Photo by Jess Phillips. Listening Room Festival 2019.
When we started LRFest in 2012, it felt like a moonshot. I wanted to create a gathering to celebrate house concerts, and to create a music showcase opportunity in the middle of a profitable tour. This year, our six acts earned a total of $19,500 over 24 house concerts and a beautiful showcase. Most importantly, they created a base of friends, fans and potential gigs in Florida that will pay dividends for years to come.
As is the case with house concerts, the sweet, listening vibe and profitability are the obvious rewards that mask the more important developments of community and connection. On this front, each year, we see more hosts and fans travel to Tampa Bay area to attend shows and make new friendships. We see them cooperate for routing, lodging, and even for volunteer help at each other’s events. The festival community is creating a rich, cultural tapestry of music support in our region.
Our volunteer crew doubled this year, another sign of the health and impact of our festival. For me, the biggest thrill is the growing number of hosts and fans who travel to St. Petersburg for this event. They come from different cities, different states, and even different countries – to take in a music vacation filled with house concerts and time with their tribe.
We hope you’ll join us for this one-of-a-kind festival.
Once in a while, we get a report that a house concert has had trouble with zoning violations. Zoning laws can cite various reasons why a house concert could be in violation – parking, noise, and commercial activity are the most common.
In the case of Crib Concerts, the complaint is about “Indoor Entertainment,” and specifically because it has been deemed a commercial activity by the local zoning Community Inspector. Unfortunately for Chris Devine, he lives and operates his concerts in a redevelopment district of Herndon that has even more restrictions than the city on property use.
The host is appealing to the city, and we have to give serious kudos to him for honoring the next 5 booked concerts. Since the issue will take months to resolve, Chris created a GoFundMe to cover the cost of the fines. That’s a fine example of commitment to artists, and engaging your community to rally for your cause.
One has to wonder how the complaint originated, but my money is always on someone like this guy.
I’m guessing Mr. Morningwood has never been to a house concert. What do you think?
House concerts need to be privately promoted. LRN provides exactly that.
Although we offer public listings for public venues, LRN has been rebuilt to enable better privacy for house concerts. Since house concerts typically take place in residences, it is important (for legal, safety, zoning, and insurance reasons) that they be private.
Previously, as we also did at ConcertsInYourHome, we offered the public the opportunity to “introduce themselves” to our hosts via our event calendars. This was to encourage conversation and connection instead of automatic, impersonal confirmations. We found that busy hosts found it tempting to just say “yes, please join us, here’s my address!”
Despite very few bad experiences, we know that casually inviting a lot of strangers into your home isn’t safe practice. We also know that getting to know your audience can provide great new friendships and opportunities.
You might think that our increased privacy would be detrimental to the promotion of house concerts, but here’s a surprising opportunity. Now that our network is truly private, we can promote more effectively to the people who care. In order to do this, at long last, we created FAN memberships!
Fan memberships are designed to increase engagement and attendance. People who attend a few house concerts per year will be able to attend a few house concerts per month. They’ll be able to spread the word more effectively by promoting our whole network to their friends and families.
And house concert hosts will be able to see the track record of these fans. Do they show up after they RSVP? Are they spreading the word in ways that should be rewarded? This is information that can be vital to growing a house concert audience.