For a pickleball club like PKL Boston, including live music as a staple entertainment feature is paramount to the club’s identity as a whole-of-body social experience. PKL markets itself as a “first-of-its-kind premium pickleball parlor” and boasts daily open pickleball play, clinics, various tournaments and league play, along with a wide-ranging menu including brunch and cocktails. Each of these entertainment elements are enhanced as live music is woven throughout so much of what PKL does as a pickleball club.
Brian Weller, one of the owners of PKL, stresses the importance of live music to who PKL is as a brand saying, “We love live music at PKL. It helps create the community vibe our brand is all about… We consider ourselves a pickleball parlor – where pickleball is just a part of the social experience we’ve curated.” One key feature of PKL as a pickleball club is the local influence on the venue, from the murals painted by local artists to local musicians playing the bar area. PKL intends for everyone to taste the local flavor as soon as they walk in the door. Additionally, the team at PKL desires for it “to be a place where you come hang out, eat, drink and never want to leave, even after your game is done.” PKL uses pickleball as a way to bring people together to enjoy time with one another and weaves live music into so much of what they do.
In the same vein, PKL hosts a wide variety of music genres to attract a similarly wide audience within their community. The social experience curated at PKL may include anything from a New Orleans Jazz band for a Mardi Gras party, a German band during Oktoberfest, or a Reggae band for bottomless brunch. Further, PKL hosts a country music band for line dancing monthly as well as salsa bands for salsa dancing during Hispanic Heritage Month. The season-based events and robust selection of music incentivise people to continue coming back to try something new because there is always something new going on at PKL.
As far as selecting bands and musicians to perform at PKL, they often chose those they have either seen in person themselves or heard of from friends of friends. The leadership at PKL will usually come up with an idea of the theme or vibe for the event and the “team does an awesome job in curating specific ambiences [they] want [at PKL].” While PKL certainly likes to mix up the types of music they feature, they also like to keep several local favorites in rotation for guests to come back for. This would include Lexi James & Wild Heart, their house country band that plays the first Friday of each month.
The staple feature of PKL’s live music scene is their Live Music Saturdays, which are hosted every Saturday night from 5-8pm in their main bar area. Weller comments that Live Music Saturdays are a great “pre or post game enjoyment, or both!” Further, PKL frequently hosts live music during their weekend brunches and strives to make live music a pillar of every experience at the pickleball club.
PKL Boston is a preeminent example of incorporating live music into a pickleball club for a plethora of reasons, not the least of which is their emphasis on the music aspect supporting PKL’s overall brand – “creating experiences for you to share with the people you love.” Weller is adamant that the music “has to fit your brand. If it doesn’t feel authentic then it will not resonate with clients.” PKL strives for authenticity in their pickleball and music fusion, allowing guests to connect with the overall theme thread throughout even a single experience at PKL.