What exactly is a house concert?
A house concert is exactly what it sounds like: a get-together of friends in your living room, deck, or garden, with live music, and often food, drinks and conversation. These evenings have their advantages over public concerts because they are cozy, intimate, and allow me a chance to really get to know the audience while exposing my music to new ears - your friends!
Here are some Frequently Asked Questions:
I don’t have a big house. Can I still host a concert?
Yes! The cozier the better :)
How many people are you expecting? I don’t think I can get 50 people to come to my house.
I've done house concerts with as few as 15 people, and as many as 70. The beauty of a house concert is that it is purposely more intimate and focuses on quality over quantity. Traditional venues rely solely on numbers, making public shows more about quantity than quality.
Can I book you at my neighborhood theater, coffeehouse or gallery instead?
Does it cost money to host a house concert?
Yes and no. There is no outright cost to host a concert, but as a traveling artist, I request that hosts ask their guests to come expecting to give a suggested donation, but no one should be turned away if they’re unable to give. Many house concert hosts have a basket by the door with a sign. They often "interrupt" the performance near the end of the evening, and intentionally invite guests to contribute into the hat that is then passed around the room. A typical house concert has a required donation of $10-20 per person.
Can I book your band for a house concert?
It depends on my band’s availability, concert location, and other factors, but I usually play house concerts solo.
How do I plan this thing?
The great thing about house concerts is that they are low stress. Once we agree on a date, we can talk about a start time and other details. Then you can setup a Facebook invite and send emails/texts/smoke signals to let all your friends know about it. You can even encourage them to bring snacks! Whatever happens, don't stress! It's just like hanging out with your friends :)
But I really don’t want strangers in my house.
This is usually people’s main concern. They're interested in hosting something but don't want it to be listed as a public event. No problem. Simply keep the Facebook invite private or limit the Evite to your network. Usually I add a generic "Private House Concert" listing on my calendar page for your specific date. Often a fan will ask if they can attend the show. I’ll ask you first if it is ok to pass your address on to this interested fan. If you'd rather keep it a closed event, then no problem. It's your house :)
What exactly is the order of events for the evening?
The order is pretty laid back. It's great to give people 1 hour to arrive, get comfortable, and chat it up before getting into the music. Music can go for as little as 1 hour or as long as 2. Sometimes, depending on how long the music is planned to go, there is a break in the middle to let people to stretch their legs, get more food, use the restroom and talk.
What are your personal expectations?
I think the most enjoyable and memorable concerts are when the space becomes a listening room. As an artist who has performed in many diverse settings, my least enjoyable experiences involve playing in a noisy room with no connection to the audience and the music is not the focus, just background noise. There’s nothing wrong with music just to set a mood for an event, but if that’s what you're looking for, I will not be a good fit for your event.
Ok, I think I can do this! What's Next?
Great! Send an email to shaylamcdanielmusic [at] gmail [dot] com. Ask me any additional questions you have or let me know if you are looking to book a specific date. Let's do it!
(some content adapted from www.joyike.com)