Although the simple answer to this question is "a concert at our house," in truth there's a lot more to it. Do you enjoy live music in a small, intimate setting? Do you enjoy meeting new friends who also share a similar love of live music performances? Do you enjoy LISTENING to the music while it's performed, rather than having other audience members annoy you with obnoxious chatter while you're trying to pay attention to the performance? Do you enjoy meeting the performer(s) and interacting with him/her/them to not only share what you liked about their performance, but perhaps even get to know them a bit better as people? If you've answered "YES" to these questions, then attending our house concerts is FOR YOU!
Here's a short video about the house concert experience.
Our events USED to be held in our backyard when the weather cooperated, back when we started at this house concerts series at our home near Nashville, Tennessee. That was 2016 through 2019 and is how we got our Garden Party Concerts name. But in 2021 we moved to a larger house in North Carolina, which has a wonderful two-story living room with LOTS OF SPACE, so we are now hosting our house concerts INSIDE without any weather or "outside noise" concerns. We just didn't want to change the series name and everything related to that (website, email address, etc.).
Our new living room is approximately 22'x25' and the open floor plan flows into the dinette and kitchen area, so we chose this house in Clayton with our house concerts in mind. We have seating for everyone, so you don't even need to bring a chair! We also serve everyone a free dinner and the new space should be satisfactory for all 40 audience members to eat and settle in comfortably.
Yes! We serve a full dinner meal to all attendees beginning 45 minutes before the scheduled performance time. Although the menu varies slightly, we always serve catered BBQ (two different meat selections - usually chicken and pork), veggie burgers on request for those who prefer them, coleslaw, chips, fruit salad, a dessert and non-alcoholic beverages such as water, sweet ice tea and unsweetened mint tea. We also have a "BYOB" policy that permits our attendees to bring their own "adult beverages" of choice if they desire. All we ask is that you don't share with other audience members if you don't personally know them, so that we don't risk anyone serving alcohol to minors.
We try to limit attendees to folks age 18 and up, but if you contact us and ask permission beforehand we may make exceptions if space is available. You are the best judge of the potential behavior of your children. We do seek to have a “listening room” atmosphere for the performers and other audience members, please, with conversation between audience members limited to the meal time before the show, intermission and after the show. The performance is not to be considered background music for our own conversations. So if you've got a mature 10-year-old who will sit still and enthralled throughout the show, by all means ask us about bringing him or her along with you!
Absolutely! We do have a sound system used at every show. Sometimes our performers bring their own or we use our own Bose column system, but the performance is always amplified to the extent that everyone can hear. However we do try to NOT have the sound so loud that you'll need ear plugs!
We do ask all of our attendees to please donate money to our performers, as that's how they earn their living at each show. We have a suggested minimum donation amount of $25. That amount is PER PERSON, not per family. You're also welcome to donate more if you can afford to do so. We do make a "pitch" about this at each show in the opening announcements, but donations are gathered simply via a watering can placed out during the event and no one "hovers" while you put your donation in the can to make sure you've put in the minimum amount or more. We host professional touring musicians. They're high quality performers who make their living by doing live shows, so we hope you'll reward them accordingly but also as you are financially able. We don't want to discourage anyone from attending over the amount they are able to donate. Most of our performers also bring merchandise (compact discs, t-shirts, buttons, stickers, etc.) to sell at each show, so we recommend that you plan for potential purchase of these items, but there is no obligation to buy anything.
AT THE MOMENT WE DO NOT ACCEPT ANY SORT OF ELECTRONIC PAYMENT (such as Paypal or Venmo) FOR YOUR DONATIONS, AS THE MONEY IS GIVEN DIRECTLY TO THE PERFORMERS. SO PLEASE PLAN TO BRING CASH FOR THIS PURPOSE. Most of our performers DO accept credit cards for their personal merchandise, however.
Other than that there's really no catch! We love live music. We delight in hosting wonderful folks who are terrific in performing live music, at our home. We also enjoy gathering friends together to share in the experience with us. Let's face it, these terrific artists wouldn't come to our house to do a show just for the two of us, so this is a "win-win-win" situation all the way around.
Step one is to get on our email list. On the home page of this website you'll find a form where you can submit your name and email address. The system we use will ask you to confirm you're human and then send you an email asking you to confirm that you want to add yourself to our list. Once you "confirm" via the link in that email, the system will let you know that you've been added. Then we will send out periodic emails - usually about one per month during the "off season" and three or four per month during the "season" of March through October. We don't take reservations for individual shows until about a month before each one, as we want to give everyone an equal chance to sign up and we also don't want to be tracking reservations for more than one show at a time. Signing up for the list does NOT mean you're committing to attend any shows. Nor does it make any reservations for you. It just puts you on the list for information as we make it available to everyone. We generally notify our email list FIRST by a few weeks before publicizing our events in other manners such as Facebook. So please sign up! You can always ask to be removed later if you want.
Step two is to read the emails we send out to you once you're on the list.
Step three is to send us a reply email back any time that you want to reserve space at a show, or if you know you won't be attending that particular event. To reserve space, your reply needs to have the full name of each person in your group and your "emergency contact" phone number. (we don't plan to call you, but ask that you provide this in case we have a day-of-show change in plans because of artist illness or some similar unforeseen circumstance) If you reply that you won't be attending, we'll try our best to not send you additional "space is still available" reminders for that particular show.
Finally, step four is to receive our "confirmed reservation" email back letting you know you're on the reservation list for a particular show. That will contain information including our address and phone number, timing (our show times vary, based on performer travel schedules and the day of the week involved), parking instructions, what our Covid protocols are for this particular show, etc. You know, all the "nitty gritty dirt band" details about the show you're planning to attend. :-)