From Hot Chip to Conor Oberst, the gigs organised by online fan campaigns

Frustrated that your favourite band never plays near you? Now, says Elisa Bray, you have the power to make it happen

For anyone who has dreamed of seeing their favourite band playing their city, those dreams have just become closer to reality.

This month an American band will play their first ever UK gig, through the sheer support of their fans. For fans of the emo rock band Desaparecidos, fronted by Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst, the gig has been a long time coming – it's 10 years since the release of their album Read Music/Speak Spanish. It's also an exciting indicator of how the live sector could work in the future.

The Desaparecidos gig has been made possible through Detour, a new site and method of booking gigs from those behind Songkick, a website that recommends gigs to users. Its co-founder, Ian Hogarth, had the idea back when he was a disgruntled teenager waiting for the American hip-hop artists he loved to tour the UK.

Through Detour, fans can create the gigs they want to see, opening up the possibility of bands playing towns that aren't on the well-trodden touring path, and also bringing bands to the UK.

Fans pledge to buy a ticket for a potential concert and, when enough have committed , the concert is booked – although no money changes hands until that point. Fan-funded music recording – where fans pledge money to an artist with the promise of an album that has not yet been made – has been successful on music sites Pledgemusic and Sellaband, enabling artists including Public Enemy to bypass record labels altogether. While that model sees musicians asking fans for support, this is driven by the fans themselves; it puts the power in the hands of the fans who can start campaigns to bring acts to London, inviting like-minded people to join them.

In the case of Desaparecidos, Detour invited music website Drownedinsound and its community to come on board. Within 24 hours, fans had pledged for 50 tickets and the gig went on to sell out the 1,100-capacity Electric Ballroom, leaving the band's frontman Conor Oberst delighted.

“It is always a nice feeling to know that there are people out there who love the music we make and are willing to go the extra mile, literally, to experience it in person,” he says.

Hogarth says: “We were really blown away by how quickly the fans took hold of the platform and made the show happen. Those same 100 people are all going to be in the Electric Ballroom. It's the first UK show on the back of a crowd-funding platform. It's a different spin because it's not started by the creator, but by the fans.”

Initially, Detour ran a few one-off experiments to see if the concept would work. They instigated a gig by Hot Chip in either Folkestone, York or Stoke-on-Trent – whichever city could raise the most followers. The electro-pop band played their first headline gig in Folkestone after a couple of keen fans there decided to make it happen, emailing their friends, petitioning the local radio station and newspaper, until it went viral. Detour has also made a South American tour possible for Andrew Bird.

For now, Detour London is focusing on bringing artists from around the world to the city. The next success will see the Swedish psych-Afrobeat collective Goat play their debut headline show in London in June. And the initial crowd-funded Desaparecidos gig has led to a UK tour that includes Manchester and Glasgow.

That fan-funded gigs could be the future of the live music industry is mainly thanks to a reduction in risk for all involved: the fans, musicians and promoters. Many acts have, at some point in their career, travelled miles to play to a disappointingly sparse crowd, or, worse still, an empty room. For fans, it removes rip-off booking fees and the secondary market where tickets are sold at inflated prices. A Detour-booked gig will guarantee payment for the band, and the electric atmosphere of a dedicated crowd who have played a part in making the gig happen.

Hogarth says: “As a music fan I'm happy to commit to bands for them to play shows. We started testing Detour with fans and artists in mind. As fans we saw that it could help us see our favourite bands sooner. [For artists] it would help them go to new markets without the risk of an empty room and a financial loss; touring is a risky business for bands. This is a more efficient way of making concerts happen – it has the potential to transform the industry for the better.”

Desaparecidos are on tour 9 to 11 February.

detourlondon.co.uk

Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer is to leave The Apprentice after 10 years

TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice

Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'