Hosting music networking events

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Marc Alan Barnette (L) plays a 3rd Sunday. Photo by Kat Speer.
Marc Alan Barnette (L) plays a 3rd Sunday.
Photo by Kat Speer.

I tried it, and I am proud to say that for 112 months in a row, from March 2003 through July 2012, I hosted a successful music event at my house in Nashville called the “3rd Sunday at 3:00.” “Sunday Dinner With Your Songwriting Family” was another name for it – where friends were made and songs were played!

By the end of the run, the event grew to about 100 songwriters and musicians coming to my house each month. Folks would bring and enjoy food and beverages while playing songs in various rooms of the house, outside on the deck, in the driveway, and on the yard.

The idea started when a friend came to my house and we talked about a man in Greenwich Village, NYC who hosted a Monday night dinner. This fellow cooked spaghetti, and you had to sing a song you wrote to get a plate! I didn’t want to cook every Monday, so I came up with the idea to invite 30 people over who were new to Nashville for a potluck dinner to play our original songs. It happened to be on a third Sunday of the month, so we ran with it and “3rd Sunday at 3:00” was born.

As the event got more well known, all levels of songwriters would come to my house – those new to town or just visiting Nashville, and many hit songwriters, as well – to eat, network, share ideas, and play their original songs.

The networking and relationships grew, and oftentimes songwriters would co-write after meeting at the house. One bass player told me last year that he met an artist nine years prior, at one of the first events. Those two got together, and within two years, the two were recording together in England at Peter Gabriel’s studio. He thanked me for hosting that event, and he is now on the road with a very successful artist. Other songwriters have cut each other’s songs from hearing them at 3rd Sunday at 3:00.

Preparing the house
The event takes a lot of effort – setting up the house and yard with tables and chairs, plus getting paper plates, plastic spoons and forks, cups, napkins, coolers and plenty of plastic garbage bags and trash cans. I also put a time limit for the event and always ended at 8:00pm as people would stay until midnight if you let them!

We had a restaurant sponsor, Bojangles Chicken, who donated 60 pieces of chicken, fixins, and sweet tea for every event. Everyone was asked to bring additional food or beverages to contribute, and I’d keep the food and drinks in my garage.

Having ample parking was essential. I was blessed to have a church across the street that allowed us to use their parking lot, and there was a cell tower behind my house with another big area for parking.

You can check out photos from the 3rd Sundays at 3:00 and my annual “Guitar-BQ,” another event I used to host.

One important thing to consider if you want to host events like these is liability – make sure your insurance policy protects you in case someone falls up or down your stairs, over or through your deck, or for any accident that could happen at your home.

I do not host these Sunday get-togethers any more, as I’ve moved out of my house and don’t have the space to facilitate an event of this scope any longer. But a nine-year run is pretty good! Why not start a monthly gathering in your home or somewhere in your community – new friendships and a songwriting family will happen!

Arriving in Nashville in 2002, Doak Turner has had a unique impact on one of the world’s most famous music cities. Doak was awarded the NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International) Community Ambassador Award in 2012, founded a weekly newsletter called The Nashville Muse, and launched, a website that hosts over 300 video interviews with music industry pros, producers, and songwriters. He also hosted events such as the “3rd Sunday at 3” songwriters roundtable, and the annual “Guitar-B-Q” networking events.

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12 thoughts on “Hosting music networking events

  1. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I have truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts.
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  2. My name is William C. Bushey, My singing and performing name is Billy Chas. Bushey, I am a musician singer and a songwriter, I do play a guitar and a harmonica. At this time, I am wroking with new musician for are band, and I am trying to find a drumer, keepbord player, fiddle player, and back up singers. I do have a lead guitar player and a rhythm guitar player and he is a songwriter also. We are looking for concerts for 2013, at fairs and other outdoor concerts also. In Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Are band is called ( Wings Of The Wind ) And just to let you now a little bit about me and were I have played. I have played from 1970 to 2011. And I a’m trying to start a new band for 2013. And In1993, I have played at fairs in Minnesota, and Wisconsin, and other concerts also. And in 1993, I did have a audition at DollyWood as a singer and entertainer. But at that time, I den’t now they need a full band and I den’t have my band with me and they only had a few limited number of position to fill at that time. But the Audition Committee heard me sing and play and they really like me. And they really encourage me to pursue my performance endeavors at that time also. And so I did, in 1994, some one from Chicago, heard me sing at the Superior, fair in Wisconsin. And she asked me, if I would be interested in singing at a big outdoor concerted in Chicago in 1994. And I said, I would and she said, I have some promoter call you. So I gave her my Phone number. And they did call me to sing and perform there. And it was great. I also sang at some Churchs when I was there. And it got late at that outdoor concerted and they wan’ted me back. again. And I lost the two promoters cards that they gave me. And I den’t now how to get a hold of them. I really felt bad. Will God only now’s. But if you would be enterested us, could you let me now. P.S. I also did album in 1989 at sound 80 Minneapolis MN. ( Called Hears Where I Belong ) I did a 1,000 album, and sold them all at Music Land at the Duluth, Mall. and at fairs. And the music store is not there anymore at the Duluth, Mall. I only have 3 album left. If you would like one of my CD. I would send you one, with some cover songs and my songs. I do have some of my songs at the ( United States Copyright Office Register at the Libary of Congress ) So could you let me now. I would need your address, to send my CD to you. I don’t like puting them on my computer. Thank you for your time. P.S. I am a lot older now, but I can still sing and write new song and perform.

    Mr. William C. Bushey.
    Or Billy Chas. Bushey.
    Singer and Songwriter and Musician.
    Facebook Password
    God Bless.

  3. My husband, Gerald, & I attended many of Doak’s “3rd Sunday at 3” events when we lived in Nashville. It was fun, low pressure way to meet people, share our songs, and learn from others. We’re really thankful for the experience!

  4. 9 years, Wow! I’ve been thinking about doing something similar in my community. On a smaller scale, my parking is limited, but I’m thinking in this, maybe theres a way to get around it. Thanks for the inspiration and great ideas.

  5. As a Indie singer/songwriter with ten hits in UK and getting ready to sign with PreetyBoy, genre blues, and registered with BMI in Nashville and AFM 257 in Nashville. I would like to be able to attend one of these get togethers let me know

  6. Thought your readers might want to know about our March 12 online panel discussion on the pros/cons of sending out review copies as digital downloads. More info/register: Sponsored by the Jazz Journalists Association (sorry for posting here, but couldn’t find a contact email for you guys.)

  7. Thought your readers might want to know about our March 12 online panel discussion on the pros/cons of sending out review copies as digital downloads. More info/register: Sponsored by the Jazz Journalists Association (sorry for posting here, but couldn’t find a contact email for you guys.)

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