Live music venues have been struggling in Australia. It can be expensive for the venue and frustrating as a listener if you are particular about what you like. House concerts are becoming increasingly popular as a result.
What’s a House Concert? A house concert is exactly what it sounds like: a gathering of friends/family/neighbours in your living room, deck, or garden, with live music, and often food, drinks, and conversation. Personally I usually prefer these events over public concerts because they are cozy, intimate, and allow me a chance to really get to know the audience while exposing my music to new ears – your group of friends!
I don’t have a big house. Can I still host a concert? Yes! The cozier the better. You don’t need a mansion for these.
How many people do you need? I’ve done house shows with as few as 20 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. And it’s easier for them to market commercial music for this purpose.
Does it cost money to host a house concert? This is flexible. You can choose to have a door fee for attendees or you can pay me a fee and have your guests attend free. It can be a good idea to suggest a donation to guests. Many house concert hosts have a basket by the door with a sign. They often “interrupt” the performance near the end of the evening, give a brief spiel asking their guests to “support the artist”, and then proceed to “pass the hat” as the set continues. Most importantly, giving is simply a appreciated way of helping me keep what I do sustainable. Most house concerts have a suggested donation of $10-20. Giving usually averages out to $15 per person. Some give $10, some give $20. At my shows, everyone should give what they are able to and no one should be turned away if they are not able to give.
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. Then you can setup a Facebook invite and/or shoot out emails to your network of friends to let them know about it. Encourage them to bring a dish to share and it becomes a potluck (less dishes for you to clean!!)
I don’t really want strangers in my house. This is usually a homeowner’s primary concern. They’re interested in hosting something but don’t want it to be listed as a public event. No problem. Simply keep the Facebook invite private. 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. I will ask you first if it is ok to pass your address on to this interested person. If you’d rather keep it a closed event, then no problem. It’s your house :)
What is the program for the event? This is flexible. It’s usually great to give folks 1 hour to arrive, get comfortable, and chat before getting into the music. Music can go for as little as 1 hour or as long as 2. Sometimes, depending on how long the music is planned to go, there is a break in the middle to allow people to stretch their legs, get more food, and talk. Ultimately I personally think having little or no agenda is what makes house shows so perfect.
What are you personally expecting from this? I enjoy making storytelling a part of my music. I think the most enjoyable and memorable house concerts occur when a house becomes a listening room. As a performer who has played in nearly every different type of setting, my least enjoyable experiences involve playing in a room with pokies in the background and sports TV’s above me where there is no connection to the audience and the music plays a backseat role.
Ok, I’m keen!! What’s next? Great! Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org Ask me whatever additional questions you have or let me know if you are looking to book a specific date. Let’s do it!
Here's a link to an article about house concerts..