July 4th is on Wednesday this year. And unless you want to use precious vacation days, it’s not ideal for getaways.
But if you have a deck or patio — as most of our clients do — you won’t have to go anywhere.
Rather than travel, why not use your home’s hardscape as a stage for a July 4th family concert? Even if it’s small in area, young kids would love to put on a dance recital.
Perhaps older members of the family can get out their acoustic guitars, ukuleles, fiddles, or accordions.
All you need is a family that doesn’t mind the spotlight. And, if one or more happen to play in a rock band — you’ve got the potential for one of your neighborhood’s best-ever July 4th parties.
Consider Jennifer and Art Vomvas, clients of ours from E. Norwich. They had just such a summer bash last year, that wasn’t even planned.
“My son, Paul, and his friends from the neighborhood formed a rock band, The Skiffs, a while back,” says Jennifer.
“One day last summer, they decided to practice in the backyard. It was a lovely day and a lot of neighbors were outside, so people started just gathering at our place, including Paul’s younger sister, Emily and her friends. It was Emily who took photos of them practicing.”
The music was a natural attraction, and the Vomvas family’s backyard patio ended up becoming the stage for an impromptu neighborhood rock concert.
“It was in full swing when I got home,” continues Jennifer. “It was completely organic. So I didn’t prepare anything for it in advance. But if I were planning to get my son’s band to play here on the 4th, I’d grab a few extra folding chairs for the neighbors. And instead of having them sit around our outdoor dining table, I’d move it aside and have a few buffet-style munchies people could grab and eat.”
Her son, Paul, adds, “We didn’t actually have this practice-concert on July 4th, but if we do one on the holiday, we would just include a few patriotic rock numbers in our sets.” (Ideas on that below).
Paul Vomvas and his band play at The Homestead Restaurant in Oyster Bay on Wednesday nights.
They call themselves a Jam Band. They write their own songs in addition to doing covers of such rock legends as The Grateful Dead, the Talking Heads, and Herbie Hancock.
The Vomvas Patio
“Deck and Patio built our Belgian Block patio several years ago,” says Jennifer.“They designed it in two-tiers, in a curvy amorphous shape with attractive edging.
“The upper level is home to our barbecue and grill and dining table with chairs, and the lower area houses the fire pit with seating. And there are plantings around the perimeter. Last summer, Paul’s band just moved the upper-level chairs to the lower level, leaving the top tier empty for a stage.”
Jennifer adds that this design also adds interest and divides the space into almost two different rooms.
Deck and Patio’s Dave Stockwell says that another reason for designing a two-level patio is it helps to make smaller spaces appear larger. “This is particularly important in Nassau County, NY, where properties are tightly compacted,” he says.
Hosting a July 4th Home Rock Concert
If your deck or patio becomes the stage for a home Rock concert this July 4th, there’s several good patriotic anthems you could request if the band is familiar with them:
Who’ll ever forget Jimi Hendrix’s electric version of the Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock. There’s also John Mellencamps’ Little Pink Houses (a.k.a. Ain’t That America). Paul recommends one of his favorites: U.S. Blues by The Grateful Dead.
So! As Jennifer says, why not borrow some folding chairs before the 4th. Have some easy finger food and drinks at the ready. Then plug in the guitars. Have someone agree to take the photos and video. And let your patio or deck be the stage. We’re pretty sure your neighbors will not only gather, but they might bring the beer and soft drinks, too.
Note: Our feature photo at the top of this page is of the E. Norwich band, The Skiffs. Pictured from L-R are: Keys/Owen Zahradnik, Guitar/Jon Swiss, Drums/Joey McConnell, Bass/Paul Vomvas, and Guitar/Matt Jaronczyk. Vomvas home photos by Emily Vomvas.
Now. Here’s a little John Mellencamp to get you in the Rock-concert-planning mood.