After years of running his own music academy and recording studio in the town of Kensington, Sean Gaiser opened GIGS Courtyard, a live-music venue outside of his business, in 2019. The idea was to host events that felt like big block parties, complete with food and drinks. “We’re trying to create an outdoor festival, live-music environment with a big sound system and stage,” Gaiser says of the courtyard, which can accommodate up to 500 people standing, and by day is a parking lot for local businesses.
Two concerts were held before the pandemic put a pause on the enterprise, then GIGS revived it in September 2021. The lineup kicked off with Rock-a-Boil, catered by Capital Crab and featuring music by Kentucky Avenue, The 19th Street Band, and Ryan Cain and the Ables. Country and soul singer Maggie Rose, a Potomac native, played a concert in early October, and two local rock bands, Andrew Deerin featuring the DeVilles and Utris, were headliners later in the month.
Gaiser, who grew up in Kensington, also works at Georgetown Preparatory School, where he teaches video production and audio engineering, and operates the music studio. At GIGS, he offers lessons and workshops that feature contemporary songs, including tunes by Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars and Taylor Swift, and he often sings and plays guitar with his students.
The next GIGS Courtyard concerts are slated for April. Minimum age is 21; food and drinks are for sale. VIP tickets include access to balconies overlooking the stage and an indoor lounge with a liquor bar.
GIGS Courtyard, 3762 Howard Ave., Kensington, gigscourtyard.com