Thanks so much for expressing interest in hosting a house concert. I’m going to share with you some essential information into hosting a great house concert and let you in on some best practices and guidelines.
What is a house concert?
A house concert is an intimate show set up in listening environments. Could be your yard, your living room, or the event space of your choice. It’s not a raucous rock show or background music at a cocktail party. It’s a place where music lovers can sit and enjoy a close-up and personal experience with a musician and their music.
Who should I invite?
Invite your friends, family neighbors, co-workers, fellow music-lovers; anyone you think or know enjoys a great song. The great thing about House Concerts is that they are so intimate and oriented around listening, so you have a chance to hear all the notes and words being played and sung. In general, these people tend to be adults*, 25 and older. A crowd of 20-30 is ideal, but even just a few people in your kitchen can be as fun as a 150 in a giant yard!
*kids don’t always do well at house concerts, especially younger ones. It is recommended that children have a separate place to party with supervision so they won’t have to sit still and quiet with grown ups for an hour.
How much does it cost?
Ideally, these concerts are donation-based. When you invite your potential attendees, let them know that this is a donation-based concert, although I would not recommend specifying an amount. Not specifying a donation amount is good for two reasons:
1. Those who can donate are free to donate what they can based on their experience during the concert and not have an expectation on “what is owed”
2. Some people you invite might really enjoy the music, but haven’t much to give. While performance is a huge part of how I make my living as a musician, it’s the connection to the listeners that builds the community. I would hate to miss out on that connection because someone thought they couldn’t afford the show.
If you are uncomfortable talking about donations in your invitations, feel free to reach out and we can work on some specific language together.
Also, if you prefer to simply pay a fee for the performance, that is also something we can discuss.
How the night goes:
With the details of time, place, and venue worked out, the night (or day!) should go something like this:
I roll up an hour before your guests are expected to arrive to set up sound equipment and make sure everything is working.
Your guests arrive (fairly punctually! I will be sure to begin playing at our previously agreed-upon time) and have a chance to chat and mingle before the music begins.
After your guests have had an hour to chat, grab some refreshments, and get acclimated, we will start to guide them to their seats.
I will perform for an hour, and at the very end, you will take the stage with some kind of (wind resistant) container (like a vase, box, etc--hats tend to catch wind and guitar cases are too dang big!) and make the donation announcement--you will do this from the stage area, into the mic, while the last chord of the last song of the set rings out.
I will exit the stage and hang out a bit more until your guests head out.
All in all, from my arrival to exit, the whole night should take around 5-6 hours.
An example schedule might look like this:
6p: TSD arrival and setup
7p: Guests arrive
8p: Concert begins
9p: Concert ends
A note on donations:
I want to be able to team up with as many house concert hosts as possible, and making these shows donation-based is a great way to do this. It’s imperative that you, as a host, are comfortable being the person who takes the reins on encouraging and collecting donations. I am more than happy to help prepare a script and guide you through this process. The success of this endeavor is directly correlated to your enthusiasm when speaking at the end of the concert.
If all of this looks good to you, let’s move forward and begin discussing the details of your event!
Please message me or Jenna to get more info:
PS, if you like, here is a dizzying amount of information with several different takes on hosting a house concert: