Seeking out alternative and unusual concert venues can be a great way to reach a new audience

What kinds of venue attract audiences?

Presenting site specific work, outdoor concerts or concert walks with contemporary music can add an extra level to the audience experience.

The classical concert hall is like a museum, usually built ages ago, and seen by many as a dusty exhibition hall where old works are displayed as in a glass case. Concert halls scare the audience away, and this problem is particularly painful for contemporary music that was never written for the old concert halls anyway.

This is why many contemporary music ensembles are busy to get out of the concert hall. Contemporary concerts are increasingly played in old industrial buildings, in the streets, in department stores and other places that are not reminiscent of another time. 

Looking for new venues is also about meeting a new audience where the audience happens to be located. A lot of contemporary pieces do, for example, mix well with both techno and other underground genres, and several ensembles have had the idea of playing hard core concerts late at night for a young audience at nightclubs. And if you want to attract the audience that loves theatre but haven’t discovered contemporary music yet – well, perhaps you should find a theatre to play in.

During the NewAud project, the ensembles involved have explored the potential and challenges involved when ditching the concert hall in favour of unusual venues.