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Top 5 Best Live Music Ideas for an Outdoor Summer Party (2024)


Have you been planning a big outdoor summer party, but got stuck on the live music? Well, fortunately, we are here to help you with your musical needs…

Choosing what vibe will work with your guests, setting, and occasion can be a bit daunting. There is so much great music out there, but whether it will suit an outdoor summer party is another matter.

As a general rule, outdoor music needs to be logistically simple to set up (no stress) and entertaining (it’s a party!). Luckily, Encore has a catalogue of thousands of musicians all across the UK that are used to exactly this kind of event. So, you’ve come to the right place!

Here are our top 5 live music options for the outdoor summer party you’ll never forget.

Need more general advice on hiring musicians? Read our Ultimate Price Guide to Hiring Musicians

Acoustic Singing Guitarist

  • Atmosphere: Chilled out summer vibes
  • Cost: £250-£400
  • Encore Top Tips

We all know that guy who picks up the acoustic guitar at a party and plays a cringe-worthy version of Wonderwall… So, for your own sake, we’d highly advise hiring one of Encore’s many professional singing guitarists. That way, you and your guests will remain in a safe, Wonderwall-free space all evening. Ah, bliss…

But on a serious note, a singing guitarist is an amazingly versatile, engaging, and low-effort entertainment option. Often all they will need to do is rock up and start playing and singing. They will also be able to sing and play the songs you love, so if you have some specific tunes in mind and love an acoustic cover, this is a great option for you.

They work brilliantly as a bit of background ambience or on the main stage of your event. And, because they accompany themselves on the guitar, you are also only paying for one person’s time, making this a cost-effective option.

Thom is a talented singing guitarist on Encore Musicians, performing Here Comes the Sun. A fitting track for the sunny, summer days!

Need more info? Check out our Singer Booking Guide

Jazz Band

  • Atmosphere: Classy and upbeat
  • Cost: £220-£400 per group member
  • Encore Top Tips

There’s nothing quite like a jazz band. Whether you’re after some classic Sinatra tunes, smooth New York jazz lounge vibes, or jazzy pop covers, there’s a jazz band for you out there.

Jazz bands are always a favourite with crowds, they are super engaging, often play requests with a moment’s notice, and have that wow-factor with their flashy solos.

They are usually very low maintenance (often bringing their own PA system if needed). And they come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so you can easily find something that works for your event and budget.

A garden party, drinks, good company, and jazz. What more could you want?

Check out Encore jazz band Neon Blue, you can just imagine them playing in the sunshine now…

If you need more help hiring a jazz band, check out our Booking Guide for Jazz Bands.

Strolling Band

  • Atmosphere: Interactive and entertaining
  • Cost: £250-£500 per group member. £750-£1500 for a 3-piece. £1000-£2000 for a 4-piece.
  • Encore Top Tips

Strolling bands are a super engaging, alternative form of entertainment for an event. They will circulate around your event playing all your favourite tunes. They come in a variety of shapes and forms so do be sure to check out the profiles on Encore to see what band will suit your event most.

At Encore we have over 80 of the most professional acts for you to choose from, perfectly suited to an outdoor summer party. These bands are often well suited to be outdoors, have minimal equipment to set up other than their instruments, and often can play requests at a moment’s notice.

In general, these bands also work perfectly as the main event (especially the louder ones) but also as background music for a more low-key affair.

Wandering Soul are a fantastic acoustic strolling band, playing old jazzy tunes to disco classics…

Cocktail Pianist

  • Atmosphere: Classy and elegant
  • Cost: £180-£450
  • Encore Top Tips

Moving back to something a bit more classic, having a cocktail pianist at your event will certainly create a classy posh atmosphere. The ideal complement to your post-COVID summer celebration party… Imagine that posh hotel you’ve always wanted to have a party at. Well, now you can create the same vibe outdoors (for much cheaper!).

Pianists are super versatile, often being able to take requests, having minimal setup and still being really entertaining for your guests. This is another option that can work brilliantly as a showcase or background entertainment.

Because pianists work so well on their own, you’re also only paying for one person’s time so it is a slightly more cost-effective option than others.

Ben Harker plays some smooth jazz, perfect to create that cocktail bar vibe at your next summer party…

If you need extra information about finding the perfect pianist, check out our Pianist Booking Guide

A Capella Group

  • Atmosphere: Modern, fun and a bit whacky!
  • Cost: £220-£400 per group member. £850-£1500 for a small to medium group, £1200-£2500 for large groups.
  • Encore Top Tips

If you like the idea of vocals at your event, but want something a bit bigger than just an acoustic guitarist, then an a capella group or gospel choir is the choice for you. They’ll be able to perform covers of your favourite songs in a beautiful, harmonised way, with bucketloads of style.

Do remember, that with all entertainment, the higher the price the better the quality. So do check out our groups’ profiles on Encore to make sure you are getting the kind of quality you want!

It can’t get more low-maintenance than an all-vocal group too. They will literally turn up and start singing! They can also roam around your open-air event if you need them to, take requests, and interact with guests!

We know you’ve always wanted a private Pitch Perfect party, so what are you waiting for…

Check out Encore’s Vadé performing a classic by Daniel Caeser. They perform a huge range of styles, so it’s up to your imagination…



Matt Venvell

Matt is a recent Music Graduate of Oxford University. He now splits his time between being a freelance drummer/percussionist and a content writer. In between these, Matt loves to learn about how the world works, enjoys the outdoors, and is always looking for more music recommendations.

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