What is a House Concert?
A house concert is exactly what it sounds like: a get-together of friends in your living room, deck, or garden, with live music, and often food, drinks, and conversation. I usually prefer these evenings 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! You don't need a gigantic living room or a mansion the cozier the better.
Can I book you at my Neighborhood Theater, coffeehouse, or gallery instead?
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 interrupt the performance in the middle, give 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 way in helping the artist pay for gas and cover expenses while on the road. Most importantly, giving is simply a appreciated way of helping an artist keep their music career sustainable. A house concert usually averages at $10 per person. Some have been $15 or even $20. But 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 contact your friends. 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 and it becomes a potluck (awesome)! Whatever happens, don't stress! It’s just like hanging out with your friends!
But I really don't 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. I don’t list details on my website only a generic "Private House Concert" listing on my calendar page.
What exactly is the order of events for the evening?
The order is pretty laid back. 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. 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 your personal expectations, Alicia?
I enjoy the people. I enjoy creating a joyful and memorable experience. I also enjoy the storytelling aspect of live music. I think the most enjoyable, moving 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 noisy room where there is no connection to the audience and the music plays a backseat role. I usually call this ''wallpaper'' music. There is nothing wrong with music that exists merely to set a mood for an event, but I prefer not to do these in the context of house concerts.
Ok, this officially sounds like fun! What's next?
Great. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Let's do it!
This information was edited and reprinted with permission from fellow musician Joy Ike Vist her at joyike.com