Host a concert in your own home!
House concerts are an amazing way to bring music into your home and to invite friends and family over for a fun (and memorable) night. After that, the type of evening you want to host is entirely up to you. Because it is such an open-ended concert idea, it can be kind of daunting if you haven't experienced one before. Therefore, I have put together some Frequently Asked Questions to help give you a better idea of what a house concert is all about.
I've never hosted/been to a house concert before. What can I expect for the evening?
The main rule I like to share for hosting house concerts is to have fun and relax. It's usually great to give folks 1 hour to arrive, get comfortable, and chat it up before getting into music. Music can go for as little as 1 hour or as long as 2. Depending on how long the music is planned to go, there may a break in the middle to allow people to stretch their legs, get more food, etc. Ultimately having little or no agenda is what makes house shows so perfect.
I don't have a big house. Can I still host a concert?
Absolutely. The size of your house does not matter at all, as long as everyone is comfortable. Some people put out chairs for their guests, some people have a BYOP policy (bring your own pillow) so that people don't have to sit on the floor.
How many people are you expecting? I don't think I can get 50 people to come to my house.
I've done house shows with as few as 10 people, and as many as 60. The beauty of a house concert is that it is purposely more intimate and focuses on quality over quantity. Traditional venues rely solely on numbers, making public shows more about quantity than quality. That gets old...especially when you're on the road a lot.
Does it cost money to host a house concert?
No, there is no cost to host a concert, but as traveling artists we appreciate it when hosts ask their guests to give a suggested donation. Many house concert hosts have a basket by the door. They often say a little something at the beginning of the evening or they may something at about the halfway point, giving a 2 minute spiel asking people to support the artist, and then proceed to "pass the hat" during the performance as it continues. Donations really go a long well in helping the artist pay for gas and cover expenses while on the road. A house concert usually averages at $15 per person. Some have been as low as $10, some upwards of $20 or even $25. We can chat more about what the best price can be if you'd like. No matter what, I believe no one should be turned away if they are not able to give.
Do I need to have a PA system? Microphones? A laser light show?
Not at all! Unless you live in an airplane hangar, the room where the performance will be held will most likely be the perfect size for an entirely acoustic performance. If you are unsure if your space will be okay for a show without a PA system, feel free to send me a photo and we can chat about it.
How do I plan this thing?
The beauty in house concerts is that they are low stress. Once we agree on a date, we can talk about a start time for the music. Usually we invite people to come by 45 minutes to an hour before the show time so they can mingle and not feel rushed. We can setup a Facebook invite, and/or if you would like to, shoot out emails to your network of friends/family/coworkers/neighbours to let them know about it (I can help with that too and send you information from my end so they have an idea of who they are coming to listen to).
Please be sure to let people know that the show portion is a sit-and-listen kind of event. There will be times for chatting, laughing and acting ridiculous, but once the show starts, everyone should be attentive and quiet. It will make for a great time for everyone.
Do I have to feed everyone? Provide drinks?
This is entirely up to you. Some people like to cook a large meal or many appetizers for their guests, and provide all sorts of beverages. That can be quite time consuming, so most people like to keep it very relaxed and have a 'pot-luck' style approach to the evening. Tell everyone to bring a snack of some sort and their own alcoholic beverages, and that will cut down on any extra stress.\
Are children allowed to these shows?
For sure! Although I am not a 'children's performer', I adore little ones and I have realized how wonderful it is when children get exposed to live music. So feel free to bring them, and if they are interested after the show they can even try out my guitar :-D
I don't want strangers in my house, will that be an issue?
Not at all. Understandably, this is usually a homeowner's primary concern. They're interested in hosting something but don't want a bunch of random troublemakers in their home. This is no problem at all. Simply keep the Facebook invite private, and when emailing, let people know this is a private event as well. Usually I'll stick a generic "Private House Concert" listing on my calendar page.
Oftentimes a fan will ask if they can attend the show. If that happens, I will talk to you first about it to see if you feel comfortable with them coming to the show. If you say yes, I will pass along the info to them. If you say no, that is completely fine as well.
I still have a few more questions. Can we chat?
Absolutely! Feel free to email me at email@example.com and we can talk more about it.
This sounds like fun - let's do it! What's next?
This is great news. You will not be disappointed! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can get the ball rolling!