Written By Ashley Feller

Photos By Ken Shaffer and Josh Brick

Woods The Band at 24 Oak Ave.
Photo By Ken Shaffer

Music is a universal language, it is non-tangible yet we can all feel it. It can make us dance, smile, and weep uncontrollably. There is something to be said about seeing it performed live that does not compare to zoning out with headphones while we perform our daily mundane tasks, or sing along in the car on our daily commutes. When you attend a live music event you allow for a greater connection with those making it to enter your soul and theirs. Music is a source of vitality for many, here are Five Ways to Get More Live Music in Your Life.

Attend or Host a House Concert

The Wabis Sabis Performing at Millies Downtown Panama City Fl.
Photo By Ken Shaffer
Micky Abraham and Katherine Belle Long performing at a house concert.
Photo by Ken Shaffer

House concerts are becoming increasingly popular among music lovers and musicians. This is an intimate gathering at the host’s home. Unlike a house party this is much more personal. Most often the host sets up seating to resemble a concert hall or requests guests bring chairs. The audience respectfully remains quiet in most situations and enjoys an up close and personal performance by the artist or small ensemble. This is especially popular for singer songwriters in the Americana scene. It is a chance for their fans to focus on the lyrics, and enjoy the back stories of their favorite songs. You can find house concerts by searching the hashtag “House Concerts” or googling “House Concerts” followed by the city you’d like to see one in. Whether you are hosting or attending you are supporting the musician’s livelihood and making it possible for that musician to continue creating more music for everyone to enjoy.

Charm City Bluegrass Festival
Photo by Josh Brick

Go To A Music Festival

Festivals are an indulgent experience in a multitude of ways. They are the all you can eat buffet for music gluttons. Some festivals are small and feature terrific underground bands, with a moderate number of attendees, while others  are gigantic events with corporate sponsors that feature big name acts. Both are positive experiences depending on your preferences. Some festivals feature a variety of music genres while others focus on specific forms for a more niche audience. The festivals can take place in fields where attendees are encouraged to camp and enjoy a village like experience and then there are others that take place in large cities that involve booking hotel rooms, transportation and the venue is permanent establishments in the city itself. Attending music festivals is a fantastic way to get more live music because it allows the opportunity for a smorgasbord of melodic decadence. 

Befriend A Musician

Everyone needs community to thrive. Especially the creative people. By making friends with a musician you may even become a source of inspiration to them. Musicians often need volunteers to be part of their street team to help promote their shows. The term “Street Team” has modulated with the increase in technology use in marketing. Bands still need people to distribute flyers, but currently more need their friends to share their posts on social media, tell people about the wonderful experience their band is, help sell merch and plenty of other promotional tasks. So the next time you’re at a live show don’t be afraid to talk to the musicians on break and ask if there is something you can do to help their career. Helping a creative person reach their potential is fulfilling because you are directly stepping into their mission of sharing music with as many people as possible. You’ll have a closer relationship with the person you are helping and their music will have a much more substantial value to you because you are helping with your support and friendship. 

The St. Andrews Jezebels with Ashley Feller
Little Village Panama City , Florida
Photo By Ken Shaffer

Prioritize Live Performances in Small Local Venues

You don’t have to travel cross country to see spectacular live music. Even in rural areas there is often at least one place to see musicians doing what they do best. When catching a live show in a small venue you are not only feeding your local economy you are also feeding the business owners, the staff and the performers. It’s also a casual way to reconnect with friends who really need to be blown away by a smoking hot band and let loose. 

Anthony Peebles Performing at Millies Downtown Panama City
A Few Miles South Performing at Sheffield Park Concert Series Lynn Haven Florida
Photo by Ken Shaffer

Watch at Live Music Broadcast

Social Media platforms are becoming an increasingly popular way for musicians to reach their audience. Many of them do live broadcasts from their Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and official websites. Granted this might not be an “in the flesh” experience but it is a performance in real time and a chance to interact with the band if they allow for it. There are also larger companies like Nugs.net that have subscription services that cover live performances in venues like Red Rocks, large music festivals and more. If you simply can’t afford tickets, or take time off from work this is a great alternative. Lots of bands promote their live performances months in advance and even release teaser videos to entice their fans to tune in when the concert is happening. Watching a concert from your living room is a fun way to gather friends, make some snacks and enjoy the show without leaving your home.

Bonita Underground at 24 Oak Ave. Downtown Panama City
Photo By Ken Shaffer

Live music can be a life altering experience not only for listeners but for musicians. The bands and solo artists feel more purpose and inspiration when in front of a live audience. Supporting live music and making a point to make it a prominent part of your life is an essential part of being a good citizen. When we support the arts we are in better health, and influence our communities to grow.