Video from Julie Gribble’s Backyard Concert in Dunwoody North

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Julie Gribble played a backyard show in Dunwoody North this past weekend. She was joined by mandolin player, Nelson Nolan. Our backyard-concert reporter was on the scene to share highlights…

You can listen to Julie’s music or book her through her website at JulieGribble.com. She’s also on Apple Music and other streaming sites.

Feeling inspired to host your own backyard show?

The idea of hiring a musician or comedian to play in your backyard might seem crazy at first, but it’s far more common and affordable than you probably realize. A live act makes your event REALLY cool and noise-wise Dunwoody has your back. Let’s check with the City’s official code of ordinances regarding loud music after dark…

 “The operation of any set, instrument, phonograph, machine, or device between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. on weekdays and between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. on weekends and holidays when the audibility of the prohibited noise is measured from property line of adjacent properties or the public right-of-way of the property shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of this section.”

Translation: Don’t play past midnight on weekends. Same rule as feeding Gremlins.

Tips for hiring a musician or comedian

A single musician or even a full band can be surprisingly affordable. For music, expect to pay at least $500-$1000 on upwards depending on how many people are playing. A 20-minute comedy set will probably set you back $100-150 on average. Of course, it all depends on the comedian. A 25 year old, just starting out, will probably jump at the chance to make $150 for the same 20 minute set they’ve done for free a thousand times before.

Here’s a few tips for your first backyard show…

  • Ask ahead what they need. A musician will bring all their own equipment. They probably just need power. Ask how much power they need. A comedian probably won’t bring a thing, but they’ll need a mic and at least one good, loud speaker.
  • A musician won’t expect the audience to sit silently and listen to their show in this environment. They are playing for a few hours, they understand they are part of the party atmosphere.
  • A comedian on the other hand will expect people to sit down and shut up for 15-30 minutes. Tell the audience ahead of time to be respectful, and just listen. Cut the chatter everywhere. Even the back row by the food table. No place is a good place to have a side conversation during a short set. Identify possible talkers ahead and tell them to shut it for the entire set.
  • Set up chairs for a comedy show. People are less likely to wander around (and talk) if they are sitting down. Ask people to bring lawn chairs. (Pro tip: borrow a few stacks of plastic seats from your local Swim and Tennis Club to set up a few rows for a more venue-like setup).
  • Have the host or someone introduce the act. That’s the classy thing to do.
  • Invite your performers to hang out between sets or after their show. Maybe they can, maybe they can’t, but the last thing you want is for them to feel like they need to hit the curb between sets or immediately afterwards.
  • If you didn’t invite the neighbors to your backyard show, try to at least give them a heads up. Inviting them exponentially lowers the chance of them raising a stink.
  • Do your due-diligence. See videos like the one above or go see the act in person so you know who you are hiring. Comedians can get R-rated real quick, so keep that in mind if there’s kids in attendance.
  • Encourage people to tip! And let your performers know its okay for them to encourage listeners to tip or self-promote their newsletter or whatever.

Does Whats Up Dunwoody have any recommendations for performers?

Sure, here’s some people we’ve seen in a backyardy, swim-clubby type of way…