Sofar Sounds is a worldwide, non-profit music organization with an aim to bring the focus back on the music. Sofar began in London after founders Rafe Offer, Rocky Start and Dave Alexander realized that no one was really listening to bands that were playing at local bars and pubs.

Video produced by Anna Junker

Their style is unique from other music events. Raya Hamadeh, Calgary’s Sofar Sounds organizer, explains that attendees sign up through a guest list for safety reasons and control capacity.

“We always have a guest list in case something happens, there’s a fire or something. We need to know how many people are in the room and what their names are to make sure everyone is safe,” says Hamadeh.

“Everyone is always very quiet, listening to the music and we all dance along and everyone is super respectful and encouraging.” – Mariebelle Sawma

Sofar is particularly different than other organizations because the guest list also reveals the secret, next location of the event a week prior to the date.For the most part, Sofar events consist of “bring-your-own-booze” deals and guests stay until the very end. Talking is not allowed during each set in order to give full attention to the artists performing.

Mariebelle Sawma, a member of the Sofar Sounds audience, describes the atmosphere when a band performs.

“Everyone is always very quiet, listening to the music and we all dance along and everyone is super respectful and encouraging. They don’t mind if it takes a few minutes for the band to set up, everyone is just really happy to be there.”

BODYimageThe Sunrise Club performs as the second act of the night during Sofar Sounds at Good Earth Coffeehouse on September 27, 2016. The simple duet jams out to songs from Riptide by Vance Joy to The Bloodhound Gang’s Bad Touch using just their vocals, a guitar and a ukulele. Photo by Anna Junker.

Calgary Journal videographer Anna Junker experienced the beauty of live music during the event on Sept. 25 which featured artists Sashae, The Sunrise Club, Alpine Element and Distance Bullock.

The editor responsible for this piece is Ingrid Mir and can be contacted at

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