HOSTING A HOUSE CONCERT - FAQ
What is a House Concert?
A House concert is a celebration of independent acoustic music and song in the comfort of your own home in the company of your finest friends, family and music aficionados.
How do I host a House Concert?
In brief – you need some good friends, a largish indoor space, lots of chairs, bean bags and cushions, some space for BYO snacks/drinks and the ‘Merch Booth’.
If you have a decent sized living room that can snugly seat, beanbag, couch and laze 30 to 60 people then you have all you need to host a fantastic night of music.
What about sound equipment?
You won’t need to hire a PA system or amplification, as we will provide whatever amplification may be needed. Some smaller venues allow for a completely unplugged intimate acoustic set. This also means that the room must be arranged so your guests can enjoy the concert space as you would a small theatre with full attention and few distractions.
But won’t everyone be drinking and talking?
Bear in mind that these performances are ‘house concerts’ not ‘house parties’. This is an important distinction. House concerts often turn into parties when the show is finished, but the actual concert is attended with the same intention that would be had when going to a theatre. Once again, these are actual concerts, not a side addition to a back yard BBQ or bucks night.
Can I bring the kids?
Kids are most welcome, but consider that they may need something to keep them occupied while you are focussed on the music. Some hosts have a play area outside for the kids, and others even have room to set up a crèche for the little sleepy ones.
What happens before and after the concert?
Hosts need to organize another space or large kitchen where guests can put their BYO snacks/treats/drinks and chat with the musicians during the course of the evening.
Also, and very importantly, hosts need to have another table or suitable space available where the artists can lay out their CD’s and any other merchandise for sale: The Merch Booth! Please let your guests know that artists will be selling their CD’s at your show as many first timers often won’t know to bring a few extra bucks for this and will be disappointed.
How does the evening run?
This is flexible and up to the discretion and convenience of the host, but a typical house concert opens it’s ‘doors’ for friends and fans at say 7pm, when people arrive with their BYO, mingle, munch and drink with the artists and get comfy in the performance space.
There are usually 2 sets of music, each running for about 35-45 minutes. During the intermission and after the show everyone gets to enjoy the musical company of friends and strangers as well as time with the host and artists.
How much will it cost?
This is fully negotiable between the host and the artist, and in keeping with the spirit of house concerts, takes the form of a simple verbal agreement. The artist and host can either agree upon a set fee for the act, or agree to ‘donations’ from guests. This works the same way as people bringing drinks or a plate of food to contribute to the evening, and they should be made aware of this as part of the invitation.
In general, house concerts work best when audience numbers are within the range of 30-60 people and each guest contributes in the order of $15-$25.
A house concert is a fantastic way to strengthen family, friend and community ties through music. When embraced in the spirit of supporting touring independent artists and original music such events make for an extraordinary and unforgettable evening.
Every time I play a house concert, people always come up to me and ask “how do we throw a house concert for next time you tour?” and there begin the seeds of the grass-roots network of touring musicians, hosts and music lovers that we call the house concert circuit.
Big thanks to Coco Love Alcorn and David Ross McDonald for letting me replicate information from their websites to post this FAQ.