Sofar Sounds reimagines the live event experience through curated, secret performances in more than 350 cities around the world. Sofar brings guests and artists together in unique locations, without the distractions that plague other live events. Through the transformation of everyday spaces into captivating venues, Sofar serves as a platform for artists to connect with engaged audiences in cities around the world.
In 2009, co-founders Rafe Offer and Rocky Start invited some friends over to a London flat for a low-key, intimate gig. Eight people gathered in their living room to listen to live music performed by friend and musician Dave Alexander. Quickly, what started as a hobby in London spread into a global community. To learn more, visit our company overview.
A Sofar will typically feature three acts, with no opener or headliner. Each lineup is carefully curated to give audiences a diverse show, and artists equal attention. We request that guests arrive on time for the first act and stay through the entirety of the show. Most Sofars are BYOB, and during the sets, we ask guests to refrain from talking or texting.
Sofar is currently active in more than 350 cities around the world. If you don’t see a page for your city, you can apply to bring Sofar Sounds to your city.
Sofar Sounds is a mission-driven, for-profit business. Currently, Sofar does not make a profit, and we are backed by a group of wonderful and supportive investors who believe in our goal of connecting people through intimate, live events. We are working toward our goal of financial sustainability, which will allow us to continue to put on more Sofars and support artists around the world.
Sofar Sounds has eight cities that operate in a full-time capacity: Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, New York, Oslo, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. These cities put on multiple shows every month — sometimes one every single night! — and have a full-time, paid staff who work hard to bring more Sofars to their audiences.
The majority of our Sofar cities around the world, however, are run by amazing volunteers and ambassadors who put on one or two Sofar shows per month.
Once you’ve created a profile on our website or mobile app, you can apply to attend a show in the city of your choice. If purchasing through our mobile app, you can buy your tickets directly. Once you’ve applied to attend an upcoming Sofar, your name will be entered into a draw, from which our local teams will select their guests. Our team works hard to make sure everyone who applies has the chance to attend a Sofar, so if you’re not chosen, please apply again! Visit How it Works to learn more.
We love friends! You can add a +1 to your application at any time, up until confirming your space. If you’re in a ticketed city, you can reserve up to 6 spaces, depending on the maximum allowed for that Sofar. See Tickets at Sofar for details.
If selected, you have a limited amount of time to confirm your space. Capacity varies by venue, so be quick! In a ticketed city, your email invitation will prompt you to buy your tickets (up to 6 tickets can be purchased) to secure your space. See below for more information on Tickets at Sofar.
Many of our venues are people’s private homes. To ensure the privacy of our hosts, we keep the locations secret to everyone but our guests. Confirmed guests will receive an email with the location at least 36 hours prior to the show.
And the lineups? We believe that all artists should be treated with equal respect. You may not recognize their name, but you’ll definitely recognize their talent when you see them perform! Because of this, we keep our lineups secret until the show begins. Our teams hand-pick only the best in up-and-coming music, so come with an open mind and excitement to discover your new favorite artists!
Most Sofar events are BYOB, and it is likely that alcohol be present. We take underage drinking very seriously, and anyone encouraging or partaking will be asked to leave.
Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult. We cannot guarantee the night’s content will be child-friendly. Please check with your local city team before finalizing spaces at the event.
Please make sure to mark emails from Sofar Sounds so they do not go into your junk or spam folders. If it’s 24 hours before, or the day of the show, it is likely that your application was unsuccessful. Please apply again!
It depends on the city. We currently have two different pay structures:
Please check your local city event pages to learn their payment structure.
To transfer your ticket to another show in the same city, please contact us at least 48 hours before the event. Any transfer requests made after the 48-hour cut-off cannot be guaranteed. Please note: tickets can only be transferred to shows that are not already sold out, and are only transferrable once. Tickets are not transferable between cities. Invitations are non-transferable.
If you would like to transfer your tickets to a friend, please contact us with this request and your friend’s name and email at least 48 hours prior to the show.
Sofar Sounds can only offer refunds if the show has been canceled, rescheduled or if the venue has changed on the day. We are unable to offer refunds under any other circumstances. Please check the date, time and location before booking to make sure you can attend the event.
Payment is processed securely through Stripe.
