The Bristol Press – Bristol couple welcome musical artists into their home
BRISTOL — Bristol couple Paul and Diane Wallen combine their love of live music, support for emerging artists and community brotherhood by hosting house gigs, a trend in the music scene in which private residences and properties host small gigs.
The couple were introduced to holding house concerts by first hosting a band called Mandolin Orange for a performance at their home when they lived in Florida.
“Their manager asked if we wanted to do a house gig with them,” Paul said. “I was like definitely. What is a house concert? »
According to Paul, he and his wife open their home to friends and strangers, whom they hope to become friends, as part of their passion project, Acousticool. Acousticool is a series of concerts hosted by the couple in the privacy of their property where they focus on providing a platform for emerging artists from across the country. Some artists will even make a habit of touring concerts nationwide, including the home of the Wallens.
“The house we live in now has a natural space in our basement set up for little house concerts. We had a lot of fun doing it and so, even seven years later, we’re still working out the details together,” Paul said.
The owner noted that there weren’t many places to gather to listen to the types of music he and his wife enjoyed. Acousticool artists often play modern versions of traditional string music. They can play guitar, fiddle, fiddle and more.
“It’s pretty much all word of mouth,” Paul said. “It’s not a public place. We are trying to clarify this. These are private events but we welcome new music-loving friends.
He noted that many times people who attend home concerts can find out about them because they are following an artist or hearing about an event from someone else who attended.
“So they come and say ‘Oh, that’s great’ and keep an eye on who’s playing here,” Paul said. “Some become regulars and come all the time and others may come occasionally when there’s someone they like to play. It’s a steady, gradual growth.
Acousticool has had up to 80 people at a show, but more typically around 30-40. Paul noted that the series is trying to fit in a lot of artists this year to make up for shows lost during the pandemic. Ideally, the Wallens would like to put on 12 shows a year after working out the necessary details.
“There is a need for a place where independent musicians can play and we try to provide that whenever possible,” said the home concert series coordinator.
The Wallens have gone so far as to invest in creating an outdoor concert space and stage, as well as electrical equipment such as a mixing board and more to support guest artists. It’s all done out of pocket, Paul said.
Those wishing to view such performances may RSVP online and pay admission, with all proceeds going to the performer. The Wallens simply provided space and didn’t take a cut. Paul said he and his wife probably wouldn’t make Acousticool a business because they do it as a passion project.
For more information, visit the Acousticool Facebook page.