COVID hit live music pretty hard in 2020 and left a lasting effect on many venues causing them to close or reconsider their business strategy. The Boston area music scene (Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, etc) lost a few beloved music venues such as Great Scott and ONCE Somerville Lounge, but fast forward a few years and the local music scene is working to push past that with venues like Crystal Ballroom opening up and festivals like NICE, a fest powering up every year. Part of this momentum is credit to longtime talent buyer Alex Pickert who has been working in the booking space since 2011 where he was booking DIY shows in basements and small clubs. He has now founded his own booking company, Get To The Gig Boston, which has him booking for local venues Crystal Ballroom and The Rockwell in Somerville, Deep Cuts in Medford, O’Brien’s Pub in Allston, The Cantab Lounge, State Park, and Lilypad in Cambridge, and more. But while booking over a hundred shows a year at this venues, he’s also coming up on his third year for the festival he started which we mentioned earlier: NICE, a fest. The festival is slated to take over Davis Square in Somerville this coming weekend (July 20-23) with 72 local or originally-from Boston area bands playing between two venues (Crystal Ballroom and The Rockwell).
I got to speak with Alex about his start in talent buying and booking, the opening of Deep Cuts, NICE, a fest, the Boston music scene and more.
Can you tell me a bit about the history of Get 2 To The Gig and how you got into booking shows around the Boston area?
Long story short, I booked DIY shows in basements and small clubs from 2011-2015. In 2015 I got hired at Middle East as a door person, and then 2016 got promoted to Talent Buyer since I had experience booking shows. After that I moved on to ONCE, Great Scott and then worked for Live Nation for a year before getting laid off due to covid. After COVID, I found Crystal Ballroom and now Deep Cuts!
How many shows are you involved with booking a month you’d say?
Between Deep Cuts, Crystal Ballroom and all the other rooms we book, anywhere from 20-30 a month at this point.
The Deep Cuts venue opened in May, how did this come to be and what could the neighborhood expect in terms of the venue and types of band to play there?
Deep Cuts is special! It’s run by a group of friends who love music and sandwiches. They just relocated to a larger space and now have a FULL VENUE in their deli! All types of bands are gonna play there – mostly up and coming bands that are too big for Obrien’s and too small for Crystal Ballroom! Medford doesn’t have a club, let alone any cool bars – so I think the neighborhood loves it so far!
One of your bigger projects is NICE, a fest. Can you tell me how that started up? What can you tell us about this year in comparison to past years?
YEAR 3 BABY! We are so stoked for this year’s fest! It started mid-pandemic when things started to get a bit better. We did July 24, 2021 and it was 12 bands in a parking lot. Last year was 2 venues, 53 bands, 25 vendors. This year is 2 venues, 72 bands and 30+ vendors! We’re so excited for year 2 with Crystal Ballroom and The Rockwell in Davis Sq. It’s so fun taking over a city block with music fans!
How do you feel about the local music scene in Boston? Obviously, I’m sure you love it, but I’m curious about your perspective of the ups and downs over the year as a show booker and talent buyer how you’ve viewed it.
LOVE IT obviously. This gonna be a short answer to a question that deserves a long answer but.. Boston is on top. It’s having a renaissance. The fact I can book 52 bands last year, and then have no repeats on the fest this year with 72 bands is a testament. Boston is on TOP!
Any advice for small, up and coming bands around the scene that want to book shows in town?
Sure! Book your own shows, create your own community! Make band best friends with other bands and go on tour. Book your basement, your Mom’s garage! Play shows, put out music and have fun! The rest will come! 🙂
Follow Get To The Gig Boston on Instagram to stay up to date with local Boston area bookings.