Smith’s Alternative is a licenced venue. Persons under 18 must be under the responsible supervision of a parent, guardian or carer.
Shows at Smith’s follow a fairly regular pattern, but we’re flexible, so please contact us with your ideas. Scroll to the bottom for info on how to book a gig, the financial aspects, and technical/staging details.
Mondays early evenings (7-9pm) are in most part reserved for poetry, with a team of local poets putting on a variety of shows each week under the banner of That Poetry Thing That Is On At Smith’s Every Week. Most events begin with an open mic so bring your poems along to share.
Bands are invited to rehearse on the stage on Monday evenings from 9.30pm. Email us if your band would like to rehearse.
Old Timey Tuesday is a fortnightly open jam where we party like it's 1899. Luminaries from the local old timey/folk/acoustic scene gather at Smith’s to lead an open session featuring music from bygone eras, mainly that wonderful century many recall fondly as the Twentieth. 7-10pm
Roughly once every four weeks on a Tuesday is Bang!! Beng!! Bing!! Bong!! Bung!!, an opportunity for less experienced musical performers to have a play on a good stage with a friendly audience. Five ‘Bungers’ play five songs each, followed by a set from a more experienced performer. Original songs are preferred but not required. 7-10pm
Other Tuesdays are available for any type of performance.
On the first Wednesday of the month we have Classical Capers (7-9pm), where classical musicians of all levels of ability are invited to come and play their instrument of choice, to sing, form small ensembles, do whatever they please.
The third Wednesday of the month is generally booked for BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT! Canberra’s premier poetry slam.
Smith’s Varietal is held most Wednesdays from 9.30-11.30pm. There are no restrictions on genre, style, vulgarity, art form. We accept virtually anything and anyone. Dance, origami, balancing acts, acrobats, impressionists, expressionists, depressionists, magicians, comedians, bonsai demonstrations, burlesque... Anything interesting, unusual, entertaining, humourous, but not illegal or degrading to the human spirit. Each Varietal is hosted (including selecting the acts and being MC) by someone from the local community. Generally a minimum of six acts is required. If you would like to host a Varietal, email us.
Jazz at Smith’s runs every Thursday night from 7-9pm. It is curated by legendary local bassist and School of Music lecturer, Brendan Clarke. All flavours of jazz are showcased – contemporary, traditional, experimental. Local, national, international. 7-9pm.
Late night shows on Thursday are open for any type of performance.
Friday and Saturday nights are available for any type of performance. There are usually two shows, 7-9pm and 10pm-midnight. There are also opportunities for afternoon shows and shows after midnight.
Sunday afternoons we have a Jazz Jam, 1.30-4pm, with the Smith’s Alternative House Band leading the way and players and singers invited to join in.
Sunday late afternoons (4-6pm) and evenings (7pm-late) are open to any genre.
Other regular events include Lunchulele, a beginner level uke/singing group (12.30-1.30pm Monday), Lunchtime Sing Fling, a vocal workshop for non-singers (12-1pm Tuesday), and Smith’s Scribblers life drawing (12.30-1.30pm Thursday).
Smith’s also hosts book launches, workshops, talks, presentations, panels and we are keen to have more weekday events.
Let us know what you’ve got to share.
How To Book a Gig at Smith’s
The main method of obtaining a booking at Smith’s is by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include links to your online assets and all other relevant info. Besides email, you can call us or come in and have a chat, or if you really want to stand out, send a letter to Smith’s, 76 Alinga St, Canberra City, 2601.
For door deal shows, you want to be confident, and be able to convince us, that you have the ability to draw a good number of paying customers (min. entry $10/7) to your show. The capacity of Smith’s Auditorium is 100 but we can also run gigs in the Bar (cap 50).
About The Money
The standard deal at Smith’s is a door deal, 70/30 in the artist’s favour, with production and door service provided. For shows that don’t require a dedicated AV tech, an 80/20 split can apply. The minimum ticket price allowed is $10/7. If bands are registered for GST, a 75/25 split applies. Some of our shows are ‘open mic’ in the sense that we are providing an opportunity for performers who can’t draw a crowd to play on a good stage for a listening audience. We don’t pay performers in such instances.
Smith’s has it’s own ticketing system via our website and we insist that it be used. There is a small fee for each on-line sale, generally less than a dollar per ticket, with no booking fee for customers. These are deducted from door sales prior to the split.
Smith’s Auditorium has a beautiful little stage, roughly 5x3 metres, with a nice p.a., lighting and an upright piano in situ. We also have a good drum kit and amps for bass and guitar available for use. Our main AV tech, Bevan Noble, is the best in the business. In the event Bevan is not available, we have a small stable of dedicated audio engineers to call on. At worst, the venue owner is a capable audio engineer and often does sound at open mic or spoken word style events.
Our p.a. is controlled by the 32 channel ipad operated Mackie DL32R. We have an extensive range of mics and DI’s sufficient for most situations. If you think you might exceed our capabilities, let us know and we’ll scrounge up what’s required.
We have a digital projector in situ with a screen mounted at the back of the stage. Inputs include HDMI, mac mini, lightning and USB-C.
The Bar can be used to host gigs also, and is good for small musical acts, poetry and comedy nights, book launches and the like. There is a small performance space, a piano, a 16 channel desk and a few lights.
Smith’s has 70 sqr metres of outdoor seating area and we often hold outdoor gigs with a portable p.a. able to be brought in if required.