sum greater entertainment

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the saturday night before halloween this year saw Clark’s Pub in Hillsboro, Oregon packed to the brim with sweaty monsters and demons drinking microbrews. Clark’s was hosting their annual party, Boos, Booze, and Brews: Bayou, and this year i got to participate both on stage and behind the scenes as part of a new Hillsboro entertainment business, Sum Greater.

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Clark’s has been a major part of my personal musical experience for the last year, as they do rock and roll shows several times a week and open mics and jams to boot. As for the acts they hired through Sum Greater Entertainment, none could claim that we have been unaffected by the open atmosphere, great stage, and opportunity to try out new sounds that Clark’s provides.

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a few facebook pictures won’t quite do the evening justice, but take my word for it when i say the place was packed to the gills. i opened up the show early while people, decked out in their trick-or-treating finery, were just starting to trickle in, and by the time Brotherman played the stage had disappeared in the swaying – and shouting, and singing – crowd. in between our acts the pub shook like a subwoofer to the amazing talent of Loveless Root, Tied to a Grizzly, and Swampy V and the No Motives.

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the show, with the musical talent and the energy and the positive atmosphere and the creepy sexualized dollar store dress-up, was a blast, but it meant even more for me because this was the first event that Sum Greater Entertainment helped organize. it was satisfying to see 100 people lining the walls around the bar, and it felt like it confirmed what i and a few friends had been hoping to find: that Hillsboro is excited about live music, and the people in the city love original art and rock n roll, and that Sum Greater just might have a shot at making a big impression on the music scene in Portland by organizing more shows, at more amazing local venues, with more amazing local talent.

the idea behind Sum Greater is to make an entertainment business to help connect musicians that want to play their music to venues that want to hear it. all of us who are involved with this fledgling pursuit are either artists or patrons ourselves, and we can see opportunity for downtown Hillsboro to keep expanding as an artistic hotspot. Sum Greater Entertainment is, for now, just an idea crystallizing into a real thing, but our foundation is solid:

  • we want to encourage the Hillsboro music scene and start-up artists by connecting them. we don’t want a single empty stage on a friday or saturday night at any bar or coffee shop, and we hope that we can fill those places to standing room only as our talent builds followings and ties with the community
  • we also know that we want to find a way to make Sum Greater profitable enough to use our business to generate income (51% of our proceeds) to a charity founded by one of our board members – more on that to come in another post.

i’ve never tried to start a company before, and i have to say that the process is confusing and exhilarating. already, we have a core group of Oregon musicians involved, along with visual artists, and we can boast years of combined experience in business and the music industry.

we have a lot of work to do: currently we have graphic designers whipping up our business cards, a twitter account and a website in the works, and, of course, a few piles of paperwork to file. i’m encouraged by the interest that i can already see from the community, and from the outstanding success of our first show, made possible by the fine people at Clark’s. and we are looking towards the next show: last friday i and a few other reps from Sum Greater met with the board of Influence Music Hall, a Hillsboro institution that has become synonymous with great music downtown, and in just a few minutes managed to come up with some exciting ideas for future shows (nothing set yet, but consider this a teaser of big things to come).

i’ll be writing about Sum Greater for the next few weeks as we keep working. consider this a cattle call for all music acts, visual artists, and performers of all kinds who want to be a part of a scene. we can make it, but we need you: Sum Greater needs board members, partners, and venues that are as passionate about live music and great shows as we are. if you are interested in helping or getting in on the ground floor, or if you have any questions, feel free to hit us up on the facebook page, and stay tuned to my blog for updates as we polish up our social media outreach. if the halloween show was any indication, this could be the start of something big.

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