During the stay-at-home order, consumers ordered everything from hand-rolled sushi to premixed margaritas over ice. But takeout is no longer just reserved for cuisine and cocktails. For those having withdrawals from festival and show cancellations, Curbside Concerts — an Uber Eats-inspired live music delivery service — offers a remedy by offering a made-to-order intimate concert experience right outside your door.
“Todd and Maura Altschuler, live music fans with ties to their local concert community in Frisco, Colorado, had a simple idea to resurrect their music scene safely,” said Lauren Swanson, marketing director for Curbside Concerts. “They realized that anyone with a home and an extension cord can still enjoy a concert responsibly.”
In May, The Altschulers reached out to friends and told them to run an extension cord, a household item normally reserved for Christmas lights, to the end of their driveway. They then recruited musician Beau Thomas to perform short sets from the back of his car.
“The test run proved that concerts could be contactless, convenient and fun,” Swanson said.
Now, folks can simply select who they want to have play for them by typing their zip code, town or city into Curbside’s search engine. Doing so populates listings of available musicians, descriptions of the music style, rates and some even provide a link to a YouTube video that offers a taste of what home-show attendees can expect to hear.
“The response from both musicians and live music fans has been overwhelmingly positive,” Swanson said. “Musicians are excited to get back to work, playing music face-to-face with appreciative fans. Concert hosts have expressed immense gratitude for the opportunity to have live music at home.”
Fans can line up camp chairs on driveways or dance on porches as they enjoy new and familiar tunes without ever leaving the neighborhood.
More than 100 musicians in 12 states have already signed up to be a part of this new gigging venture that launched nationally June 9.
“Musicians were hit pretty hard during the shutdown and life doesn’t seem to be getting much easier for them throughout the summer,” said Maura Altschuler, Curbside Concerts co-founder. “We’re psyched that people nationwide are checking it out and hope that it’s a great platform for them.”
Members of well-known bands such as Umphrey’s McGee, Dopapod and Kung Fu are among the talent featured on the site that can be hired by buyers that happen to live in the respective areas of those artists.
Concerts run for 60, 90 or 120 minutes and have hourly rates set through three different tiers of artists: classic, premium and platinum.
Musicians choose their tier, and tiers determine the pricing for the concert hosts. Concerts start at $100 per hour for classic musicians and $200 per hour for premium musicians. Platinum musicians determine their own hourly rate that exceeds $200.
“We’ve played roughly 100 Curbside Concerts shows and things are starting to pick up, especially for the Fourth of July weekend,” Swanson said.
A variety of artists from Loveland, Lafayette, Niwot, Longmont, Boulder, Nederland, Broomfield, Brighton, Arvada, Denver, Golden, Greeley and Fort Collins can be found on the site.
Derek Dames Ohl of Flash Mountain Flood and Al Laughlin of reggae-influenced rock band The Samples are among many Front Range musicians that will pack up their gear and play on lawns of music lovers.
Curbside musicians pay a monthly subscription fee based on their hourly rate or can choose a pay-as-you-go option.
Todd Altschuler, co-founder of Curbside Concerts, also owns 10 Mile Music Hall in Frisco — a rustically charming music and wedding venue that sits 9,097 feet above sea level. The venue, that had to shutter on March 12, previously held shows with Rising Appalachia, Perpetual Groove and SunSquabi.
Now, the venue is offering the occasional outdoor, small-scale, show.
“I wish it was temporary, but it seems like we’ll be closed for concerts for a long while,” said Todd Altschuler. “Having music on the deck is nice and brings back a little bit of normalcy even with the strict distancing guidelines. When there’s a vaccine and concerts do come back, the landscape is probably going to look a lot different and I hope that as many small and independent venues as possible are still around when that happens.”
In the meantime, Curbside customers can get a live music fix with a night of social distance jams.
“For many live music lovers and concertgoers, music is more than just entertainment,” Swanson said. “Music is medicine. It’s a sense of community. It’s social currency and it’s how and where we connect with each other. During these chaotic times, Curbside Concerts gives musicians and music fans a place to connect with their tribe face-to-face, while prioritizing safety and wellness.”
Birthdays, anniversaries or just a random Tuesday can get that much more celebratory with the right soundtrack. Backyards and alleyways have replaced packed barrooms and multi-seat theaters.
“There has been an abundance of gratitude thrown our way by people that have hosted concerts,” Maura Altschuler said. “Statements like, ‘It made us feel alive,’ ‘We’re eternally grateful’ and a big one is ‘I thought I wouldn’t see live music this summer, thank you for making it possible.’ We hope that as many people as possible are able to feel that same joy.”