A house concert is a chance to experience music in a warm and intimate environment. This is a place for artists guests and hosts to network
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I'm delighted to announce a real innovations I'm hopping will help make a difference to the membership of this community and will also help me maintain my own personal level of support for you all here.
I'm introducing a…
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Your chance to flag up your house concert, and your audiences' chance to comment.
Tell us what you like (or dislike) about House Concerts, make suggestions and pass on tips. It's you guys who know what works and what doesn't.
For House Concert goers, your thoughts and suggestions as to what makes a good house concert, and where and who you've seen that does a good house concert show.
Let us know what you think of this site, all suggestions welcome.
My hope is we'll all use this area as a forum for debating the important issues of modern life and what role music has in this new world order, and where house concerts fit in <;-)> Plenty of time for all that, (20 or 30 years before the ice caps melt by liberal estimates). So lets have some fun and get to know each other a bit first. Please feel free to add anything here that tickles your fancy.
Following the success of our 5th Birthday collection, we are proud to announce Vol2 is now in production and can be ordered now from Medicine Show Records (Only £5) every penny goes to keeping the House Concert Hub going, we thank the contributing artists, and your continued generosity.
The Medicine Show is the home of The House Concert and friend to independently minded music, online ever Wednesday 8pm GMT on UkCountryRadio.com, (4pm Thursdays and listen again here on Hub Radio all week) This show is syndicated to 2 Lochs Radio, Loch Broom FM & North Highland Radio in the Highlands, across Glasgow on Celtic Music Radio and Sunny Govan Radio. I'll play your and/or your favourite artists music, and will plug your house concert and events so post your events and music here.
Do you already host a House Concert, love playing them, or simply want to attend? Take out a member's page now.
What is a House Concert?
It's the hippest, most viable and rewarding venue option for folk/roots musicians today - and you can host one in your living room!
A house concert is a chance to experience music in a warm and intimate environment. It's when someone opens up their home and invites you into their living room to share in a performance by one of their favourite musicians. It's a chance to meet the performers and get them to sign their CD. A house concert is also a great social evening for friends and neighbours.
You can I be a House Concert host!
And here's how ...
It's simple, you just invite 25-35 (or more) friends, family, neighbours, co-workers, the postman and whoever else, to a concert at your home.
Round up all your chairs (patio furniture, etc.) and arrange them concert style. You may need to move stuff around a bit to make it work. You might need to borrow a few chairs from neighbours or have guests each bring one. Cosy is good, you don't use a PA unless the house is really big (70 folks or more).
I can't charge my friends money!
No problem. Although many house concerts have a door person to collect donations, some hosts are uncomfortable asking their friends to contribute, especially for a first concert, until they understand the process. For these folks we suggest they simply place a jar by the entrance with a visible sign that says:
£10 each/kids free
(you and the artist set this contribution together beforehand)
Most house concerts give all the proceeds to the artists, many guarantee a set fee when they get confident of selling all tickets, some take a percentage to help with expenses; it's your choice. Remember, your friends aren't paying you, they're donating to the Artists, please make sure you make everyone aware of this an how best to donate IE pass the hat or leave a bowl visible, I always compere our concerts and set all these details out before introducing the artists.
So coping with a house full of people.
Set your seating limit, and agree that with your artist, say 30,. Now 30 people sometimes can mean 15 + cars, and all arriving and leaving at the same time can cause problems for your neighbours, so let them know what your doing and when, ask your guests not to park in your street, suggest the nearest car park, even better if they live locally, walk or cycle. Invite your neighbours, make it a neighbourly social event to, don't use a PA or amplification, most of the artists here will be happy about that (ask them?) no tedious sound check, no sound problems and as intimate as intimate can get. If you do use a PA just support the vocal and only offer the sound to the room, don't over power it and it won't bleed beyond your walls. If your in a modern flat terrace or semi detached house with people all around, you will need your neighbours to be into this and behind you 100% or see Fancy doing a house concert but don't have a front room big enough or have sound issues below. If you have pets make sure they are comfortable with lots of people milling around, and make sure your guests particularly your artists, don't have allergies to pets. Same goes for veggie catering, ask in advance what the requirements are !!
