Friday, March 7, 2014

House Concerts

Whether you're a member of my Concert Circle or not, I encourage people everywhere to consider the idea of organizing a house concert.  I'll tell you about it...

House concerts are a longstanding tradition in the folk music scene in the US, Canada and elsewhere.  It's especially popular outside of the big cities, especially in suburban or rural areas where a more typical concert venue or folk club may not exist.  Even when such venues do exist, sometimes it's a choice between putting on a show in a music club where maybe 25 people will show up and it will feel empty, or putting on a house concert, and packing your living room completely with the same number of folks!

The usual procedure goes like this...  You set a date with the artist (in this case, me).  You tell all your friends about it, and maybe ask them to let you know for sure if they're coming or not, if you're worried about having too many people to fit in your living room.  If you don't mind, I will also list the house concert on my website -- typically this would just be a "contact so-and-so if you want to attend," and when someone emails you for more information, you'd then give them your address and any other info they might need.  (Rather than listing your street address publicly -- though you're welcome to do that if you want to.)

It's common that people would host a pot luck dinner before the house concert, or provide some kind of refreshments, but both of those things are optional.  If you're a member of my Concert Circle, you could hold a free event if you want to, or you can make the show a benefit for a cause of your choice.  If you're not a member of my Concert Circle, the typical thing with house concerts would be to ask each person who comes in the door for a suggested donation of $10-20, which would usually go to the artist.

Even though audiences are often a bit smaller at house concerts than they might be at a music club, artists like me are often really enthusiastic about the idea of doing house concerts, because our experience is that the audiences are often a high-quality bunch, often including good friends of the hosts, who are usually exceptionally generous in terms of their donations at the door, and their CD purchases.  Perhaps that's because of the inherent intimacy involved with doing a concert in someone's living room.

My only other word of advice on hosting a house concert is that you really want to bill it as a concert, rather than a party.  If you call it a house party, people tend to imagine chatting and having music in the background, whereas a concert sets the tone properly, since what we're talking about here is an audience sitting and listening to a performer.

Typically, if I'm on tour, I'd probably also like to spend the night at your place if you have a guest room, after doing the concert in your living room (or your backyard or wherever you think is the best place for the show).  But we can talk about that and any other details.  This entry here is just to familiarize you with the concept, and lay out the basics of what's involved.  I hope you want to do it!

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