Somewhere in Dublin, CA
Containing the cities of Pleasanton, San Ramon, Livermore, Dublin and Danville, the
Tri-Valley is a massive region located in the Bay Area. With such a massive population many have asked the question, why are there so few music venues? …If any for that matter…
In this article I am going to offer my thoughts as to why there are not a lot of venues in this area, but I want to begin by pointing out there is no definite reason. I think there are multiple reasons and people can make the case for more than one. After connecting and meeting some musicians from this area over the years, I do not think that it because there are no musical acts in the area.
There is definitely a desire for more music venues and a chance for up and coming bands to play shows. Most of the time the only option is to play in major cities like San Francisco and Oakland. Those cities already have a large amount of bands competing to play the venues available to them, so for a band in the Tri-Valley you are already facing a real uphill battle when it comes to getting a show.
One reason as to why there are not many music venues in the Tri-Valley Area is quite simple to point out, and that is that it is an expensive area to live in. Property values are ridiculously high and leases are set at such a high rate that turnover is extremely high. If you were to open a venue in one of these cities you would need to be booking shows where you are constantly getting a return, because once your expenses start overshadowing your profits, you are pretty much toast.
I am a resident of San Ramon and have seen over the last seventeen years living here numerous businesses go under due to the rise in rents. At one time San Ramon had a Warehouse Records, however, with economic factors like Amazon and iTunes along with the lease in the shopping center going up, they were not able to survive. Another interesting point to bring up about the shopping center where Warehouse Records was located in, is that for years numbers business have come and gone with the only main staple being Starbucks and Petco.
Another reason why cities in the Tri-Valley do not have music venues is that the people who run these cities are corrupt pieces of human garbage only willing to okay development projects for new homes and apartments. Yes, supply and demand would say that with people wanting to live in the area you will have a need for housing, but I tend to notice the amount of new developments is ludicrous. In the end, you know these city council members are getting kickbacks from the developers. I look at Dublin and can tell that the city council is addicted to the offers made by major developers, because over half that city is and endless sea of apartments and condos!
The final reason as to why there are so few music venues in the region is that people create this preconceived notion that having a music venue will bring out trouble. These cities want to portrait a certain image and you know hosting potential punk, metal and rock shows might challenge their perfect little world. This is what sort of happened to the Cactus Club in San Jose, CA. I watched a documentary about this historic music venue and one reason why it was struggling in the end was that the city felt like troublemakers were coming through due to the music venue.
This is a sad misconception, because if we really stop and think about it, a music venue can take kids with nothing to do off the streets and give them an environment to feel safe in. Having kids on the streets with nothing to do actually increase the chances of crime and dangerous behavior. I have always felt like the argument that a music venue would create more crime is just pure ignorance. Crime and the history of why crime increases is more complex and cities should think about that before making weak accusations against music venues.
In the end, I write this article with the hope of getting more people to become aware of the insufficient number of the music venues in the Tri-Valley. I hope to also inspire people to take action and come up with solutions to this problem. Of course, it will require tackling difficult factors such as the economic factor and the city council factor, but if people are passionate about live music I believe the fight may be worth it. I am optimistic and hope that we can getting something going, so please either share this article, or reach out through the R & R Rocks Facebook Page and see how you can help spread the word about the fight to build a strong music scene in this area.
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