What is a house concert?
House concerts are the hippest way to hear new music in a unique format which is sweeping the country in a grassroots manner…one house at a time!
This popular, growing network of house concerts and music lovers is a fun way for communities to get together, socialize, “break bread” and discover new music at a host’s home. Instead of a “cover charge” hosts ask for “suggested donations” from invited guests of anywhere between $15-20 p/p, which go directly to the artists, helping them to fill gas tanks and get a little further down the road.
We strongly believe in “music for everyone” – if guests cannot afford the suggested donation of $15–20 p/p, we do not want them to be excluded. We simply ask them to pay what they can afford.
“House concert regulars” think $15-20 p/p is a great value, since it is less money than they would spend for a night out at a club, (parking, cover charge, drinks, babysitter), plus there is an added benefit of an “up-close-and-personal” experience with the musicians, (which would never happen in a bar environment).
How does it work?
If you have at least 25 friends who enjoy listening to music, and can come up with creative ways to seat people, you can host a house concert! Guests are invited by you personally, and also through “word of mouth, ” (i.e., your friends, family, acquaintances, business associates, hairdresser, librarian, neighbors, church groups, Rotarians, and friends-of-friends).
Usually, the host provides a main course dish, (meat, chili, soup, BBQ, pizza, lasagna), and utensils and drinks; (water, soda, iced/hot tea, coffee). Guests bring a dish to share, and voila…you have a potluck dinner, fun conversation and a chance to catch up with friends.
After the potluck and right before performance time, everyone turns off cell phones, fills their glasses and sits to enjoy a 45-60 minute performance. Then, there is an intermission to meet/greet the artists, purchase CD’s, sign their guest book and have dessert. Once again, everyone gathers for the second-half of the evening, (30-45 min). It is customary not to talk when artists are performing, however between songs, there usually is fun banter between the audience and musicians!
The evening wraps up around 10-11pm. It is customary for the hosts to provide overnight accommodations for the traveling musicians, and breakfast the next morning. This is the time hosts really seem to enjoy…an opportunity to relax and spend some quality time with the musicians before sending them on to their next show.
House concerts take place all across the country, in people’s living rooms, backyards, offices, Unitarian churches, community centers, barns, RV parks…anywhere people gather comfortably without distraction. Performing songwriters love these types of shows; as stories from the road are shared, as well as stories about how songs were inspired.
As a first-time house concert guest, you can walk into a group of strangers and leave with new friends. Music is the common denominator. Or…if you choose, you can slip quietly into your seat and not speak to other house concert attendees if you are a more private person. And, it doesn’t matter whether you are personally acquainted with the host. They are opening their home to you. They want to meet new people, too.
Why do hosts do this…bring strangers into their homes?
Most house concert hosts will tell you they are passionate about music and extending “a sense of community” that we are sorely lacking these days. Our “social networking” leaves a lot to be desired. House concerts harken back to a time when people got together to talk about issues that concern their communities, reconnect with friends and neighbors, meet new people, share food and listen to music they may otherwise have never had an opportunity to discover on their own.
So, come discover a house concert. Who knows? Maybe you’ll make a bunch of new friends and discover what many people across the country already know…the beauty of how music connects us all!
Interested in hosting a house concert for us?
We’ve had professionals host us, (you know, those folks who could put together a house concert in their sleep)!
We’ve also had newbies host their first house concerts for us and had such an incredibly great time doing it, they were already booking us again for the following year!
No matter which category you’re in, give us a call, or send and email inquiry…and we’ll discuss how to make your house concert an event your friends will be talking about for months afterwords!
(pssst…warning! House concerts are so much fun, people who attend them have been known to start hosting concerts in THEIR homes, too!
OK…so you’ve decided to host your first House Concert, here’s an idea of how to frame your invitations
NOTE: You should NOT advertise in the newspaper, (or even Facebook), as the event could possibly be interpreted as a “commercial” venture, and you don’t want those liabilities. House concerts are a private gathering in your home, and since you are not charging an admission fee and not selling alcohol, you should have no problems. Keep a list of RSVP’d guests so you know how many folks to expect.
ALSO: you may wish to send invitations by email or snail-mail, (so they are more personal). You can also make a flyer or print out invitations to hand out to friends. Remember, this is about community. Do the best you can to get people to come to the event, however, do not stress about it. We’ve played shows for 10 people (on a weeknight) to as many as 100 out in the backyard!
SAMPLE INVITATION, (edit at will!)
You’re invited to a potluck and house concert! Please RSVP by (date) to this email.
Ghosts of the American Road, an award-winning recording/touring husband-and-wife duo from Bandera, Texas, will be on a national tour through our area. We’re pleased to have made arrangements with them to come to our home to share their cinematographically-inspired Contemporary Folk music!
What to bring: something for the potluck, suggested donation $ for the performers, $ for merchandise, (comfortable camp chair?), and a smile!
What’s a house concert? What should I expect?
House concerts are the hippest way to hear new music in a unique format which is sweeping the country in a grassroots manner…one house at a time! The atmosphere of a house concert is more casual and intimate than other music venues. You’ll have an opportunity to “meet and greet” the musicians, up close and personal! Everyone who attends is asked to bring a refreshment, (food or drink), to contribute to the potluck and share with others before the show and during intermission.
NOTE: Please be prompt, as the potluck and music will start on time. (If you show up late, it is undoubtedly distracting to fellow audience members and the musicians.)
During the performance, you will be asked to turn off your cell phone, and stay seated until the end of the set. Our goal is to introduce touring, talented artists and their music to our friends and neighbors. If you’re not smiling before, during and after the show, we’ll be surprised.
This is a “by-invitation-only” event, and RSVP’s are required by (date). Please honor your RSVP! If you cannot make the show, try to give us enough notice so that someone else may have your seat. Yes, you may bring guests with you to our home, however, the rule of thumb is, “would you bring this person into your home?”
Please RSVP to this email or call (xxx-xxx-xxxx) to reserve your seat by (date). The policy is to contribute a suggested donation of $15-20 at the door. We strongly believe in “music for everyone” – if you cannot afford the suggested donation of $15/20 p/p, or do not have a contribution for the potluck, we do not want you to be excluded. Simply pay what you can afford. Cash or personal checks will be accepted, (made payable to Kevin Higgins).
ALL CONTRIBUTIONS GO DIRECTLY TO THE MUSICIANS TO HELP KEEP THEM ON THE ROAD.
Ghosts of the American Road will have CDs and other merchandise available at intermission and after the show, so be sure to bring a little extra cash or your credit card and show your support by “shopping” at their merchandise table, (whether for yourself or friends who can’t make it to the show)!
We look forward to sharing a memorable night of music and community with you!