Before he was winning Juno awards and playing sold-out shows at Massey Hall, Vancouver musician Dan Mangan played a lot of crappy shows. But he also found himself playing the occasional private show in someone’s living room, and realized performing to 30 hardcore fans in someone’s house was far more rewarding than 30 people in a 300-capacity club.
“I’d play to the same amount of people, 20 or 30 people, but somehow I’d end up making $500 or $600 and selling a million CDs, and it was just a far more valuable return on my energy and the emotional investment in what I was doing. And I remember thinking ‘Why isn’t there something that connects the type of people that want to host these things with artists everywhere that are dying for gigs?'”
Music fan? Wanna shake things up this Summer? Sign up to be a @sidedooraccess host. All you need is a venue that holds at least 20. Could be an old church, a community centre, your grandpa’s barn. Host meaningful, memorable shows for your friends, family and fans. It’s free!
— Jonathan Torrens (@TorrensJonathan) July 10, 2019
On the other side of the country, Halifax-based music industry professional Laura Simpson was working with touring artists, hosting a successful house concert series and conceiving of how to make it easier for artists to play live. Inevitably Laura and Dan’s shared interest and philosophy brought them together as co-founders in Side Door, which now boasts nearly 1,600 artists and 600 hosts on the platform.