Perhaps you’ve never heard of a house concert, but the tradition goes back well over a century. Woody Guthrie used to sing in peoples’ homes. If you live somewhere without a venue quiet and respectful enough for acoustic music, you can create one right in your own living room. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of homes across the USA, Canada, and Europe where concerts happen on a regular basis. Imagine being able to sit no more than twenty feet away from me and my guitar in an intimate and smoke-free environment.
It might take rearranging the furniture a little bit, just for one night, but if you can get 25 or more people to squeeze into your living room we can have a really great time. You might need to borrow a few folding chairs (you could even ask people to bring their own if you can’t rustle up enough) or put cushions on the floor. I’ve played a lot of house concerts over the years and I love doing them. Each one is unique. If you don’t have a space big enough, maybe you know of someone else who does. Or maybe you could find a spot for me to sing from so that I could be seen by people seated in two different rooms. It’s been done before!
Some people like to have an optional potluck meal before or after the show, or during the break. The potluck can be limited to desserts only, it can be a full-on feast., or it can be whatever you’d like it to be. Some hosts are happy to provide finger foods, drinks, etc. without asking folks to bring anything. It’s entirely up to you as to how this might work, but I find having some kind of refreshments during the course of the evening (or afternoon) generally to be a good idea.
As host of the house concert you get to decide whether it be a private event for your friends and family only, or we speard the word within your community and to whatever mailing list I might have in your region. Just so you know, I will never give out your home address…only an e-mail address and a phone number. This will allow you to screen anyone you might not already know and decide for yourself whether or not you feel comfortable having them come to your home. People who like folk music really tend to be pretty good people and are usually well-behaved, but it will always be your decision whether or not to invite somebody. You might just make a few new friends.
Guests should be asked to pay a “suggested donation” of between $15 and $25 at the door, and it should be mentioned that all proceeds will go to the artist.
It’s very important that the admission price always be referred to as a “suggested donation” to make clear that you’re not conducting a business presenting concerts in your home. You can still publicize the event if you want to, but just don’t give out your home address until you invite somebody. As long as the guests are thereby invitation only, even the ones you’ve only met by phone, it would be considered a “private party” in most places. Just make sure to remind everybody to please be respectful toward your neighbors at all times, whether it be when parking, walking to and from their cars, or at any time they might be outside. If you’re concerned about what the neighbors might think, invite them!
If you’d prefer not to ask the invited audience members for donations you can choose to make arrangements with me privately for a flat fee.
I am also very willing to barter concerts in exchange for professional services such as dental work, or useful goods…suggest something.
Sundays afternoons or evenings, as well as midweek nights are especially appealing to me for scheduling a house concert, allowing me to keep the weekend nights open for potential club dates. Many venues only have concerts on Fridays and Saturdays. My midweek nights are almost always available and I’m very happy when I can fill them with house concerts.
So don’t be afraid to ask if you see a hole in my schedule or you think I might be passing through near enough to where you live. I like house concerts so much I’ll even make a special trip to do them sometimes.
Please note that I don’t travel with a sound system, and in some cases a small one might be necessary, depending on how large a room I’d be singing in, and how far away from me folks might be sitting. A typical PA the size we’d need rents from about $60 to $90 but often one can be borrowed from a local musician.
If you’re interested in hosting a house concert, or if you have any questions about it, feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss it.