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US venue charges for concerts in private gardens

A venue in Illinois is providing a “to-go” concert service, staging 30-minute shows from local artists, complete with food and drink, in people’s front gardens for $450

By IQ on 07 May 2020

US venue charges $450 for concerts in private gardens

Evanston's Jason Narducy will perform the first series of concerts

image © James Richards IV/Wikimedia Commons

A venue in Evanston, Illinois, is bringing the live concert experience to people’s homes, putting on private, socially distanced gigs for households in their front gardens.

Space, a 330-capacity live music venue and recording studio that has hosted the likes of the Lumineers and Alabama Shakes, announced its To-Go Concerts series last week, with the first 30-minute micro-concerts by Jason Narducy (Bob Mould Band, Split Single, Superchunk, Verböten), set to take place on a number of local residents’ lawns on Saturday (9 May).

The concerts, which include take-away drinks and food from the venue’s sister restaurant, Union Squared, cost US$450 per household and are limited to audiences of ten.

The request line for the first set of concerts are now closed, with Space owner Jake Samuels telling local press that 60 people applied to have a concert on their front lawn.

Staff will be on hand to keep people at a distance and prevent neighbours from wandering over. The team will wear fully sanitised gloves and masks and move on to the next residence if overcrowding becomes an issue.

The concerts, which include take-away drinks and food, cost US$450 per household and are limited to audiences of ten

To-Go Concerts is the latest addition to the venue’s lockdown offering, which has run the free-to-watch All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Show virtual concert series since the venue closed its doors in March. Viewers are encouraged to make a donation of $5 via a virtual tipping tool.

The venue has also set up a GoFundMe page and is selling merchandise. The venue is part of the newly established National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), an alliance of US grassroots venues lobbying congress for sector-specific assistance.

Since 2018, Space has hosted outdoor concert series Out of Space, which has seen performances from the likes of Mavis Staples, Toots and the Maytals, Yo la Tengo and Jeff Tweedy. This year’s edition is set to feature Death Cab For Cutie and Big Boi. A decision will be made on whether the event will go ahead “very soon”. A stay-at-home order is in place in Illinois until the end of May.

Space’s To-Go Concerts initiative is an example of how to generate revenue and keep fans entertained beyond the digital realm, as venues grapple with continuing lockdown restrictions around the world.

Venues remain shuttered in the vast majority of US states, although some in Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas are gradually reopening under certain restrictions. Arkansas venue, TempleLive, plans on staging its first socially distanced concert next week, with concertgoers assigned ‘fan pods’ – clusters of seating separated from other fans.

Photo: James Richards IV/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0) (cropped)


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