Ever been to a concert where the person in front of you refuses to sit his large self down, ever? Or the woman behind you keeps talking to her companion, even during the softest ballads? Or how about the guy—you’ve heard him if you’re in Charleston—who insists on expressing his appreciation with a crow’s caw that makes you want to pull his tonsils out?
When you’ve paid your hard-earned money for a ticket, you might be forgiven for looking around and thinking how much better this concert would be without so many people you don’t know. That’s the concept behind Music With Friends, billed as “the ultimate music lover’s concert experience.”
Founder and CEO Larry Farber says he created Music With Friends because he wanted to create “a different paradigm.”
“I wanted something where every seat was a great seat, where you could get up close and personal, you would sit there and get a row by your good friends and see legendary artists.”
The concept is simple: three concerts a year during the spring and fall are held at the Dock Street Theatre, which only holds 400. The concert starts with a cocktail party and ends with a gathering.
Members pay $1650 a year in addition to an initiation fee, and get the same guaranteed seat to all concerts, parking, food and drink at the parties, and a shot at being one of only 30 to head backstage to chat with the artist.
“We’re paying the artist the same amount they would get if play in a larger venue, with all the amenities and perks,” Farber says. “That’s makes it so special.”
He admits that the price makes it “not for everybody.”
“A lot of people may say, ‘With our discretionary income, we’d rather pay $100 for a concert and sit with 10,000 people.’ We cater to people who just love music and want to see it in a different way and to be there with friends. And the artists love it. Glenn Frey? When he played, he told the crowd he’d never played in a place more beautiful. That made my day, and that’s been the case with most artists.”
Farber started Music with Friends in Charlotte in 2007 and moved the concept to Charleston in 2010 with a concert featuring Diana Ross. There is also a Music with Friends in Houston and Farber says members can trade seats with other members if they are going to be in town and want to see a particular show.
Farber says he hopes to explore all kinds of music in the future.
“If you and I were in a book club or a wine club and had gone through the Merlots and the Chardonnays, I would say let’s experiment and see what people will like. We’re always trying to come up with new ideas, see what people will like.”
Future shows include Kool and the Gang on August 30 and Vince Gill on November 8.
To join Music with Friends, contact Becky Mitchener at firstname.lastname@example.org.