want to see the whole of the first band’s set.

  6. Chuk says:

    Huh, here in Vancouver most of the music shows I go to put up set times the day of the show on Twitter (sometimes the venue, sometimes the promoter), it’s often on Facebook too. Most of them are fairly accurate, and they’ll list doors, act 1, act 2, act 3. They don’t usually have an end time — they might say ‘early show’ if they’re going to have something after. I don’t recall ever seeing more than one time on the tickets or ticket orders, and that time is usually the doors open time. (Of course sometimes the times are way off, like the time a band tried to drive from Edmonton to their Vancouver show in one day, in winter…they rolled in a couple of hours late straight off the road. The singer had flown in to do an interview earlier in the day and he did a few solo songs while we waited.)