Live Music Policy & FAQ

How do I get booked?
We are committed to local bands & musicians & artists and book for our live music venue on Thursday evenings.

If you’re interested in getting booked, send a demo CD/press kit to the coffee house. We will not book you unless we’ve heard your stuff! You are also welcome to drop your demo off at the coffee house in person or send info/band website/mp3 links to

What is the venue address and how do we get there?
The coffee house is located at 333 King Street East, Hamilton, Ontario. You can also contact the coffee house at (905) 296-1424.

What do I/we need to bring?
The coffee house has a simple house set. This includes two Yorkville 800W speakers, two Yorkville monitors, one powered monitor, a 12 channel Yorkville powered mixer, a Yorkville bass amp, a few of Shure SM58 microphones and a few DIs. You will be responsible to bring patch chords, amps, drums, any instruments and any additional microphones, DI inputs, cables, and any other equipment you require.

Please be careful as you set up your stuff. We have a great space, decent acoustics, and a good dimmer lighting system. Be respectful of our space (inside and outside) since we don’t want our lawyers to talk to your lawyers.

Do we need to bring a sound technician, door-person, or other staff?
We do not have a designated sound technician, but our mixer is conveniently located on the stage for easy access and set-up. All though we can’t guarantee they will be working the night of your performance, many of our baristas and staff have experience helping the bands set there levels for their performance. If you are uncomfortable with setting your own levels please arrange to bring your own sound technician, or work out an arrangement with one of the other bands to do sound for you.

We will provide you with a door-person to collect the cover charge. If you wish, the door-person to sell your CD’s & merchandise, please provide him/her with your cash box and float. As careful as the door-person may be, the coffee house and the door-person accept no liability for any loss or perceived loss of money or property.

Also, please understand this is NOT a hard rock venue. It is a coffee house establishment, please listen to our staff in respect to the overall volume of the performance. If someone is unable to order a coffee from our baristas because they can’t be heard over your show you will need to turn it down.

Is the show all ages or 21+?
The coffee house is an all-ages venue. Please keep this in mind in terms of content (language, etc.).

What time is load in/sound check and where should we park?
Shows typically begin at 7:00pm. To set-up, sound check, and be familiar with the space and acoustics you should be there by 6-6:30pm. We appreciate bands being finished their sound check 30 minutes before the show starts. We have limited parking at the coffee house, but there is tons of municipal parking all over the place, and meter parking is free after 6:00pm. Feel free to unload your stuff at the rear of the coffee house (back door), and then park and do your thing.

Is there a backstage area for bands?
There is a vault (literally, the building used to be a bank) right next to the stage. It is available for storage of your valuables & your equipment.

What time do doors open?
The coffee house is open for business from 10:00am on. We start collecting a cover 30 minutes before the first band, and concerts start promptly at 8:00pm.

What is the cover charge?
On Thursday nights shows are always “pay what you can”. Our cover charge on Friday nights is usually $5 but can range between that and $10, as negotiated by the band/musician and the booking staff at the coffee house. If you do not have a decent following in Hamilton we suggest making your show “pay what you can” to attract some extra listeners.

How are we being paid – flat rate or a cut of the door charge?
If your show is a “pay what you can” event then the band/musican keeps 100% of the door money. If we do charge a cover for your show, the band/musician will receive a cut of the money received at the door (as agreed upon at time of booking). Most of our shows have more than one band booked and door money is divided as agreed upon at time of booking. If no prior arrangement was made, the musician’s share of the door money will be divided evenly between acts performing or in relation the the amount of time performing. We are not paying our bands/musicians a flat rate right now. The trade-off is that we give you access to a great venue to show off your talents, a place to gather all your fans and groupies, and a platform to sell your CD’s and merchandise.

Does the band get free or discounted food or drink, and if so, what is the specific policy?
Band members (only band members) receive complimentary coffee, tea or bottled water.

Do you only book acoustic and solo acts?
The coffee house features many acoustic performers playing folk, alt-country, and pop music. We also have been building a reputation in Hamilton for booking experimental, electronica, jazz, and indie rock. We have also booked music in styles ranging form hip hop & blues to caberet & classical. We are more concerned with the artistry, professionalism, and willingness to promote of the talent being booked than the style of the performers. We only ask that you keep the volume appropriate to the dynamics of the room, and respect requests from our staff concerning the overall volume of the room.

What is your policy on drums in your space?
We are unable to provide you with a drum set but we have plenty of room in our space for your percussion equipment. We only ask that your drummer brings brushes and/or hotrods when they perform due to the hot/live sounding acoustics in our room. When using sticks the volume needs to be the same as you would hear at a jazz performance. This policy is in no way intended to hamper your artistic process or turn you into any less of the rock stars that you are, it is intended to give your listeners the best sonic experience possible.

Do you book out-of-town acts?
We do accept submissions form out-of-town artists, but it does help if you let us know if you have any fans or friends in the area that you expect to come to the show. It also helps if you know a local group that wants to share a billing with you to help fill out the crowd. All that being said, if you don’t know anyone in the area (bands or fans) and you feel you have a very unique sound that would benefit our establishment please feel free to send us your music.

What is expected of the musicians to promote the show?

  • Send us a CD of your music to play in our coffee house.
  • Send us 6 posters to promote the show in-house.
  • Leaflets or posters advertising your show always help.
  • Invite your fans, friends and family.
  • Send out invitations using your e-mail list, facebook, myspace etc.
  • List your show on your websites.
  • Send press releases with photos about your show to The View, The Hamilton Spectator and H Magazine.
  • Put Posters up in local record shops and other appropriate locations.
  • Send out a second reminder e-mail to all your lists some time the week of your show.

What can we expect The Freeway to do to promote the show?
Like most venues we rely on the talent to promote their own shows, but The Freeway tries to:

  • List all our shows on our website and in The View.
  • Send out weekly e-mails about our upcoming shows.
  • Announce upcoming shows at the concert the week before.
  • Print table-top listings of shows for our customers.
  • Distribute any flyers or postcards to our customers that you provide us with.
  • Hang any posters in the coffee house that you provide us with.

We believe that by consistently booking top-notch musical acts that we are building a reputation as a premier musical venue in Hamilton, and look forward to the day when people just come and check out what is happening at The Freeway, but until then please do not count on a built-in audience of regular attenders.

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