In late 2017 when The Juice Standard made our location in Henderson available to biz and community groups for meetings, workshops and the like, we didn’t think “the like” would mean “concert venue.” But last month it did, and it was rad; and on Feb. 9—spread out on the floor of the The Rose, with TJS sips and snacks floating by during set breaks, coordinated by TJS District Manager Amber Cariker and her team— it was thanks to two locals, some open-minded bees, a international music movement, and us (whee!) that TJS hosted an excitingly enigmatic event that was part of the Sofar Sounds movement.
Now, we could call a lot of things a “movement” and be way off the mark, but not when it comes to this group. Sofar Sounds (or just “Sofar”…which, thankfully, is how the group self-refers since it’s weirdly easier to say and type) is an immensely collaborative, nurturing and yet intense string of shows that unfold all over the globe—super-secret like—with a goal of introducing listeners to music they might not never hear otherwise…and, to introduce listeners to one another.
The process goes down like this:
- Dates for shows are pre-announced on the Sofar website to pique interest.
- Folks apply for free tix to a show they know nothing about but their feels tell them it’s a good idea.
- The day before showtime, the concert’s location is announced and folks are emailed whether they’ve won the musical lottery, of sorts, to have the privilege of buying tix to hear three unknowns play a four-song set, in a space that could be someone’s palatial back yard or their palatial back hall.
Sofar concerts go up from London to Barcelona and countless places in between: more than 400 shows happen a day, and rumor has it New York hosts a concert a night. While Las Vegas is a relative newbie to the Sofar team, since November 2016, the Valley has been hosting more and more Sofar shows and has a promising future thanks to the women who help it run.
“I think what Sofar does, in general, is promote a safe environment to be a participant of this global movement,” says Anna Karabachev, a Las Vegas attorney by day and fervent (volunteer!) supporter of music, of meeting people and of wholehearted, experiential living. “With the tiny connections and the pockets of people you meet, each time [you attend a Sofar] you’re trusting the process of getting to listen to this music.”
Karabachev and her co-Las Vegas coordinator Molly Higgins are responsible for the back-end machinations that help a Sofar fly. With only a handful of volunteers—fewer than 10 folks help set up the show at The Juice Standard—sound, lighting and staging comes together in venues that literally have ranged from someone’s field to someone’s living room…from the floors of antique stores to—yep: a cold-pressed juicery.
Karabachev is thoughtful as she shares what has to float her boat enough about a space to allow it to make the Sofar cut. “The reason I choose a venue…there’s just an understanding of a Sofar, and I think that’s very important.” Having met Amber Cariker at a decidedly un-Sofar event—they were building bee boxes with popsicle sticks at a sort of bee-MeetUp—Karabachev says Cariker deeply got the Sofar vibe and was equally able to transmit her positive energy for TJS and all our brand stands for: quality, WHealth™; education; connection; high standards; and service to all.
Then, all of a sudden, someone’s need for a space (Sofar’s) was satisfied by someone who had a space to lend (yours truly).
“The way [Amber] spoke about the business and the juice…it wasn’t just a business to her, it’s a lifestyle and a cause,” says Karabachev. “I didn’t even have to see the space. I just liked her, and I trusted her.”
Before that Friday night show, Sofar Soldout of tix and filled TJS to capacity to hear Elmer Abapo from Las Vegas; Dan Shaw and Eden Michelle from Johannesburg, South Africa (and who play in London); and the band Harpers from Provo, Utah. “It was a perfect location,” says Karabachev, noting that in addition to the stellar tunes wafting through the air, something else wowed guests that night.
“One difference that we hadn’t expected was the staff,” she says. “We don’t ask [hosts] to put themselves out. We don’t have food. But we took three breaks, and in between, there were TJS snacks and trays of juice. We’re talking every time I looked around, everyone had a different snack….
“It was a very special thing for TJS to do,” she continued, “and everyone cared very much about the production. Amber made a speech about the process of making juice, the bees….I think it felt exactly like a Sofar.”
In a turvy world that can feel more half empty than full if we’re not careful, the Sofar model breeds trust, connection and a belief that the unknown can be—and very likely will be—wonderful. With the credo, “Bee still and listen” (Fine: It’s “be.”), Sofar events curate an atmosphere that invokes pure music, pure respect for others and trust. Trust to invite strangers into your home; trust that, as a musician, your art will be received kindly; and trust in the kindness of others to work together for a group’s overall enjoyment.