How To Host A House Concert
by Patrick & Patricia De Gabrielle
As entertainers, my wife and I are frequently told by others that they would love to have live music at their event, but didn't feel they could afford to do so. You might be pleasantly surprised to find out that it is really quite easy, and can be a fun filled experience for all.
At a house concert I attended not long ago, the host introduced the performers, and thanked the friends and visitors who showed up to pay for his passion and indulgence of live music at his party. We were all there having a wonderful time, at minimal cost to each attendee, and the host and hostess only had to send out an e-mail, and establish a per person fee. Each person or couple commits to attending, (so that you know you have met your minimum requirements),
then brings a bottle of wine, or other drink of their choice and a food item to share, and the party is underway.
Here's how it works. You need enough space for at least 10 couples or 20 individuals plus an area where the act can set up and perform. 20 to 30 dollars per couple is an acceptable amount to charge and for an evening of fun and entertainment. House concerts are usually performed acoustically, so no electric outlets are required. During the summer months outdoor garden house concerts are fun and can allow for a few more guests. You as host get to decide whom to invite. Also, many entertainers choose a non - smoking environment, which you can also easily control, indoors or outdoors. We, for example, will only play at non-smoking weddings, house parties, indoor or outdoor events, whereas other performers are smokers themselves, so do not have issues.
To locate performers who are interested in performing at house concerts, check your local establishments or folk clubs, if you don't have specific acts in mind that you may have seen, talk to others that have hosted to get some names from their roster.Many local and touring performers, alike, are happy to add a house concert on tour or in addition to their other schedules, and enjoy the opportunity to be accoustic or "unplugged" for an evening.
Some performers are only comfortable in larger stage settings where they have amplification and others, like those in the folk, classical, or celtic genre are quite comfortable in a smaller, more initimate setting. You might want to host a house concert which is more "party" oriented, but sound carries, so be aware of your local noise bylaws, if you wish to have acts that are amplified.
A house concert is just that, a concert. You will need to have seating to accommodate the maximum number of guests that you can expect. Rental is an option, or sometimes, the host makes fold up seating an item that guests bring with them, just like outdoor folk concerts! That way, everyone can have a theatre experience, and the performers can have the attention of their audience.
If your home is smaller, and you wish to have a house concert , you can either charge a little more, or add a bit more yourself so that the acts recieve a reasonale fee per evening's entertainment and for the time they took in preparation to make everyone's party a fun filled experience.
Some of your guests may like to play a note or two, so you might want to encourage a jam session or open stage to follow. That means the main act still has the attention of the audience, providing you offer a break in the music to stretch legs or what have you.