Sofar promo codes are a way for guests to get into ticketed shows more easily. They offer either a guaranteed entry, priority access tickets or occasionally, free spaces. Promo codes are usually given via our partners or through your Sofar city. Keep your eye out for competitions or promotions to land yours!
When Sofar first got its start, it was always hosted in people’s private homes or apartments. Today, Sofar happens in a wide range of venues — from homes and apartments to co-working spaces, rooftops, breweries and galleries. You never know where you’ll end up!
It’s easy! Apply on our website. We’ll just need to know what city and neighborhood you live in, and how many people you think your space can hold. If your application is successful, you’ll hear back from someone from your local team within a few weeks.
Besides having an evening of amazing music in your space? We offer various perks for hosting a Sofar and will discuss these with you during your application.
Sofar and its audiences are respectful toward hosts and their spaces. Our team will be on hand to run the show and clean up afterward. All you need to do is provide the space! In the unlikely event of something going wrong, Sofar will accept full responsibility for any damage incurred.
Sofar artists generally play a stripped-back set at Sofar to an attentive audience, so the noise level is kept at a minimum, with shows ended around 10:30 p.m. We don’t expect your neighbors to complain, but better yet — invite them to enjoy the evening!
Of course! We always reserve a few spots for the host to invite guests. We will discuss this number with you during your application.
If you’re an artist interested in playing a Sofar, you can submit your music. Your application will go directly to the listening team in the city you’ve requested to play. If it feels like a good fit, that team will get in touch to book your first Sofar show.
Due to the high volume of applications we receive, this process may take at least a few weeks. If you don’t hear from us, your application has been unsuccessful. You can submit again when you have new material for consideration.
Sofar curates unique and diverse lineups that vary in genre and sound. All music submitted to Sofar is listened to by a diverse and knowledgeable team of reviewers, ensuring there is no bias. This allows us to discover the best new music possible for our audiences to enjoy. Above all, we’re looking for quality acts that will engage with our guests.
Absolutely not! We like to think outside the box. Some of our favorite Sofar performances have been spoken word poetry, comedy and even dance.
Artist compensation varies by city and country. In the majority of Sofar cities, Sofar offers two forms of compensation: a high-quality video of your performance or a flat fee (which varies by city). Your local booker will discuss these options with you prior to your performance.
In cities where we charge a fixed price for tickets, artist compensation is as follows: $100 in U.S. cities, £75 in the UK, 1000kr in Norway, and €100 in Spain. In full-time cities, this compensation is regardless of whether you receive a Sofar video or not.
Stripped back doesn’t always mean acoustic. Vocals are generally unamplified, electric instruments are made acoustic (where possible) and drum kits should be replaced with other percussive elements or a bare bones kit. Amps are small and portable. Sofar does not provide a backline, but will provide recording equipment. Some cities can offer a small PA for vocals, if necessary. Check with your local city.
Sofar videos are a form of artist compensation offered by local cities. Please note, the majority of Sofars are unfilmed. If you are interested in receiving a YouTube video of your performance, please discuss this with your local booker. Sofar performance videos are hosted on our YouTube channel and often promoted on our social media. We will always ask your permission before using it outside of these parameters.
If you are having trouble getting your video from your local team, please let us know.
Many of our Sofar cities consistently book standout alumni to play future shows. If you are interested in performing regularly with Sofar, please contact your local city.
Our Artist Community team is actively exploring ways that you can take Sofar on the road with you. Sofar is in over 350 cities around the globe, across 60 countries — a huge opportunity for you to share your talent! If you are interested in playing additional cities, please get in touch with your local booker and they will help connect you to teams in other cities. Please note, each individual city has discretion over their bookings and will take your submission into consideration.
Of course! We want to help promote you. We’ll help you set up and sell your merch at your Sofar and the MC for the evening will draw attention to your merch during their introduction. You keep 100 percent of your sales.
We’re always looking for new people to play, host and help put on Sofars around the world. If you’re passionate about music, in-the-know about emerging artists, know of interesting spaces in your city or just want to meet cool people, get in touch!
Every Sofar city has to start with someone. Why not make it you? Contact us to learn more about starting Sofar in your neighborhood.