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7 Live Music Ideas for a Summer Garden Party

Party entertainment advice

Party entertainment advice

Celebrate the end of lockdown with an outdoor event or summer garden party with live music! We have upbeat gypsy jazz trios, steel pannists, string trios and more.

7 Live Music Ideas for a Summer Garden Party

1 Dixieland jazz band

7 Live Music Ideas for a Summer Garden Party

The uplifting sounds of dixieland music are perfectly suited to a summer garden gathering. Dixieland musicians are acoustic and don't need a power supply, freeing them up to move from one spot to the next at the drop of a (straw) hat.

Check out The 12th Street Swingers (pictured) or the The Slick City Jazz Stompers (both London-based). They're available in line-ups from a duo to a 7-piece and typically feature banjo, sousaphone and and a lead instrument such as clarinet or trumpet.

If you're looking for more modern jazz, Midnight Blue (Surrey) throw in their own jazzy takes on modern pop songs by Nirvana, Pharrell and Avicii. They can also perform completely unplugged.


2 Steel pan band

7 Live Music Ideas for a Summer Garden Party

Nothing says summer like the celebratory sound of a steel band. The association with carnival partying and dancing is undeniable, and if you want to put a smile on your guests' faces and see them moving to a meringue or a Marley classic, this is the way to go!

The Merry-Makers, The Steel Panthers (both London) and Real Steel (Manchester, pictured) play upbeat and joyful soca, calypso and reggae.

Like Dixieland bands, most steel bands don't need a power supply, meaning you can put them anywhere in your garden. Check this with the band first though, in case they plan to supplement their acoustic pans with electric instruments such as bass and guitar.


3 Acoustic soloist or duo

7 Live Music Ideas for a Summer Garden Party

If sing-a-long tunes that everyone knows are a must, a solo guitar vocalist is the perfect entertainment option for your garden party.

For a bit more rhythmic punch (without breaking the sound barrier and driving your neighbours crazy), consider a duo. Marcel & Matt (London) and Gemma & Phil (Manchester) both play upbeat pop and soul from all eras.

For a more bohemian vibe, The Softsteppers (Hampshire, pictured) or The Canapes (London) have graced numerous festival-style outdoor knees-ups.

For larger acoustic roaming line-ups, check out The Wandering Lights or Rewind (both London).

Be aware that line-ups featuring a vocalist may require access to a power supply (in order to power a small vocal PA), depending on the size of the event / how many guests you're expecting.


4 Brass band

7 Live Music Ideas for a Summer Garden Party

For a fun-filled performance of catchy pop tunes, consider a brass fusion band. These combine traditional brass instruments with drum kit for fresh, upbeat entertainment.

Plus, with no need for a power supply or a complicated set up, they're the perfect fuss-free musical option.

Enjoy a raucous, New Orleans vibe with Big Easy Brass Band (London) who love to roam and get your guests involved in performance, from a safe distance of course!

Drum 'n' Brass (Manchester, pictured) play fun and upbeat versions of pop hits to tap your toes or dance to, while Street Beat Band (London) offer the option of pop songs or oompah.


5 String trio or quartet

7 Live Music Ideas for a Summer Garden Party

If you're looking for more formal summer garden party entertainment, a string trio or quartet will create an elegant, sophisticated ambience. Some of our customers' favourites are London-based The Clemenza String Ensemble (London) or Sakura String Quartet (Manchester).

String ensembles won't need a power supply, but be aware that sunlight and rain can seriously damage ancient instruments so some shelter (eg. a three-sided gazebo) is required.


6 Gypsy jazz or French musette

7 Live Music Ideas for a Summer Garden Party

Gypsy Jazz and Hot Club style music will bring a sunny, bohemian spirit to your festivities. For foot-tapping finesse from duos to quartets, have a listen to Spirit of Django (Brighton, pictured), The Smokin' Romas (Gloucestershire), and Gypsy Street (London).

For a traditional Parisian feel, book a band playing French musette and chansons. Vive La France! or Chansons de Paris (both London) combine accordion with clarinets and other acoustic instruments.


7 Alternative acts

7 Live Music Ideas for a Summer Garden Party

For something a little different, consider the unique, uplifting sound of ukulele music. Uke Party (London, pictured) are fun and great value!

A Mariachi band can bring all the joy of a Mexican party straight to your garden! Check out The Mariachi Warriors (London) one of our finest.

For a Spanish vibe, book a flamenco guitarist or a group featuring traditional flamenco dancers.

For some historically-themed entertainment, consider The Tudor Minstrel (Lincoln) or The Medieval Stroller (Leeds).

Need more advice? Give us a call on 0333 242 0560 or email info@functioncentral.co.uk and our live music booking experts will be happy to help.