Do You Have to Cancel the House Concert at your place?

A host asks…

Artists are willing to book fairly far out ahead of a date for a show. In the event of a modest life event such as a job change necessitating a move of a few hundred miles… what’s a reasonable duration ahead of time to cancel? I would certainly work to reschedule but might not have enough friends in the new area for some time.

The important thing is to create a few worthwhile or helpful options for the artist/group you have scheduled. Forced travel or relocations can happen to many hosts, so it can be helpful to plant seeds well in advance of this kind of rain. It’s never too early to get people involved in your series, especially as volunteers.

Consider some creative backup measures:

Is there an attendee of your shows that could be inspired to step up to help honor the show? Can the show be saved by scaling it down to a TenTen (ten songs for ten or more guests) if one of your friends would like to do it but can’t likely fit or get the numbers you anticipated?

Is there another host in your region that might consider taking over the show if you’ll help them promote it?

Can you supplement the alternative with a donation even if you’ve done your best to move/replace the show? Even if you didn’t promise a guarantee, you still have the option to make a generous gesture.

We count on you to do better than “Sorry guys, can’t do the show. Good luck.” We hope you care more than that.

What about beyond this show?

Since you are moving a few hundred miles away… what will happen to your audience? Do your people have another series in town that you’ll recommend they attend? You’ve spent considerable time and effort building an audience and community for music… please find a way to keep the torch lit in your area!

Advertisements

LRFest 19 – Artist Applications Open for Listening Room Festival.

For Immediate Release

Artist Applications for (8th Annual) Listening Room Festival 2019 are open until June 30th, but only 200 applications will be accepted, so artists are encouraged not to wait until the deadline.

This festival helps artists make money playing house concerts, as they travel to play a showcase for the largest gathering of house concerts in the world. Several dozen house concerts will be scheduled over 5 nights.

Another unique twist is that the contest judges are active house concert presenters, so any artist in the contest has the potential to get a booking or two even if they don’t get selected as a festival performer. 60-70 judges are expected this year.

The festival takes place March 26 – 31, 2019, in and around the Tampa Bay region. The festival showcase is March 29th at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg.

Music fans interested in hosting a show in their home or office are invited to contact the festival as well.

Contact Fran Snyder, fran@listeningroomnetwork.com, 727-280-6208

Listening Room Festival was a great introduction into the community in St Pete and all of our hosts did a fantastic job at setting up the space and making us feel right at home. The money was great and we made lasting fans and friendships. I would recommend the Listening Room Festival to any artist who appreciates performing in front attentive, supportive audiences that appreciate the gift of good music and connection. – Rory, Quiles and Cloud

Learn more and apply at ListeningRoomFestival.com.

Can the opener’s guest attend for free?

A performer asks,

“I am playing an opener set soon for a smallish long-established house concert series. We have been told the host “prefers” not to do any comped admission. I will be traveling with my partner, and I ain’t about to ask her to stand outside while I play. Nor do I find it appropriate to fork over a twenty out of my minimal fee so she can have a chair. ”

How do other hosts handle the occasional “guest of the performer” or comp requests; ie. what is reasonable to expect?”

 

——
House concerts with opening acts tend to be the exception rather than the rule. The general feeling I have (and many agree) is that it usually creates a 3rd set and a second intermission, and stretches the night too long, even if it’s just 3-4 songs. If the main act is only playing one set, then openers makes more sense, but we find that to be unusual too.

Well established hosts are often deeply committed to maximizing revenue for the main act (that’s why they are so in demand). They also might be stretching themselves with a guarantee they might not fully cover with donations… in those cases, it would make sense to have a “no freebie” policy, since any unpaid guest might come out of their own pocket – especially if there’s an agent counting heads.

If the show will be completely full, then a freebie admission is either costing the main artist or the host. If there are plenty of open seats, then it comes down to principles.

  • If you feel honored to open this show, you have the opportunity to be gracious and pay (or offer to pay) for your spouse/guest.
  • If you don’t feel honored enough, you can always ask to “confirm if your spouse or +1” can attend as your free guest.
  • The third option is to buy her a shirt that says “crew,” “roadie,” or “guitar technician” and teach him/her how to tune guitars!

Gratitude seems to be a great way to approach things, especially if the relationship with the host is one you want to keep or improve.

How long should house concerts be?

I’ve noticed a lot of variety in the past 12 years, and learned a lot about what makes house concerts an enjoyable experience. I’m ready to promote a new slightly-tweaked standard for our listening room community. Artists and hosts are free to vary from this standard, but this is what we will promote going forward. Whatever format or set-structure you choose for your concerts, you should communicate that to your hosts/artists in your profile.

