Begin forwarded message:
I’ve been working with a friend to do some house concerts at her home. She had a problem with the last show we did – she had a faulty faucet that someone accidentaly left on, and the sink overflowed and caused about $10K worth of damage to her house. Unfortunately she had an issue with her homeowners – didn’t realize that her deductible was outrageously high, but she just renegotiated and now it’s just $1000 which is much more reasonable.
She’d like to continue doing concerts, but she wants to make sure she’s protected, and she doesn’t want to pay out of pocket for supplies. Is there any kind of protocol – any way to get affordable insurance for the shows? Alternatively, I was thinking the host takes like 5 or 10% from the door of each show to fund an escrow account that the host can use to cover supplies, to cover damage or insurance, or to help pay expenses related to the concert series, that aren’t necessarily directly related to that night’s performance. Do you know anybody doing something like that?
When I ran shows, we always just paid the expenses out of pocket, but she’s a little concerned, and after the water damage issue she’s even more concerned. Wanted to get your thoughts on it.
- Good lighting
We want to show the joy of house concerts through our growing worldwide community. Over the next few weeks, we’ll like, love, and share your photos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, if they include the following two tags: #CIYH #HCpic
Thanks for being part of it! — Fran Snyder
Photo etiquette: Don’t make your camera annoying to people behind you! Sit near the back if you want to take pictures.
A Banner Year!
We continued and expanded our yearly celebration of house concerts, setting records for local and travel attendance. 2017 was also a great year for our artists, with each act having a full schedule for the week, and immediate interest for future bookings in our area.
- 500 Attendees at showcase – best of our 6 year history!
- $2300 (avg) earnings for festival acts.
- 20 house concerts
- 5 additional concerts and appearances – office concerts, radio appearances.
- 6 international attendees (mostly from France)
- 10 out of state attendees (Tennessee, Minnesota, Virginia, Texas)
Our festival received coverage, articles, and our artists made appearances in:
• Creative Loafing
• St. Pete Times
• WFTS Television (ABC)
• WMNF Radio
• Assorted blogs and websites.
Economic Impact for the City
Listening Room Festival contributes ever-growing revenue for the City of St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay area.
• Room Nights 30 @ $150 = $4500 (24 room nights at host hotel)
• Additional Travel Spending (estimated) = $6000
• After-Party at SouZou, 110 attendees and pre-show dinner bump
• $500 donation to St. Pete Arts Alliance
Preparations already underway for LRFest18! (April 18-22, 2018)
- Artist applications May 15 – June 30
- Judging (done by hosts of ConcertsInYourHome.com) June 27 – July 25
photos by Donna Green, of course!
For Immediate Release
A house concert workshop has been scheduled for April 22nd, 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 22
Staybridge Suites (meeting room)
940 5th Ave S
St. Petersburg, FL 33705
10am – 11am – breakfast 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.)
A few years ago we created an internal system so that we could track how well our hosts and artists were communicating. This allowed us to learn
- which hosts were having trouble keeping up
- how quickly they respond
- how favorably they respond
It also allows us to send weekly reminders to hosts about pending inquiries so that artists don’t have to keep asking “did you get my email?”
Here are the all time results over the past few years.
On average, almost half of our artist inquiries are answered within a week. Also, about one-third of the responses are favorable (yes or maybe). These numbers fluctuate a bit (January/February 2017 was pretty bad for response time) but tend to revert to the numbers shown.
What’s exciting now is that soon we’ll be able to show artists how their efforts compare to other artists on the site. Stay tuned!
Two pillars of our thoughtful and cultural society are at risk of being privatized or eliminated by the Trump administration.
- The National Endowment for the Arts
- Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Hope is not the answer anymore.
Please consider calling your Senator and Representative and ask them to protect federal funding for the arts! Also check out the Indivisible guide, written by former Congressional staffers, which outlines some great practical steps and pointers for directly engaging your representatives effectively!
Even the most experienced pilots have a checklist they use to make sure they take all necessary steps for a safe trip. The checklist not only makes clear what needs to be done, but also describes the best order or timing for effectiveness and efficiency. Use this checklist to save yourself time and to help your house concert series take off!
[PS – this is a first draft, to be revised for Fran Snyder’s upcoming book on house concerts. Send suggestions for improvement to email@example.com
House Concert Checklist for Hosts
- Are there other house concerts or events that compete with your proposed/tentative date? Sports playoffs, music festivals, birthdays, holidays, spring breaks, etc.
- Format – TenTen, traditional – which is best house concert format for this day of the week, this artist/act, and your schedule?
- Suggested donation, lodging, meal, guarantee, cancelation – all terms agreed?
- Confirmation Email sent? Address, Numbers, Arrival Time Window, Lodging, Pets, etc.
- Food and Smoking Allergies?
- Optional Info to Include: 1. Local resources: nearby restaurants, grocery and music stores 2. Regional resources: music venues/contacts that might help them find other concerts.
- Use date and day, choose time to open doors and show time.
- Food and beverage… basic plan and suggestion for invitees.
- Webflyer and email look great? Spell check? test send and proofread twice. (resources?)
- Mailing list updated? (Bounced emails and notes from last time?)
Volunteers and backup plans
- Do you have at least one volunteer to help with the door, setup, food/beverage, etc, so that you can be a gracious host?
- Do you have a plan for what to do if the weather goes bad or if you get horrendously ill?
- Update and increase mailing list
- Schedule invitation emails… 4 weeks, 2 weeks, 1 week.
