House Concerts: More Fun for Everyone!
What do you mean by “house concert”?
Simply put, a house concert is just that…a concert at your house! It can be in your living room or in your backyard or any other space that will hold 50 or more people and have enough space for a keyboard plus three guys (smaller percussion set-up, when room is tight). If you prefer, we can keep it even simpler than that, with keyboard and percussion or keyboard/guitar. (My own living room is not large, but with some rearranging I can squeeze in about 35 folding chairs and spillover in the kitchen.)
There are endless good excuses to have a house concert: start with major and minor holidays (and don’t forget your own birthday) or a seasonal shin-dig! Then again, all of your friends would thank you for spicing up a plain old holiday-less month mid-winter!
Before you get scared and think this sounds way too hard/scary/expensive/newfangled/artsy/fillintheblank. . . read on.
You say it will be “more fun for everyone." Why?
· YOU: Enjoy the music from the comfort of your own home…without noisy talkers, smoke, or other distractions.
· YOU: Share the music with your friends in a private &comfortable setting.
· YOU: Throw a great party and feel good about it later.
· THEY: Enjoy your lovely home and gracious hospitality.
· THEY: Get acquainted with new music and meet/support local musicians (who happen to be saving up for a new recording project!)
· THEY: Have a sweet date night that didn’t cost them a month’s groceries.
· WE: Get to do what we love (make music) in an intimate setting without disturbances you might encounter in a public venue or elaborate set-up.
How is it done?
A house concert can be done in any number of ways and you can plan it as simply or as creatively as suits you. It might be dessert & coffee, or a full catered dinner, or a potluck. Let it be known: you do not have to have a mansion to host us! The Wells fam recently hosted a house concert for Jessica Campbell & Kelleigh Bannen (see some footage at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnX4fMQH3f8 ). We actually moved out the large chairs and couch and arranged 35 smaller chairs and stools in rows (had to borrow from the neighbors!).
We encourage you to be intentional about your invitations and follow up to confirm intentions to attend. Consider asking people to contribute financially in advance, reserving their seat, which helps you know there will be enough people to hold the concert, but not too many for your space. When it's time for the concert, everyone can gather round and get comfortable.
My friends have never heard of a "house concert" before. How can I make them comfortable and encourage a listening environment?
Through some trial and error, we have found the following things helpful:
1. Make sure your invitations/Evites emphasize that this is a "House Concert" and explain that it's a private concert featuring guest musicians in an intimate setting, etc.
2. Also state on your invitation something to this effect: "To support our guest artists, a minimum donation of $10/person ($30/family) is suggested. All proceeds will go directly to the musicians. Merchandise will also be available for purchase."
2. Invite your guests to come an hour or so prior to the start of the concert--and state that on the invite--ie. "Doors open 7pm/Concert at 8pm." This way your guests have time to visit and talk and get their coffee and dessert.
3. If possible have the food in a very separate space from the music, so that guests who want to revisit the refreshments can do so without disrupting the listening environment.
4. At the concert start time, dim the lights in all spaces except for on the musicians. This really helps to give a concert vibe and people instinctively understand to keep noise levels down when the lights are low.
5. Introduce your musicians from the "stage" area, to draw your guests' attention.
How much will it cost me?
If you provide food and beverages (often dessert and coffee--or you can ask guests to bring something), you only need to suggest (on your invitation) that your guests contribute a minimum donation of $10 ($30/family) in lieu of a formal ticket price.
For contact/booking: email@example.com
How can I ask my guests to pay for the concert?
If you simply include it on your invitations, everyone will know up front and be prepared. People are used to paying for performances and usually enjoy contributing to good causes, such as local art! As suggested above, phrasing might look like this: "A minimum donation of $10/person to support our guest musicians is suggested." Also, let them know if there will be merchandise available for purchase that night and what forms of payment will be accepted.
You can set out (at the door or by the drinks) a tasteful "tip jar" with a reminder of the minimum donation.
This sounds like a lot of fun. What do I do first?
If you are able and interested in hosting a concert for 50+ people in your home, please contact Toby Wells at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll find a date that works for all of us.
*The band is able to perform in your home for 50 or more people. If you would like to host a smaller gathering, we may be able to accommodate with an acoustic singer/songwriter performance.