House Concerts


Lee enjoys playing in house concert settings, and will appreciate coming to your home for an evening of music. The following is reprinted from the website of his friend and fellow singer-songwriter, Dan Boling, of Albuquerque, NM. Thanks, Dan, for granting reprint permission!

HOW TO DO A HOUSE CONCERT

A House Concert is a great way to hear good music. It's just what it sounds like...a concert in someone's house. Here's how it works:

Many traveling musicians are looking for fill-in dates (often on weeknights) around their venue appearances (usually on weekends). An increasingly popular way to fill this need is the "House Concert". Someone with an interest in live music, and a room that will hold 20 - 75 people comfortably, books the performer and invites their friends in for a show. There are just a couple things that are essential -- beyond those there's plenty of room for creative variations. Here's what you need:

SPACE -- You'd be amazed how many people can fit in a modest sized living room in relative comfort! It's a concert, NOT a party with music, so people won't need room to move around and socialize except before and after the show and during the break in the middle (if you and the artist decide to have a break). Depending on the number of folks attending you can simply rearrange your existing seating or bring in folding chairs, stackable chairs, etc. Some folks have the audience bring their own folding chairs (but it's probably better to set up your own so that you can control the layout). Don't have a suitable room in your house? Talk a GOOD friend into volunteering theirs! One more thing on space -- PARKING. In many neighborhoods you can fit a lot more people in your living room than you can cars in your driveway!

LAYOUT -- There needs to be a "stage" area for the performer. This can be as simple as a rug, or something more elaborate. The main thing is that the audience should be able to see and hear the performer without distractions...so don't set things up where late arrivals, or guests needing the restroom, will have to pass back and forth between the performer and the audience. The performer will also need to get to and from the "stage" (with whatever instruments) without climbing over folks.

SOUND -- Depending on the size of the audience, many house concerts are done without sound equipment. When the room and the audience are small this is great. It removes some of the usual isolation between the audience and the performer and gives a very intimate feel. But if the room is large or acoustically challenging, or the group is big, it may be necessary to use sound. Many traveling performers carry a small P.A. system with them. This is a decision best left to the performer. (Some of us don't have big voices and projecting to a big room acoustically can cause strain).

LIGHTING -- This need not be elaborate. The goal is that the audience be able to see the performer clearly without shining bright lights directly in the performers face! Dim the house lights. Dim the background lights. It's best not to black out the room entirely though. Folks will stumble over each other and you'll also lose some of the feel of a house concert. A couple of inexpensive clip-on lights and you're all set (in-line dimmers & colored bulbs or theatrical gel covers are good if you want to get "fancy"). You may have adequate lighting in place already (track lighting can be adapted very easily if it's already in the right place).

MONEY -- We love what we do, and we also have to make a living at it. Typically house concert guests pay $10 to $20 each. If you have 30 guests that's $300 to $600, and combined with CD sales it makes a profitable evening for the artist. Some presenters take a cut. Some don't. I don't know anyone who presents house concerts and expects to make money on the deal. It has to be for the love of the music. Sort this out with the performer in advance to avoid misunderstandings.

REFRESHMENTS -- Some folks provide light refreshments (and some take the cost out of the "gate"). Some folks encourage guests to bring along their favorites to share. And some folks make it a full-fledged "pot luck" before or after the show. YUMMM!

PERFORMERS -- Where do you find performers willing to do house concerts? Just ask. The folks with "huge" names are not in the market, but you'd be amazed who is! Contact artists you're interested in through their websites, email or publicist. Many independent musicians (singer/songwriters in particular) rely pretty heavily on house concerts these days as they travel around. If you're in the right place and can make your house and your friends available on a date that suits the performer's schedule, you can get some GREAT music in your home. House concerts are best suited to solo acts. Bands need more space and the money gets pretty thin when you start splitting it 4 or 5 ways.

MORE INFORMATION -- If you still want more information, please check out the following website...

http://houseconcerts.org/

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