Building a community, one live music event at a time

Building an online music community through a real-world showcase.

Credit: Gina-Lily D’Attilio

Vancouver’s Gina-Lily D’Attilio built a music community online with a real-world showcase. Here’s how

Vancouver is full of innovative projects using art and technology to build and promote communities. Following my previous post on Vancouver City Limits (which has since moved from the Beaumont Stage to the Railway Club), I contacted a similar-minded singer-songwriter to ask about her strategy.

Gina-Lily D’Attilio is the founder of Solace Music Nation (website forthcoming), a community of local independent musicians whose goal is to host music events around Vancouver. In Gina-Lily’s words:

There are so many talented musicians in out there, and it’s our mission to seek them out and bring these all together in one place to share their music.

In the spirit of the Hotel Café in California, Solace Music Nation blends online social networking with an ongoing, real-world music showcase.

Gina-Lily has been busy on tour in London, UK, but is returning home September 7 for her show at The Tipper restaurant.

Gina-Lily’s picks

Links to Gina-Lily’s music groups:

•    Facebook

•    Twitter

•    Youtube

•    Solace Music Nation website (in development)

•    Qik

•    Meetup

Online communities Gina-Lily recommends:

•    Music BC

•    Band Mix

•    Qik

•    Vancouver Get Off The Internet

•    Meetup


Come out for Solace Music Nation’s weekly live music showcase at The Tipper from 8–11:30 p.m. every Monday night.

Or listen in on CJSF 90.1 FM

Here, she offers tips for other arts-focused community builders:


Find a friendly venue

“We shared our vision [with Tipper owner Colin Shandler] and it was clear that Colin, while not an artist himself, really wanted to support and facilitate the arts. He was keen for whatever I was up for creating.”


Start small

“It started small: one venue, five musicians every week. No cover songs, all originals and a full set: no three-song open mic stuff. I really wanted these new artists to get a sense of what it’s like to be on stage in a supportive environment.”


Go virtual

“I thought, we should have a website. And then I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if we could have a lineup around the corner every week, like they do at the Hotel Café in California?”


Learn to love your computer—but not too much

“I wouldn’t have expanded my database of musicians so quickly if it weren’t for online networks. But, at the same time, I find Facebook, Meetup, Myspace and such unreliable for actually getting folks out of the house. I haven’t found these sites to be substitutes for old-fashioned, sleeves rolled-up networking, but rather a great expansion of what’s possible.


Recognize the challenges

“As with any ‘from dream to reality’ journey (mine anyway) there are always a million details I haven’t thought of. Like the location of the venue being difficult for people without cars to get to; finding enough musicians every week who actually show up to play; and finding people who are itching to come out and listen to live music on a Monday night.”


Stay positive

“We were working with another venue for Thursday nights, but they felt the night was building too slowly and had other offers, so they cancelled us. Sometimes I forget that the sad truth (or maybe not so sad, just the truth) of it is that there is a bottom line: we have to generate the income for the venues or they will sack us. At the end of the day, everyone needs to be paid.”


Keep networking!

“We are partnering with Jules, at Listen Lady Blues, to bring Vancouver listeners featured live recordings from Solace Music Nation on CJSF 90.1 FM. We’re also always looking for musicians or great venues to connect with, so let us know!”


Have you been to a Solace Music Nation live music event? Share about your experience below!