Now its time for the show, put out all the seats (as above) you can muster kitchen stools too at the back is best for those and Iv seen garden seats utilised, ask those already engaged and neighbours for help if short. Make sure access and line of site is best catered for, arrange with the artist where merchandising will be sold in the break (usually from the stage area)
OK people are arriving! where do they meet and greet? A big kitchen is always handy, a place where refreshments can be set out is good, and a bedroom for jackets and coats too, so explain where to leave jackets and how the house works at the door as people arrive, everyone should have time to socialise but be seated before the music starts.
Enter compere and artist! this is your chance to make people feel even more at home, and to make last minute announcements IE toilets, PLEASE TURN OF YOUR MOBILE PHONE, please don't chat during the songs, and then introduce the artist. I always allude to the artists latest cd and tell some background on the artist and the tour, at the break I'll tell people where the cds are for sale, and at the start of the 2nd set reiterate as necessary.
The golden rules of House Concerts.
You if you adhere to these simple guide lines the chances are everyone will be happy & no one will complain, after all its your house your guests and your favourite way of relaxing in your own home, so people will respect that if they are told how you would like it to happen.
House concerts are a great way to support talented, independent artists - directly. A mention of the donation concept on the invite, during the welcome and introduction of the concert can serve is adviced. This combination of tactics assures that everyone contributes to the 'jar' while keeping the host out of the money collecting responsibility.
What's in it for me?
A house concert is a unique and magical experience. Everyone walks away happy and it's a win/win situation. Your guests are thrilled to be part of a 'happening' and you look great for bringing everyone together for such an exciting experience.
There is little or no cost to you, unlike throwing a party. A pot of coffee and some munchies is sufficient, although some folks ask guests to bring goodies, food and drink. etc.
How long do artists play?
Artists normally play a 45 minute listening set (house concerts are not parties; folks really sit and listen - up close and personal) and then take a 15-20 minute break for socializing, selling CDs and taking refreshments. Then, one more 45 minute set and that's a wrap. Party's can kick off after that, but ask your artists, how they feel about that possibility before introducing the option to them and your guests, some artists may have an early start in the morning to make the next gig, some will be up for after show socialising some would prefer to chill and sleep.
Where do I sign up?
If this sounds interesting to you, just open up a page here and I'll get in touch to help you get started, and help with putting you in touch with artists. You will see many artists advertising here who are touring, (see artists booking gigs tab) and I post up availability from agents who are hip enough to let me know about tours. Once you have your event confirmed, post an event here and House Concerts Europe will offer you an events page which is also an invitation template which you can send to your mailing list with RSVP and post to face book and twitter. So please feel free to make enquires and engage your own artist and promote your own shows, we will feature them on the front page and on the FlyinShoes Review front page, our bloggers and podcasters webzine. I'm never far away so will help where I can click here
Please post our badge to your web pages, share this site on social media and invite your friends, family and neighbours in that house concert way. We encourage House Concert goers to get in touch with you here, to see if they can come to your next concert, but this is completely at your discretion.
Fancy doing a house concert but don't have a front room big enough or have sound issues?
Perhaps your local pub has a room that would work, or you have a long suffering friend who has a bigger house and loves music too.
I fall into both these categories. Ann and I have hosted house concerts here at the Medicine Maisonette. Nice as it is, it is just a tad too small for every-one's comfort, so we do ours at The Greenhouse Dingwall. (Under the name of Monday Medicine Shows - it's good to put a name on them so people identify with your taste in music).
This has the bonus of helping your favourite hostelry or venue have another busy night. They can then be persuaded to contribute to the artist's purse too, as do all who attend. The artist cuts costs by staying with the host, and you get the chance for a one-to-one with someone whose music you admire. IE You get to ask what the chords are for a particular song, what tunings they might be using, what his/her favourite whiskey is and do they want another one? That sort of thing.
Another good tip is to try them out on Mondays and Tuesdays. These are hard days to fill for artists so you will be more likely to attract bigger names. If your pals are all into the odd social mid-week get-together, then some strategic net stocking and facebook/house concert hub monitoring could very well attract your favourite artists to stop over at your place, instead of paying out for hotel accommodation. Your hospitality and friends' generosity will help balance the tour books and could help the artist stay in the black - it can be that close sometimes.