Maybe it was fatigue. Could have been gas prices. But at some point around 2009, Rob Poole and Carol Puckett had a new thought.
What if, instead of driving all over the place to see live music, we bring the live music to us?
“So we gave it a shot,” Poole said. “We were at a show and loved this particular musician, so I sauntered up and asked if he’d consider coming to Pittsburg to play.”
He said yes.
“Oh, ok,” Poole thought, “now what do we do?”
Well, like many welcoming Midwestern folk, Poole and Puckett invited the band over to their home, and Olive Street House Concerts was born.
“We had gone to several house concerts in the region, and we loved the experience,” Puckett said. “We thought this would be a neat way of bringing more live music to Pittsburg.”
They also thought that the first time may be the only time this happened.
“We weren’t really sure how this would go,” Poole said. “We were happy to host a house concert here in Pittsburg, and if it ended up being the only one we ever did, that’s fine. It would still be a lot of fun.”
More than a decade and 80+ shows later…
“It caught on,” he said. “The people here have been incredibly receptive and supportive. There is an intimacy to house concerts that you can’t get at a bar or even a larger venue. I think the musicians and the audience both appreciate that close-knit, community atmosphere of a house concert.
“And,” he said, “we were able to keep it going all the way up to Covid, when everything stopped.”
“We’re very excited to be back hosting concerts”
The concerts may have stopped, but the dream did not. In fact, the downtime during the pandemic led Poole and Puckett to take their house concert series to the next level.
“We had kicked around the idea of having a non-profit,” Poole said, “and during the pandemic when everything was shut down, we used that time to work on getting that going.”
Puckett said the non-profit, officially called Olive Street Presents, comes with several benefits.
“It helps us with fundraising,” she said. “We can write grants and take donations.”
Poole added, “It also helps us when trying to rent a performance space, such as the small stage at the Bicknell Center.”
Check out the Olive Street Presents website for upcoming live shows and concerts.
“We’re very excited to be back hosting concerts,” Poole said. “I can’t say enough great things about the people at the Bicknell Center. They have been incredibly supportive and helped us with whatever we’ve needed.”
It’s also nice, he said, to continue to bring more live music to Pittsburg.
“Small towns are often passed over by touring musicians in favor of larger venues, more convenient routing, and more potential revenue. Or they simply don’t know we exist,” Poole said. “Because we love live music close to home, we’re trying to expand our house concerts into the greater community.”