House Concert FAQs
What is a house concert?
Why, it’s a concert in a house, of course–and if you’ve ever thrown a potluck dinner or had one of those jewelry parties, you’ve got this thing down. A house concert is the perfect blend of staying in and having a “night out” with all of your friends, and their friends too.
This is a growing trend across the country that provides a comfortable and familiar space for 25-50 of your best friends to experience an intimate performance by talented musician (like me, for instance).
Will my house work?
If you can fit at least 20 adults in a designated listening space* you’ve got a venue!
We’ve played in backyards, basements, poolside, apartment clubhouses, photographer’s studios, art galleries, and all sorts of makeshift venues, so we’re open to hearing about whatever space you’ve got.
The important thing is that everyone has a seat—it can be blanket on the grass or cushion on the floor, but we want to create a “listening room” as opposed to a party with background music. The intimate story-telling performance is what makes a house concert so special and allows artist and audience to bond in ways that aren’t always possible in a larger venue.
*It is also helpful if you do not allow smoking inside your home, or own several long-haired cats as Beki is slightly allergic to those things.
Do I need a sound system?
We usually travel with a small sound system, which we typically use at house concerts to create a nice balance between voice and guitar. In some instances, it may not be necessary, and we can go without altogether. We can decide together once we see the space.
(Note: In Europe, we do not always have a PA with us as we are often traveling by train or bus, so let’s discuss if you think we need one in your home/space.)
We’ll arrive an hour before the advertised start time to set up, sound check, and make any last minute room preparations. We can take some time then to talk through the evening together. A typical night might look something like this:
7:00 – 8:00 Mingle & Drinks
8:00 – 9:00 Concert
9:00 Donation Announcement
9:05 – ? More Mingling/ Meet and Greet
What exactly do I need to do?
Great question! And I’m so glad you asked. After we set the date, you have a few very important tasks as host or hostess:
Talk it up! This is a unique and exciting event, and while some of your friends might think it’s strange that you’re turning your living room (or backyard or basement) into a temporary concert venue, they’ll probably be curious enough to come and invite their friends too.
Tips for invitiations:
Typically, about 40-50% of those you invite will come, so if you can fit 25 people in your living room, invite at least 50.
Phone calls, emails, or postcards are a much more memorable way to ask a friend to an event like this. Facebook events and Evites are great for keeping track of RSVPs, but many people miss them in their overwhelmed inboxes. Give it the personal touch!
Very Important Wording for your invitation:
This is a donation-based concert.
Please come prepared to make a donation to the artists at the end of the evening.
This lets your guests know up front that you’ll be asking them for a donation at the end of the evening, and there are no surprises.
There are a few reasons we do not charge a set price for house concerts—we do not want to limit anyone’s generosity, nor do we want any of your potential guests to stay home due to financial hard times. Sharing music with your community is the goal! The more the merrier.
Ask for RSVPs!
Your space may be limited, and you want your friends to know that this is a special event, and you really want a commitment. Even with a commitment, some will drop off at the last minute–kids get sick, work schedules change, etc. Don’t be afraid to accept a few more YES rsvps than you have chairs. 😉
Set the room.
The goal is to provide your guests with an intimate concert that they’ll remember for years to come. Setting the room up “concert-style” will go a long way in creating a space that lets your guests know they are in a listening room. If you have any questions about this, or want some help, Beki has years working with and for event planners and will be happy to help stage the room before the concert.
While we’re on the subject of creating a space with an attentive audience, it might be a good time to talk about KIDS. We’ve found that while our music is family friendly, most kids get pretty bored with the prospect of sitting quietly through an hour-long concert. Our suggestion is that the concert portion of the evening be adults only. If you have that rare well-behaved mesmerized-by-music kid, feel free, but otherwise, think of this as a grown up night out…or, um, IN.
Make the Very Important Announcements.
Most of our house concerts are done on a DONATION BASIS. This means that we are making our living based on the generosity of you and your guests. Thank you in advance!!!
At the beginning of the concert portion of the evening, we’d like for you, our host, to introduce us to your friends, and afterwards, remind them that we are performing on a donation basis. They will already know this, of course, because you said so on the invitation. 🙂 Don’t worry – if talking on a mic makes you nervous, we have a cheat sheet so you don’t have to wing it.
Voila! The evening is complete and you’ve shown your community a great time–a concert without high drink prices, or endless standing in a room full of strangers, but rather songs and intimate stories, with seats, shared food and drink, friendly faces, and memories to last a lifetime…or until the next house concert anyway.
Food and Shelter…
In many cases, the host or hostess will provide a light dinner and guest room for the artists. (In our case, one married couple.) We always appreciate that offer, but be forewarned, we often take people up on it!
That’s all there is to it.
Sounds fun, right?
Contact us to see if we are scheduling house concerts in your area.