As a music blogger I spend a large portion of my life going to gigs. And when I say “large portion”, I really mean every spare minute. Most people are surprised to hear that when I take a holiday, the last thing on my mind is exploring the local music scene. For me a holiday means a break from everything – home, work, hobbies and blogging.
When I’m out in the world travelling I have to remind myself the reason I see so much live music at home, and write about it, is because I love it. And if I find myself in a city or country renowned for its music scene and I don’t go and see anything, I’ll definitely regret it later. I have to make sure in between the sightseeing, relaxing, eating and drinking that I track down a music venue and catch something live and local.
That’s exactly what I did in New York, a city where there’s always too much to do, so I thought I’d share with you a couple of tips on how to get the balance of a holiday and music just right.
1. Stay Somewhere Central
This probably sounds like practical advice for any holiday to a big city but it’s even more important if you want to include music. Most cities have an area that’s particularly rich in venues (think Fortitude Valley in Brisbane or Melbourne’s inner-North) and it’s usually easily accessible from the centre of town. Lower Manhattan is a good base – you’re only a taxi or subway ride away from all the major music venues. Expedia’s Aussie travellers absolutely love New York – we usually stay for five days so it’s worth having a good base for your adventure. Check out Expedia’s New York Travel Guide for some more tips.
2. Familiarise Yourself With Local Listings
Most cities will have street press, local magazines or online listings for gigs. They won’t cover everything but there’ll be a fairly decent cross-section to work with. Time Out is usually available in most hotels. I’m pretty particular about my music. I like to try and find nights or venues that suit my tastes – Oh My Rockness is perfect for indie music lovers like me.
3. Don’t be Afraid to Ask Around
Sometimes the best gigs are the ones that aren’t advertised. Ask bartenders, hotel receptionists and wait staff where to see live music – you’ll be surprised by the recommendations. If it wasn’t for the bartender at The Gaslight in New York’s Meatpacking District, I never would have found a really cool jazz bar on the Lower East Side.