I've been giving this a bunch of thought and Columbia 2.0 makes me worry a bit. It the Sun article concerning the group, there was a member of the group that books entertainment acts. I really hope there isn't another venue for crappy cover bands that makes a barely tolerable night out on the town. Nottingham's and Sonoma's covers that market rather well, thank you. Then there's the folk music, which is cool, but that won't drag in the youth market. Then there's the high art events, which many young people would go to, but it's not exactly the sort of thing that people would go to on a consistent basis. As I stated in my first post. There's easily 500+ people who go to either Baltimore of DC to see acts doing original music. That's a demographic work pursuing. And that's just the punk and indy rock scenes. Let's not forget the various jam bands in the area. Put that all together, and you have the economics of a vibrant music scene right here in Columbia.
There's also the bands who originate in this town, but they usually don't make it past high school and the others are busy going to either Baltimore or DC to play. After all, there's no acceptable music venue in town for them to play. The current venues will have one band only. In real venues, there's typically 3 bands per night. It might be a small crowd on most nights, but that's generally acceptable. In almost every case, there's the main venue area and a general bar area for those who don't want to see the show, but still hang out. There's options there.
Let's also consider the type of demographic we're talking about here. It tends to be people who are educated. Their earning capacity is varied since some will go into non-profits and others will go into more commercial careers, but part of their decisions for moving to an area rotates around what sort of nightlife options are available. If there's a good venue nearby, they'll move there. If it's accessible by something other than a car, all the better. Like it or not, that's the demographic that's really desirable. Those are the people who form communities of hundreds, and they'll spend the money for a quality nightlife.
And I want a cut if someone steals this idea ;)
p.s. It would be very nice if the Columbia 2.0's proposals were online. It looks like GPP proposals on there. Boo on the lack of substance.