Why house concerts?
Playing bars, pubs and clubs isn’t the only way to host a live show. You don’t always have to cope with the usual business aspects of booking a gig in some rut negotiating with a ill-tempered club owner paying you peanuts (kind of extreme, but you get my drift). There are alternatives, and one of them is performing a concert in the comfort of somebody’s home (or your own by that matter).
There are very interesting advantages to trying this out:
- You usually get to plan it how you want.
- Most house venues demand donations ranging from $5 to $20. In many cases the people hosting the show leave %100 of all proceeds to the musicians. Let’s do some quick math: $15 donation/entrance fee with 40 people attending will net you an easy $600 for the night, merchandise not included.
- The people hosting these shows are PASSIONATE about music, so most will leave you all the earnings, plus throw in a free cooked meal and possibly a place to stay for the night.
- These concerts engage the artist and their audience in a level of intimacy that’s incomparable with a traditional venue. This can lead to healthier fan relationships and of course (sorry to always lay down the cash concerns) better merchandise sales.
A couple of websites so you get the idea:
This one site called Concerts In Your Home is a resource/community for artists and hosts. Hosts can search more than 500 artists on the site, and artists can search detailed profiles of more than 200 house concert presenters in the US, Canada, UK, even Australia and New Zealand. Most performers play blues, folk and acoustic styles, so nothing too extreme. Anyways most places don’t have a PA so musicians prepare acoustic sets.
In the same vein we also have HouseConcerts.com. Here the model is a bit different as this site proposes a listing of people who offer their homes to host shows.
For Canadian house concerts you can also check out www.acousticroof.ca.
There is also houseconcertsyork.co.uk who conduct these events around York, UK.
Besides ‘Concerts In Your Home’, most sites are pretty local and isolated, but by surfing through the web you’ll find tons of them. The house concert movement is definitely stirring.
A couple of quotes so you get an even better idea:
I’ll leave you to some quotes I gathered talking with some house-concert-aspiring-ministrels:
Ronny Elliot – www.ronnyelliott.com
Rachel McGoye – www.rachelmcgoye.com
casual-but-professional dynamic (or are at least willing to follow): low overhead (save, of course, the benevolence and spirit of the host!) and thus much better pay (even 10 people at $10/head makes for a better night than many places’ll guarantee!); great environment in which to connect and interact (vs. noisy pubs, for instance); not nearly so lonely if attendance is light or I’m not as known in a particular community; etc. Word is out, though, so presenters are becoming bombarded just like everyone else in the community.
Wes Weddell – www.myspace.com/wesweddell
When you play bars or cafes, it is frequently a struggle even getting the booker on the phone. With house concerts you are constantly juggling plenty of gig offers, which come with guarantee money, a guarantee audience, and a minimum of hassles. What could be better?
Apparently there is a booming market for these shows, so if your set can be performed acoustically it seems pretty worth while to give them a shot.
We’ll be posting other quotes on this subject shortly, so stay mruffed.