Sofar Sounds… So Good!

Imagine if someone told you that you could watch Bastille play your local coffee shop? You’d say yes. That is a possibility with Sofar Sounds.

Sofar Sounds is a secret gig network that has infiltrated 350 countries all over the globe to bring you private intimate gigs in obscure places. People like Tom Odell, James Bay and most recently Emeli Sandé have all taken part in these undercover music experiences, bringing a unique experience to live music lovers.

Sunpecker Studios
Charlie Hole, Singer-Songwriter, Co-Founder of Sofar Sounds. Credit to Sunpecker Studios

Charlie Hole, a singer-songwriter, is the co-founder of Sofar Sounds in Bournemouth. Charlie has received accreditations from none other than Rod Stewart, claiming on British radio he had a bright future after writing a “beautiful song”. Returning to his home town of Bournemouth to set-up Sofar Sounds, I spoke to Charlie about the newest way to discover live music and how that has affected the tour of his new single.

I met Charlie at the secret location of a Bournemouth Sofar Sounds gig, Naked Coffee in Lansdowne. He was directing the tornado of sound equipment flooding into the small coffee shop, that only closed two hours before doors were set to open. “It’s always an interesting process to set up an event because they are all so exciting and unique as it’s so different”. Charlie said one of the most interesting elements of the job is setting up the interesting and different locations.

“Every single time we turn up to our venues and we have to think how we are going to use this space best.”

After the coffee was transformed into a cosy gig space, ticket holders started to arrive. To get a ticket for these events, you need to subscribe to the mailing list online to be entered into the raffle for the tickets and if chosen, receive the secret location where the gig will take place. When you have checked your name off the ticket list, you can find a good seat and settle in for a night of live music. Charlie expressed ‘the rules’ of the night to the audience:

  1. No phones
  2. No talking while the artist is playing
  3. Give the music your full attention
Hummingbird and the Crow
Hummingbird and the Crow, the first performance at Naked Coffee, Bournemouth











Charlie explained to me earlier, “It is just really good for me as an artist to play to people who were listening the whole time; especially as an acoustic singer-songwriter, I was kind of tired of playing over people”. The attention that the crowd gave the performances that followed was fascinating, it completely changed my perception of live music. No one spoke. No phones beeped. It made the music more valuable and human than I’ve ever experienced.

This is definitely going to catch on.


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