How to Host An Acoustic Gig And A Rock 'N' Roll Summer BBQ

How to Host An Acoustic Gig And A Rock 'N' Roll Summer BBQ

As you may well be aware (unless you've been living under a sofa for the past month or so), the sun has got its party hat on and it looks like it's out to play, permanently (or at least until Autumn). 

That said, if you want to celebrate this most sunny of seasons in the most epic way possible, hosting a rock 'n' roll summer BBQ complete with a live acoustic music set is not some far-flung luxury - it's a necessity. And if you or your pals have the outdoor space to make it happen, you'd better get planning, right now.

Not sure where to start? Never fear, because our quickfire rock 'n' roll summer BBQ guide is here to walk you through the process.

Let's get going.

epic bbq



Here are all of the key elements you need to consider to get the BBQ portion of your evening just right.

The Set-up :

Now, when we say the set-up, we're referring to the core preparations for the entire night: get these right and you'll be able to maximize the fun and reduce the headache of hosting.

So, here's what you need to consider during the big set-up:

  • Make sure all of your valuables, both inside and out, are stashed away safe (carnage will ensue).
  • Create communal areas in all party zones by clearing open spaces and setting up blankets, tables and chairs in the most appropriate places.
  • Put out recycling bags and bins throughout the party trail to prevent an epic hungover clean up the following morning.
  • Add an element of rock n' roll style to your pad with battery powered fairy lights, solar panelled lanterns and generally awesome shrines to rock and roll glory (paintings, prints, pictures, etc.)
  • Make sure you allocate ashtrays and puke points to the best-trodden areas of your party zone - Peep Show, anyone?

The Food

Whether you're using a gas or charcoal BBQ, to be truly rock and roll, in a culinary sense, you will need to supply epic meat dishes including ribs dripping in sauce, meaty sausages, juicy chicken dishes, homemade beers burgers, sizable corn cobs and all of the accompaniments. Also, don't forget, rock 'n' roll is inclusive of everyone, so make sure you cater for vegans, vegetarians and those with intolerances of any kind. If you don't, you might need those puke points sooner than you think.

To help you in your quest for culinary greatness, here's a rundown of a full-blown BBQ feast to get you started

The Drinks

When you're talking about a rock 'n' roll BBQ, the drinks are perhaps more important than the food. All we'll say here is: make sure there are plenty of beverages in stock, make sure you have bundles of ice and don't forget to buy lots of water (the heat gets to people) and mixers.

Oh, and if you want to get real fancy, why not try a few of these BBQ-approved cocktails out? Bottoms up.

acoustic garden gig

Matt Corby - Radar Illawarra

The Show

Moving onto the gig portion of your potentially legendary rock n' roll summer soiree, here is everything you need to think about to ensure everything goes off without a hitch.

The Sound

The great thing about an acoustic or semi-acoustic gig is that it doesn't take up too much space and you don't need a PA system to make it happen. However, if you'd like to amplify the vocals and make sure they cut through the mix, you can always run you vox mics through a clean guitar amp and set them up on basic mic stands. 

Wherever you set up your performance area, make sure there are no food or drinks too close (this could spell disaster or leave you with an amp that you have to scrape burger buns from for the rest of eternity) and that everyone playing is evenly distributed, as well as central to the crowd. Doing so will make sure the sound projects well throughout the garden. 

Getting your performers arranged right can make or break the sound of an acoustic performance - so designate a sound person with a little experience to help you decide where to place amps, mic stands and seats or stools; you should also do one full soundcheck and a line check before the performance.

Also, 15 minutes before the show, you should get someone to remind all of your rock 'n' roll BBQ goers by hollering a heads up down the microphone and ask one of your 'Bez-like' friends to rally up the troops beforehand.

The Setlist

Your setlist or your musical friend's setlist will be created or developed based on their sound, their songs, their preferences and their potential crowd.

But, to ensure your setlist is as potent as possible for your rock 'n' roll summer BBQ, you should always throw a couple of cover versions into the mix to get the partygoers revved up and in the mood to rock; you should also avoid putting too many anthemic and ballad-type songs together - to keep everyone on their toes, your setlist should be evenly distributed. Plus, to keep the party momentum going, you should play fairly early in the day and no longer than an hour in total - you don't want to bore people, you want them to sing your praises, after all.

How to Host an Acoustic Gig and a Rock 'n' Roll Summer BBQ


The background music

You are the DJ and musical curator of your entire party - so what you play goes. And of course, you're going to play plenty of rock 'n' roll belters from various sub-genres and decades, and you're going to slap a brilliant mix of uppers, downers, movers and shakers on the speakers throughout the BBQ.

But here's a little hack to keep everyone happy: prior to BBQ day, send out a Facebook or WhatsApp message (or something similar...well, you get the message) and ask everyone to put in two song requests. Not only will everyone get something they love, but this will speed up your party playlist curation duties in a huge way.

And if you're stuck for inspiration, you can always find a pre-made Spotify or YouTube party playlist to get things going.

"Just what is it that you want to do?  Well, we wanna be free, we wanna be free to do what we wanna do 
And we wanna get loaded, and we wanna have a good time." - Loaded (sample), Primal Scream

We hope you have the best summer rock 'n' roll BBQ and acoustic gig known to man, and if you get any footage of the event, please do share it with us on Instagram.

Not too fond of the sweltering sun? Here's how to enjoy the summer without it.

Suggested Posts:

4 Easy Summer Cocktail Recipes. Save These For Your Next Backyard BBQ

How To Show Alternative Style At Family Barbecues


About the Author

Daniel Hughes