Fourteen duplexes, one pool, one fire pit, one sauna, one stage, countless tree houses and hammocks — one backyard.
At the corner of Davis Drive and Mitchell Street sits a small community of duplexes where people removed the fences and opened up each other’s backyard spaces to share with each other.
“It’s our own hippie commune,” resident Josh Green said. “It’s a playground you can never grow out of.”
The community calls themselves the “DSG,” or the Davis Street Group. Every so often, the group has bands playing on its man-made stage.
It's next concert, Summer Swan Song 2011, is Saturday and open to the public.
Adam Sewell, event organizer and singer/guitarist of a band playing Saturday, said the place is perfect for Arlington bands starting up to get their feet on the ground.
“Unlike a bar, a backyard can be less intimidating for bands that don’t have a lot of experience playing in front of other people yet,” he said. “We want it to be a soapbox for Arlington bands where we can create a good following with each other.”
Sewell said this will be the seventh time his band will play at the backyard venue and is excited to be selling his first EP, Sunsplosion, for $2 there.
“It’s a great place to meet people who are proactive in perfecting their craft,” he said.
Ten local bands will play Saturday. Each band differs from folk to alternative to rock-a-billy music. The first two sets playing are acoustic soloists and the last two performances are indie bands.
Davis Street Group rocks as a fenceless family
Summer Swan Song 2011 at DSG
When: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday
Where: 1113 S. Davis St.
Cost: $5 donation
Sixty percent of all donations will go toward the bands, the other 40 percent will go toward the DSG.
We Grown Folk
The Breakfast Machine
There’s a pool, so bring a swimsuit.
Five-dollar donations will go toward the band that the donator comes to see and the rest to the Davis Street Group.
After moving in five years ago, resident and alumnus Gabriel Bakker said he and his roommate decided to build up the backyard by adding a tree house, a pool and a hot tub, and inviting friends to move into the duplexes neighboring them.
“This place would not be here without him,” Bakker said about his past roommate, alumnus Mikhail Zheleznov. “He convinced all of our friends to move in here and make the place it is today.”
After graduating from UTA with a degree in mathematics in 2006, Zheleznov moved to Dallas.
“I miss our pet vulture,” Zheleznov said, reminiscing about living at the group. “We found her, ZaZa, as a baby and raised her until she was almost full grown. You had to watch out, because if you fell asleep outside she would try to poke you in the eye.”
Bakker said the group saw many transformations. The first tree house, located in the center of one of the backyards, took only one afternoon to construct because so many people helped. He said it’s the best place to sit while watching the concerts because it has a great view.
He said regulars who hang out there, or people who once lived there, always bring things to the backyard to add to the vibe.
“It’s a constant changing piece of art,” Bakker said.
During the past spring, resident Chad Trombka decided to build a sweat lodge to add to the backyards’s collection.
The Native American sauna is built out of wood in the shape of a dome with a deep hole to store hot stones, usually heated by an external fire.
When in use, blankets cover the dome and the inside of hut becomes hot with steam.
Anthropology junior Fatima Hirsi used to live in one of the duplexes and said the group’s vibe changes every time different people move in.
She said she was first attracted to living there, because it was the first location of the Arlington Infoshop — a place that included a library where people could borrow books based on the trust system.
Now that the shop has relocated, she thinks the group has become more of a party place.
“I still do appreciate the way they have stayed a community,” she said. “People still care and take care of one another.”
Green said that’s one of his favorite things about living there.
“You just follow your nose and can always find someone willing to share what they’ve cooked,” he said. “No one goes hungry, and we all take turns cooking for each other.”