One of the best places to hear music is in your house, and as it turns out, one of the best places to play music is also in your house. It's easier to do than you might think, and lots of fun for everyone who enjoys music!
"It really added a new element to entertaining at home!"
~ K. Coughlin, Fort Myers, Florida
The big deal about a house show is that it allows you and your guests to get up close and personal with an artist. Hear every note, see every nuance and gesture, get to know the stories behind the songs. All in the casual and comfortable setting of a home.
Before or after listening to the show, guests make donations to the performer's tip jar, buy merchandise such as CDs or t-shirts, and get to know the artist.
"They were not only very talented, but also very personable."
~ H. McEllistrem, Madison, WI
How do I do it?
It's not super hard to put on a concert in your home, not much more so than any party you'd have.
Locate an artist willing to put on a show in your home on a certain date, preferably about a month in the future. You want someone who does their own music, someone who can provide websites and YouTube pages of examples of their performances in order to entice folks to attend with the thought of supporting the artist with a financial donation.
Send invitations (with web links) to your friends and ask them to RSVP. Let them know if they will be asked to provide food or beverages. (You'll work out the details on that later.) Let them know how many seats you can provide, and keep track so you'll know when to let folks know that the show is "sold out."
As RSVPs come in, coordinate with guests about food and beverage concerns. How much or how little of each is provided depends on the host. You could have five of everything, one of anything, even nothing. It could be coffee and cake, chips and dip, carrots and hummus, etc. The more you have, the more time you'll want to allot for eating and greeting before the show.
The morning of the show, prepare your living room or whatever room you're going to use for the concert. Chairs and seats need to be aligned to view the "stage." There's lighting to consider, though again, how much into all that you want to get is up to you. As long as people can see, that's all that's important.
As with any show, artists should arrive early to see where they're going to be, how much room they'll have, etc. Since the acts who perform in homes are usually solos, duos, or trios, they don't take a lot of room or need a lot of sound reinforcement, if any. Many just "sing into the room," as it's called.
"...it made the night unique and a true experience. Thank you!"
~ T. Thurley, Charlotte, NC
As the host, at the prescribed time, you will get to inform the audience that the show will be starting in a couple of minutes. Then you'll tap on a glass or microphone and invite the audience to gather to hear an amazing artist. Shows usually last 45 minutes to an hour. A music-loving crowd might be all right with a 15-minute break and another set of music. The longer the show, the better the tips in many cases.
As some folks have a hard time not talking, it's important to provide time before, after, and if necessary between sets to let them get their comments out. Talking and bashing about during the performance is highly frowned upon and in some homes will get you shushed out of the building. Just imagine yourself at work with a client and suddenly a few people breeze through talking about last week's whatever. Not suitable, eh?
Giving is sometimes a difficult subject to broach, especially in these days when music and art are considered something that you can download for free. In areas where house concerts are widespread, it's normal for donations to be $15 to $20 a person. As part of an evening out with friends to hear and meet a performing artist, to meet new people with similar interests in music, it's not outrageous. But again, it's all relative. What's common in one place, might be paltry or regal in another.
Raggedy Edge has helped
put together house concerts in Ohio, Virginia, Florida (4), New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina (2), and Mississippi.