The best music in the world—according to many who play—is the random music heard around a fire in someone’s backyard. Nothing compares to the real life experience of a crackling outdoor fire and spontaneous live entertainment. The allure of the pairing is so strong, some big music festivals now add “campfire sessions” with the pro musicians to their lineups.
Informal settings encourage the entire group to sing along, keep the beat on a hand drum, or dance to the rhythm of the tunes. Outdoor sing-alongs are both ice-breaking and stress-relieving for all ages.
If you play a portable instrument, having a backyard musical setting is a must. If you don’t play, support the musicians you know (and the ones you want to meet) by creating an outdoor fireside “venue.” The following tips show you how.
Arrange Amplified and Acoustic Options
Around the campfire, acoustic instruments like mandolins, guitars, and banjos shine. The flute, cello, horn, and percussion instrument will also work fine with zero amplification.
At home, there’s no need to limit yourself to acoustic-only playing. Make sure your neighborhood allows backyard amplification. (Most do, as long as you obey quiet-hour ordinances, but always check first.) Then, plan out where you want an amp, speakers, mics, and a drum set to be arranged. You may want a covered deck, pergola, or gazebo setup for the band, with a fire pit area on the lawn near the bandstand.
It’s best to set the fire pit off to one side of the band’s front, since people love to dance in this area. When you locate the fire pit off to the side, people can warm up there, still see the band, and they won’t be blocked by exuberant dancers.
If you have a tiny yard, you don’t need much more than a few bluetooth speakers for recorded music when the musicians are taking a break. It’s fun to have speakers set up with outdoor lights that pulse with the beat for visual interest.
Sit a Spell in the Songwriter’s Spot
If you plan to have a purely acoustic fire pit setting, it’s best to arrange the area in a circular shape around the fire. This arrangement allows the musicians to hear one another without being amplified. It also creates a cozy feeling of camaraderie.
Musicians don’t need armrests—they only get in the way—but they do appreciate good back support and cushioned seats. If you plan to build brick, stone, or other permanent benches for musicians around the fire pit, wait until you test out the heat and smoke your fire pit produce. Musicians don’t mind sweating a bit, but they don’t want to subject sensitive wood instruments to high heat. If you build a circular or long bench too close to the fire, none of the musicians will play around your pit.
Make a few test fires in your pit and have a chair you can move around to check the heat you feel in various spots. Find out which way the smoke blows most often, and avoid placing permanent seating in that spot.
A gas fire pit is a smokeless choice if you’re in a very windy area. Wherever your backyard sits, determine a permanent musician-seating space that’s far enough away from the fire pit to accommodate instruments but close enough for musicians to enjoy the warmth and glow of the flames.
Provide Places for Players’ Particulars
Every instrument player has a kit that may include picks, extra strings, and other gear. These items may be kept in a case or a separate bag. Ensure you provide a covered, safe spot for these items.
Around the fire pit, provide musicians with a place to set their drinks. Small tables with dedicated cup holders are a nice touch. Drinks are less likely to accidentally spill during performances. Just make sure there’s plenty of space between seating and tables so that guitars don’t bang against either while musicians are being seated and tuning up their instruments.
Encourage Epic Events with Extras
You’ll thrill musicians if you stop by the local music shop and pick up a few extra emergency items. Some of the items are small, and can be kept in a bag or box for music nights. Inside you can stow budget-quality:
- Picks of varying thickness
- Extra sets of strings for various instruments
- Tuning easy-winder
- Capos for guitar and mandolin
Throw in some adhesive bandages for fingers, a set of small wire cutters, and a set of needle-nose pliers, and you can make a guitar or banjo player’s night if they lose a pick, play too hard, or break a string.
Other extras are a bit larger but fold down easily to store in a closet or garage. A sheet-music holder is one of those items that folds away into a small package but is definitely a big help for musicians learning new melodies or lyrics. Ample mood and “see-the-music” lighting in the fire pit area are also appreciated.
Collapsible guitar holders are extremely useful tools to have on hand for fire pit musical sessions. Instrument cases are bulky and take up a lot of floor space. But, they can be stored away from the fire pit area when you have folding stands that hold guitars upright while not being played.
The memories you’ll make with your musician-friendly fire pit area are priceless. Contact Alpine Fireplaces today to schedule your outdoor fire pit installation, and start practicing for all of the backyard sing-alongs in your fun future.