If you love live music, and secret concerts, you may want to know about Sofar Sounds. This global music community has been hosting ‘secret’ concerts in intimate venues for years, and in Canada, they are getting bigger than ever.

Sofar Sounds was founded back in 2009 to bring back the magic of “a live event experience” in London, England. At the time, “eight people gathered in the living room, shared a drink, and sat on the floor, attentively listening to the music.” And now, that experience is shared across Canada, and its unique venues range from private backyards to pirate ships.

In Canada, you can find Sofar Sounds shows in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa, and Calgary. And despite you never knowing who will be performing (part of the secret), Canadians are big fans, with shows selling out often.

“Shows are going very well,” said Chyna Brackeen, Regional Director of Sofar Sounds, about its Canadian concerts. “We’ve brought Calgary on board for their first shows back post-pandemic, and more than doubled the number of shows being held in Vancouver and Toronto since last year. In fact, we’re seeing tickets in Toronto sell out almost as quickly as we put them on sale! It’s been wonderful to see Sofar embraced like this in Canada.”

Brackeen stated that the rise in interest stems from people coming out of the pandemic, “people were craving authentic human connection.” Additionally, there was hesitancy going into large crowds.


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“Sofar provides a way to experience music in a more intimate manner, but our shows also foster a sense of community that allows guests to connect with both the artist and with their fellow audience members It’s also really special to be in a room where the music commands the focus – not getting the perfect Instagram video, not talking over the music, but truly engaging with the performer,” Brackeen tolc Curiocity.

Not only are the shows more intimate, the whole experience is a surprise.

The way it works is, you sign up for a show date and ‘neighbourhood.’ There are some details like if the place is private or public, if alcohol is served or your BYOB, and if there is seating provided. Otherwise, the specifics of the location are shared by email around 36 hours before the show. As for the talent, you find out when you get there.

But the surprise venues are also a huge draw.

“We just confirmed a show with a new venue in Toronto that I am really excited about – it’s on a pirate ship! Definitely not your average concert venue,” said Brackeen. “Also in Toronto, OBJX Studios is a beautifully curated space with floor to ceiling windows where you can watch the sun setting behind the artists as they play. In Vancouver, Herschel Supply Company has hosted us at several of their locations. The Fluevog Shoes store in Kits is always a hit with guests; it’s a super creative space with curvy walls and murals, and of course those amazing colorful shoes! We’re just getting things up and running again in Calgary, but held our first show at an incredible rooftop downtown, and will be hosting in a candlemaking space next month.”

In these amazing venues, each show will have two or three short sets from performers from all musical genres, and sometimes even spoken word, comedy or dance. Brackeen said that they scout talent by attending festivals, events, and open mics, but that Sofar also accepts applications from those interested in plating.

“We base our decision on an artist’s live performance and their songwriting / musicality. The fantastic thing about Sofar is that we provide opportunities for artists at all stages of their career to play with us – whether it is the first time you’ve played professionally or you’re a household name who tours throughout the year, we’re most interested in how your live performance will connect with our guests in the room. We don’t gate-keep by requiring that artists have a certain number of social media followers; we don’t care if you can sell tickets. We just want amazing performances,” Brackeen said.

In the past, some major artists have performed on Sofar stages, including a then-unknown Jack Harlow, Noah Cyrus, Leon Bridges, Billie Eilish, and even Robert Pattinson.

So yes, by attending one of your local shows, you may end up seeing the next big thing… or see someone big!

Local dates and neighbourhoods for upcoming shows are listed on their website, with tickets ranging between $20-$30.

In describing the concept, Brackeen said, “Sofar Sounds transforms unique spaces into intimate venues for music discovery, creating a space where music matters and showcasing artists from both the local community and around the globe.”

And luckily for Canada, several cities are part of these communities. So, we’ll see you on that pirate ship!