Interested in hosting a concert in your home? It’s easy and fun.
WHAT IS A HOME CONCERT?
A home concert is exactly what it sounds like: a get-together of friends in your living room, on your deck, or garden, with live music, and often food, drinks, and conversation. They are cozy and intimate evening of music that gives the artist a chance to really get to know the audience while exposing their music to new ears - your group of friends, community, network of music lovers…
- Provide performance space big enough for 1-3 performers (for indoor concerts we prefer 2 performers).
- Be able to host 15-30 (or more) guests. You’d be surprised how many people fit comfortably in an average living room when you move some furniture and bring in small chairs.
- Providing snacks, a meal or even a pot-luck dinner is not necessary, but a home-cooked meal is always greatly appreciated.
Find a good spot for the artist to lay out CDs and other merchandise for those guests who might be interested in purchasing. It should be a place where people can congregate and chat.
- Possibly provide overnight accommodations for the artists if needed if they are traveling from out of town.
DOES IT COST MONEY TO HOST A HOME CONCERT?
No, unless the host wants to pay a flat concert fee (contact Kevin for quote). Since most In-home concerts are donation based, there is no cost to hosting a concert other than arranging the seating. For donation concerts, I request that hosts ask their guests to come expecting to give a donation. Instead of selling tickets or a fixed donation, the home concert series uses an “open donation” policy. Meaning guests can contribute any amount they wish. Typically, I would suggest a $10 -$20 dollars donation as normal. All proceeds go to the performer. A donation basket is placed in a location where people will see it as they enter or leave, and/or pass the basket when everyone is seated.
During the concert, the host will remind people about the "open donation" usually at the beginning of the concert, intermission and at the conclusion. If the host is not comfortable with making these announcements, please inform the performer. Many home concert hosts have a basket by the door with a sign.
Since people generally carry less cash these days, accepting donations electronically is a good idea. QR codes, PayPal, Venmo or Credit card options are available for guests.
HOW DO I PLAN THIS THING?
The beauty in home 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, Evite, and/or shoot out emails to your network of friends to let them know about it. Have them bring a blanket or lawn chair if you’re hosting outdoors. 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! You can clean your home if you want though.
A typical home concert is either two 30-35 minute sets with a 10-15 minute intermission between or one 50-minute program without an intermission. It’s nice to have some socializing time beforehand too, so you might tell people the show is at 7 or 7:30 and the concert starts at 8.
WHO COMES TO THE CONCERT? (AKA “the audience”)
A home concert is made up of your friends, neighbors or anyone you feel would enjoy an evening of music. Even those you invite may invite their own friends as well. In hosting home concerts remember that people attend not because they necessarily know the performer but because hearing live music in this kind of down-home environment is such a special event. Typically, the invitation includes only the date, the town/city, and the host’s email address for inquiries. When you confirm a reservation, you supply the street address and other details.
If you’re hosting a show and want to limit the guest list to your friends, just discuss that with the performer in advance.
Send your invitations a month or so before the concert and ask people to reserve seats. You can use email or a site like Eventbrite that automatically tracks RSVPs. You will probably need to send a few reminders in the weeks leading up to the show. If you need assistance sending an invitation, please let me know. I can help with providing an invitation for you.
Creating a Facebook event and inviting friends that way can be helpful, but I recommend using email as well. In my experience, email reservations are far more reliable than Facebook RSVPs as an indicator of who will actually come to an event.
Tips for invitations:
1. Stress that space is limited and reservations are required.
2. Briefly describe what an in-home concert is and how it works, including the suggested donation, for the uninitiated.
3. Share your own enthusiasm for the music—that’s the best way to draw an audience!
4. Include YouTube and website links where people can sample the music and learn more.
Even if people make firm reservations, assume that a few will back out at the last minute because of illness, weather, etc. If your reservations hit capacity, keep a waiting list or even overbook a bit so seats don’t go empty.
IS ANY SOUND EQUIPMENT NEEDED?
In most living-room-type situations, there is typically no need for using sound equipment. It can be a revelation for many people to experience truly unplugged acoustic music, without the barriers of mic stands and speakers. But if sound reinforcement is needed, we keep it as simple and unobtrusive as possible. Just a touch of amplification goes a long way.
WANT TO AN OUTDOOR SHOW?
A backyard or even a driveway, are also a great option if possible. Outdoor shows allow the performer to bring more band members which enhances the sound experience. The audience can bring their own lawn chairs and food/beverages that makes the evening a special treat.
If the performance area is located in the sun, a canopy/tent big enough to cover the performers would be recommended, plus of course some kind of lighting for evening shows.
Outdoor concerts will also likely need some kind of sound reinforcement for instruments to carry. Letting neighbors know about your event in advance, and asking if they have questions or concerns, is an important courtesy. In some cases, the immediate neighbors may set up their own satellite parties where they can hear the music (ask them to help with donations).
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