For a long time, the de-facto standard for house concerts has been two sets, of roughly 40-50 minutes in length. Whether the concert is one set or two, I am advocating for a shorter amount of time.

Here’s why.

Most people have trouble sitting still and concentrating for more than 30-40 minutes. Like it or not, technology and pop-culture have whittled away at our attention spans. In addition, house concert seats are rarely comfortable for a long length of time. When it comes to the end of a second long set, I think most encores are half-hearted.

The old saying of “leave them wanting more” applies here. Why not play shorter sets of your absolute best material and make people eager to hear more? Why not build to an enthusiastic encore every night?

It’s also becoming more common for artists to choose to play one longer set instead of having set breaks. The arguments for this are logical, especially if you previously played two long sets.

  • Some people leave during the break.
  • The break stops the momentum you have built, and it’s often hard to recapture the vibe you worked to achieve in the first set.
  • It makes for a longer night.

The advantages of two sets with a break include:

  • more sales during the break (two sales opportunities can make the lines shorter)
  • allowing people to stretch and re-fill, re-snack
  • the opportunity for two distinct acts (first act new stuff, second act previous hits/requests, a la James Lee Stanley)

Going forward, we will be promoting 70 minute formats for house concerts, whether you choose to play one set or two. For one-setters, it’s almost unkind to ask people to sit for more than 70 minutes – unless they ask you for more.

For two-set shows, we are recommending 40 minutes, then 30. The shorter second set leaves people primed for an enthusiastic encore, and it allows you to choose whether to play 1,2,3 or even 4 more songs if the energy is sustained. I would even suggest doing encores in pairs of songs. Play 2 and see if you get a second encore once in a while… that’s when you know your are having peak experience concerts.

We understand that not everyone will agree with or endorse this standard. It’s simply what we will promote.

TenTen Concerts

As a reminder, we developed the format of TenTen Concerts years ago to inspire short performances on weeknights – to make things easy for the host, for the audience, and for the artist. This format is unchanged – Ten Songs for Ten or more guests. Ten songs is roughly 45 minutes for most artists, and encores are a likely and welcome treat here as well. The suggested donation is reduced to (U.S.) $10-20 instead of $15-20.

More on TenTen here.

 

 

 

Restaurants as Listening Rooms… possibility vs odds

We often get requests from restaurants and cafes who want to be part of what we do, by hosting concerts at their venue. Most often, they haven’t thought it through… they just have a notion that live music might be fun and could enhance their business.

The unique thing about our concerts is the “listening atmosphere.” We like to make a clear distinction that our concerts are not “background music,” so we expect the audience to behave like they would at a movie theater or Broadway musical. We want everyone seated, paying attention. The venue also has to support the performance – limiting or eliminating noises like espresso machines, clinking ice, chatting at the register, etc. Historically, that has been tough to achieve in restaurants, but there are a few that pull it off.
The key is that everyone in the space should be there for the show. If someone walks in for dinner and is not interested in the show, they might start talking and distracting from everyone else.
Small spaces are totally fine. If you’d like to create a “concert night” that would take place at a time where it wouldn’t interfere with your normal business flow, we’d be happy to support that.
Listening Room Network is a fiscally sponsored organization, and we accept donations that help us create meaningful and enjoyable music events around the world. We welcome your support.

Press Release: House Concert workshop during Listening Room Festival

For Immediate Release

A house concert workshop has been scheduled for April 21nd, as part of the Listening Room Festival.

The workshop is led by Fran Snyder, the founder of ConcertsInYourHome.com – the leading resource for house concerts around the world. Anyone interested in hosting house concerts is welcome to attend.

House concerts are an old tradition that has become vital to the careers of independent touring artists. With the shifting sands of technology and the music business, artists have found that the live experience is not easily duplicated (cheapened) and the intimacy of playing in close, homey quarters provides todays best opportunity to sell CDs and merchandise as well.

ConcertsInYourHome educates and inspires music fans to put on concerts in their living rooms, backyards, and other interesting locations. Some of these music fans make house concerts their hobby of choice, hosting 6-12 concerts per year for friends and invited guests.

The workshop takes place during the 6th annual Listening Room Festival – a gathering attended by house concert hosts and fans from around the world. Attendees have 20 house concerts to choose from over 5 days, and the main event is a showcase at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg, featuring all 6 festival acts.

