2017 Annual Gig Report

I should have done this at the end of 40 gigs really. The year in gig. In statistics.

I’m a geek at heart, I love a stat so I have finally gotten round to crunching some numbers and compiling an annual report of the year 2017. That was the year of 40 gigs. The year I set myself the challenge to attend 40 gigs to celebrate my 40th birthday that year. To think I thought that would be hard!

Gigs attended: 51

By location: 41 of those (80%) were in Bristol, 3 in London, 2 in Manchester, 1 each in Liverpool, Plymouth, Sheffield, Oxford and a forest outside Tetbury. Other than Plymouth and the forest I’d seen gigs in these places before.

By venue: 28 different venues were visited, Colston Hall/The Lantern were most visited with 25% of all gigs taking place there and a further 10% at St George’s. Most of them were my first visit to the venue, even the ones in Bristol. I discovered gems like The Exchange and the Folk House this way.

By artist: I saw Starsailor 4 times, Elbow 3 times and C Duncan and Winter Mountain twice each, leaving 40 other artists or bands seen. 24 of them were artists I’d not heard of before buying the ticket (47%), I took a lot of risks!

By month:  Jan 0, Feb 4, March 7, April 3, May 4, June 8, July 1, August 2, Sept 4, Oct 9, Nov 6 and Dec 3. This makes an average of 4.25 gigs per month, or 0.98 gigs per week or a gig roughly every 7 days. October, June and March accounted for almost half all the gigs (47%) and January was the only month to see no gig action.

By payment type: 4 were free, 7 given as gifts, 5 guest lists, 7 photo passes and 1 competition win meant that a whopping 47% were paid for by someone else. When you add the money I was given as birthday/mothers day/cos people are nice to this it takes the number even higher. Overall I’ve calculated that I only spent £64.59 of my own money on gig tickets (travel and accommodation costs not included, but I spent as little as possible on those).

I went to 29 of these alone (56%). My most frequent gig companion was Janine, who shared 7 of these with me. Before this we had never been to a gig together before! All the ones we went to were brilliant, Michael Kiwanuka, Penquin Cafe, Songhoy Blues and The Downs Festival among them. She has excellent taste in eclectic music, it’s no wonder we are friends.

By gender: Only 14% of the artists were female, a further 16% were groups of mixed gender (including orchestras), meaning a huge 70% of all the artists I saw were all male. I’m quite annoyed about this stat to be honest.

By ethnicity: I’m ashamed to say that only 10% of these gigs were by non white artists, and only 1 a black woman.

Best gig: This has to be the 1st time I saw Elbow, in Plymouth. It was an emotional night and I led to other wonderful things (photographing C Duncan on my actual birthday) and of course I shall never, ever forget being bear hugged by Guy Garvey.

Worst gig: A part of me doesn’t want to include this, but it is a question people ask. Music is subjective and there are so many factors that influence if a gig is good or not, but, having said that, there was only 1 of all the 51 I didn’t enjoy. Therefore the worst gig of 2017 has to be 3 Daft Monkeys. It really wasn’t for me.

By genre: I saw opera, classical, rock, folk, blues, jazz, indie, experimental, Indian classical, swing and a covers band. I generally dislike categorising music, it’s either music I like or music I don’t, but I did see a wide range of musical styles in 2017. Some for the first time. I discovered I like folk and jazz for a start, both of which have opened up huge avenues of listening for me.

When people hear the story of 40 gigs they ask me about the best gig and the worst gig and I am also often asked about a top 10. I honestly enjoyed 50 of them. To varying degrees and for varying reasons, but I took something positive from almost all of the gigs I went to in 2017. However, if pushed, in no particular order, these are the highlights.

Top 9: 

Colin Stetson


Penquin Cafe

Low Roar

False Lights

Ryan Adams

Songhoy Blues

Andrea Belfi

Michael Kiwanuka

I found passion, joy and a renewed zest for life through music in 2017. Thank you to all who contributed, you are shining stars.


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