"The Bay Area music scene is dead" has become such a lazy, tired refrain these past few years that it barely even registers with me anymore -- in part because it's just so hilariously inaccurate.
Sure, it's a tough place to make it as an artist, but the Bay is still home to a staggering number of quietly thriving independent record labels, many of them putting out a near-constant stream of new music by local bands. Need proof? You could do worse than to head over to the Swedish American Hall this Sunday, Nov. 6 for the Bay Area Record Fair, known colloquially as, yes, BARF.
What began in 2014 as a simple meetup for independent record labels -- its founders, the now-defunct Professional Fans collective, were inspired by cooperation and collaboration in New York and L.A.'s indie music scenes -- has grown in its short time into quite the party.
This year's event, hosted by Father/Daughter Records, features more than 40 vendors. That includes recording studios, local record stores, gear companies, and nonprofits like Bay Area Girls Rock Camp and internet radio station BFF.fm in addition to 30-ish record labels representing the best in local hip-hop, indie-pop, punk, jazz, and everything in between (see a full list below). You can shmooze, buy records, listen to some tunes spun by local DJs, find out about job and educational opportunities, win studio time at Mission recording studio Different Fur in a raffle -- oh, and it's all free. Suffice it to say, if you're part of the inner workings of the local music industry, or you'd like to be, the BARF is a must.
And if you're just a music fan who wants to support your local, very much not dead scene? You'll probably figure out how to have an okay time too.
Bay Area Girls Rock Camp
Berkeley Public Library
Dont Look Down Records
Fat Wreck Chords
Left Hand Path
Sell The Heart