Workshop will include Q&A session and handouts for attendees. Topics will include building an audience, collaborating with other hosts, suggested donations, common mistakes, and some breakthrough ideas.

LRFest Meeting and House Concert Workshop.
Saturday, April 21

Marriott Courtyard (meeting room)
300 4th St N, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Phone: (727) 450-6200

10am – 11am – coffee and meet/greet
11am – Festival feedback
11:30am – HC workshop, Q&A based on your advance questions
1pm – wrap-up

The workshop is free for those who register in advance at this link. ($5 at the door if not registered.)

Inquiries: Fran Snyder   727-280-6208, fran at ListeningRoomNetwork.com

Press Photos

http://www.ListeningRoomFestival.com, http://www.ConcertsInYourHome.com

 

 

 

Press Release: Listening Room Festival 2018 (#LRFest18)

For Immediate Release

Florida “House Concert” Festival Connects Fans from All Over the World

LRF logo on white

The 7th Annual Listening Room Festival invites house concert presenters, artists and fans to join in this year’s festivities. Music-lovers from around the globe are traveling to St. Petersburg, FL to enjoy the house concerts, showcase, and planned group activities from April 17-22, 2018.

Six international contest winners will play the Main Showcase (April 20) at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg, as well as house concerts in the surrounding region. This year’s artists are Big Little Lions, Luke Bulla Trio, Escaping Pavement, Chasing Lovely, John Wort Hannam, and The Novelists. Reserved seats are available ($25adv./$35 day of show) at the festival website http://www.ListeningRoomFestival.com

House concerts, the core of the festival, stem from a tradition that is hundreds of years old, but has seen a resurgence in the past few decades. Music fans volunteer to host living room concerts, and invite friends to attend an up-close-and-personal show by a professional touring artist. Attendees are asked to make a suggested donation of $15-20 per person directly to the performers.

The main showcase at the Palladium Theater features all six acts.  In addition, this year’s festival includes group activities and workshops to educate and inspire fans to join the growing house concert movement.

2018 Festival Schedule

Schedule is subject to change. Please register for the festival to receive updates and invitations to the private events.

  • April 17-22 — house concerts around the bay area.
  • Friday, April 20 — LRFest Showcase at the Palladium
  • Saturday April 21 — House Concert Workshop, Meet & Greet at Marriott Courtyard Downtown St. Petersburg. Free to attend if you RSVP here. $5 at the door.
  • Sunday April 22 — 10am brunch for festival artists, hosts, and invited guests. Contact fran@listeningroomnetwork.com for details.

The festival is presented by ConcertsInYourHome.com, part of The Listening Room Network. More information and tickets are available through ListeningRoomFestival.com.

About the Listening Room Network:

Listening Room Network (LRN) creates and nurtures opportunities that pay artists to perform in a listening environment while bringing communities together with a renewed passion for live music. LRN and its signature websites (ConcertsInYourHome.com, OfficeConcerts.com) are leading innovators in the live music industry.

Contact/Press Photos: 

Fran Snyder 727-280-6208fran@ListeningRoomNetwork.com

Website: www.ListeningRoomFestival.com

Free house concert guide: Download (PDF)

HighRes Press photos: Office Concerts, House Concerts, Fran Snyder, and Festival Finale.

Screen Shot 2017-03-21 at 3.42.54 PM

Political music and speech at concerts…

A concert is an agreement between the host/venue and the artist. The booker should research the artist and get the basic vibe. The artist with strong or suggestive material that may not be obvious from their website should say so. If it’s not a fit, you move on.

If you want to be political (this applies to more than music) you will pay a price for it. An activist is someone willing to pay the price. But if you are excellent at political/suggestive music (a la Ani DiFranco, Roy Zimmerman, Eric Schwarz) there are also rewards… including a very loyal audience.

Fran Snyder

CIYH Artists of the Year – 2017

Each year, we recognize three talented acts for their successful use of the site,and the reviews and recommendations we’ve received from our host community. Touring is a difficult sport, and these acts have demonstrated not just talent, but persistence, kindness, and a willingness to go where the opportunities are. Congrats!

2017 Artists of the Year!

Headshot
Daniel Champagne
Headshot
Flagship Romance
Headshot
Dan Frechette & Laurel
Thomsen

Honorable Mentions

These artists had a great year with us as well!

Rupert Wates, Danika & The Jeb, Matt Bednarsky, The Currys, Kelley McRae, Escaping Pavement, Woody Russell, and Brian Keith Wallen.

Note: Artists of the Year are not eligible to win for the following two years.