What’s Better Than a Free Outdoor Concert? A Free Outdoor Concert in Your Yard.
Memphis has plenty of free, outdoor music options – the Levitt Shell, Shelby Farms, Court Square, the Cooper-Young Gazeebo.
Thanks to a new-ish local concert series, we can add a growing list of Memphis backyards to the list. Now in its second season, 3artists1yard is bringing live acoustic shows directly to Memphians' homes. It doesn't get much more accessible than that.
I hosted a 3artists1yard show last year, and it was a lot of fun. I didn't know two of the musicians ahead of time (Jeremy Stanfill and Myla Smith), but they were great, and a ton of my neighbors and friends came over to hang out, eat dinner and chill in the grass. It was like having a tiny, private Levitt Shell at my house.
The series was founded in 2012 by Caleb Sigler, Myla Smith and Noah Glenn when they got together to play a small concert in Sigler's back yard and saw a potention to bring people and musicians together in low-key and accessible way outside of the city's usual concert venues.
"There was a mutual desire to play somewhere where people wanted to listen, not just have music in the background while they ate or drank," Sigler said. " By holding these concerts in people's yards, it gave the freedom to start and finish concerts earlier if necessary. It also allowed for parents to hear great local music for free without having to pay for a babysitter. The artists get to play for grateful listeners (, and the hosts get to throw an awesome party."
The shows happen almost every weekend during the summer, and anyone can host one. The only requirements for hosting are that you have a yard and will invite your friends and neighbors. The 3artists1yard crew brings the musicians, sound equipment and lighting.
All of the shows are different, based on the space and tastes of the people hosting. Some (like the one at my house) involve tons of food and beer. Others shows involve neighbors teaming up to throw a block party, and I've been to one that was held in a yard with a pool (so that everyone could watch the band while they swam).
If you want to go to a show, though, you'll have to do a bit of research. Some of them are private parties at the request of the homeowner. Others, like the block parties, are open to the public. "When we do shows that are open to the public we advertise on Facebook, Twitter, and through concert flyers," Sigler told me.
Sounds like fun, right?
If you're interested in hosting a show this year, there are still some weekends available this summer and in September and October. All you have to do is email the crew and let them know you're interested.