If you’re looking for a new gathering of musicians, artists, and other industry folks, the Orange County Music League has some good news for you. Starting tonight (June 8), the OCML will be hosting a weekly event series called the Music Lounge for exactly that purpose.
“Our vision of this event is to promote coming out and meeting new people,” says one of the event’s founders, Chad Martinez. “It’ll be networking for everyone in that local scene — whether you’re a painter, graphic designer, musician, booking agent, venue owner, whatever you do. It’s about bringing that community together and showing what you can do for that community. Basically, we want as many people there as possible to create more opportunities for everyone.”
But rather than simply promoting the event as an opportunity for industry networking, Martinez and his partner are committing to make the Music Lounge a Thursday night destination by bringing in a respected local band each week and keeping the performers a secret all the way until they take the stage. That way, not only can the Music Lounge serve every role and corner of the industry, but it’ll also give every attendee the opportunity to see either a band they already know and love or one they should get to know.
“Rather than people just coming out for a band, we want people to come out and have a good time while meeting new people,” Martinez says. “We want it to be the place where you can go on a Thursday night and know there will be people there to meet and connect with, and then you’ll have the mystery band there too. It might be a whole new band you’ve never seen before, or it’ll be a band that you already listen to. It’s very important that we make sure there’s a great band there every week, or else it won’t work.”
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Aside from each local band performing live every week, the playlist before and after the set every Thursday at La Cave in Costa Mesa will be filled with other artists from OC and LA. Keeping true to the second half of the Music Lounge’s name, the event begins after the venue’s restaurant portion shuts down at 10 p.m., with the music beginning an hour later. Although a late Thursday night out may seem daunting for some, Martinez is tired of seeing attendees leave a show after the band they wanted to see is done, and he’s hopeful that folks will stick around for the bulk of the evening week after week.
“I’ve been seeing too many people just going out to see a single band, and — whether it’s the band or the fans — everyone just leaves right after the set is done rather than sticking around to see the other bands or networking with people at the event,” Martinez says. “We want people to be able to connect and not just come for the show and then leave. We want it to be a night where you can just hang out and chit chat. There really hasn’t been a spot where people could come out to network, so that was really the inspiration for the event.”
Beginning with next week, Martinez and the rest of the OCML will leave a subtle hint as to who the mystery band is for each show. Although it likely won’t be enough for someone who doesn’t listen to the band, Martinez is hoping that a little clue will drum up some intrigue and commotion for each of the free events. After all, the goal is just to get as many creatives and industry folks as can fit in the room together in an effort to grow as big of a local network as possible.
“I hope everyone goes home with a new business connection, a new gig, or possibly a new job opportunity,” Martinez says. “If not that, then at least they had the opportunity to see a new band that they’ve never heard before and will be able to take that home.”