- Send confirmation emails with address as guests RSVP.
- Send 3 day reminder to RSVP list.
- Waiting list needed?
- Additional efforts if needed to fill room – charity, VIPs
Setting Up, Day(s) Before
- Basic cleaning inside and out… think safety and visibility from the road.
- Print signage (donation, entry, food, etc.)
- Confirm artist arrival time, dinner plans, sound system, extension cord?
Setting Up, Day of Show
- Spruce up cleaning if necessary.
- Donations Jar with Sign
- Guest List Printed
- Green room
- Concert room
- Merch Table
- Kitchen/Food area
- Keep back row handy but not set up (or reserved)
- Where to load in, park, put merch and gear?
- Where to relax and warm up?
- Snacks or beverages?
- Outlets/extension available?
- Expectations of access – is artist expected to mingle before the show? (some like this, some don’t, timing is also issue)
- Volunteer/greeter in place
- Encourage folks to pick their seats, especially down front.
- Give 5-10 minute warning for everyone to use restrooms and find their seats.
- Take the stage and welcome folks.
- Make short announcements.
- Describe format… encourage folks to stay in their seats during the show. Try to wait for a break or the end of the show.
- Introduce artist. Short, warm, personal.
- Praise artist, encourage CD/merch purchases.
- Remind about suggested donations if any were missed.
- Check restrooms if possible.
- Give 5 minute warning
- Announce beginning of next set. Please welcome back…name!
- Rave about show.
- Encourage CD sales
- Check for over-drinkers
- Settle up with artist money… donations on-target?
Thank you email, promo next show.
Again, your feedback is welcome!
Performers are public figures, so their websites and email lists are for public promotion. If your concert is listed on their website, it can be considered a public event. [We’ve seen a house concert shut down by local government for this. Officials claimed it was a public event because it was listed on the artist’s website, with the host’s email address. Many artists/agents are unaware of this and they will list your info on their website unless you tell them not to.]
Hosts find it tempting to encourage artists help fill seats. Artists are often happy to help (if they can) by emailing their fans in the area, because that can create a bigger show and increase donations. The challenge is they don’t personally know most people on their list, and inviting unknown fans to your home poses TWO types of risks – 1. making your event public, and 2. having un-vetted strangers in your home.
It’s important to take a sober look at the risks you take when you have any gathering in your home. People can damage items, steal, or even fall and hurt themselves. These problems are rare and could even be trivial. But there is always a chance it could be serious. That’s why we advocate for the safest practices, and encourage you to personally connect (online, by phone, or even in person) with people before you invite them in your home.
Can performers help at all?
Here’s what we recommend:
If the artist wants to list your house concert on their website, tell them to list it like this:
Notice that the host’s email address, phone number, or street address are not publicly listed. The reader would have to use the email form on the artist website to ask for an introduction.
Now, the artist can vet (approve) the fan and introduce them to you, the host, like this:
Of course, the decision to invite Ben is up to you. Friending him on Facebook or exchanging a few emails begins a relationship that takes it beyond “someone who just asked if they could come.” You’ve been introduced (by the band) and you’ve communicated, and you’ve added them to your guest list.
Again, there’s no case law on this, but doesn’t this sound safer than having musicians invite every local bar patron they’ve played for?
This is an excerpt from the new house concert guide from Fran Snyder and ConcertsInYourHome.com – subscribe to this blog or to our monthly newsletter to be notified when the guide is published.
For Immediate Release
Florida “House Concert” Festival Connects Fans from All Over the World
The 6th 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 19-23, 2017.
Six international contest winners will play the Main Showcase (April 21) at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg, as well as house concerts in the surrounding region. This year’s artists are The Currys, Teneia, Mark Croft, Flagship Romance, Daniel Champagne, and Christie Lenée.
House concerts are the core of the festival. 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 $10-20 per person to the performers.
The main showcase at the Palladium Theater features all six acts and is not to be missed. In addition, this year’s festival includes group activities and workshops to educate and inspire fans to join the growing house concert movement.
2017 Festival Schedule
Schedule is subject to change. Please register for the festival to receive updates.
Wednesday April 19
- Evening – House Concerts (Tampa, Tarpon Springs, Largo, Clearwater, Safety Harbor)
Thursday April 20
- 10:30AM – Office Concert with Mark Croft at the Greenhouse (440 2nd Avenue North, St. Petersburg.) One-hour concert.
- Evening – House Concerts (St. Petersburg, Tampa, Brandon, Clearwater)
Friday April 21
- 7:30pm Main Showcase at Palladium Theater, featuring all 6 acts! (tickets)
- 10:30pm After-Party at SouZou – festival performers cut loose and jam. Enjoy themed cocktails named after our festival artists. This will sell out – VIP ticket holders get free entry, all others must purchase.
Saturday April 22
- 10am-1pm House Concert Workshop and Host Meet and Greet at Staybridge Suites Free to attend if you RSVP here. $5 at the door.
- Evening – House Concerts (St. Petersburg, Seminole, Tampa, Brandon, Clearwater)
Sunday April 23
- 10:30am – Brunch for hosts, featured artists, and invited guests.
- 1pm and 4pm House Concerts
- Evening – House Concerts (St. Petersburg, Dunedin, Ft. Myers, Sarasota)
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.
Free house concert guide: Download (PDF)
HighRes Press photos: Office Concerts, House Concerts, Fran Snyder, and Festival Finale.