Music, Family, and Grieving

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One of our hosts suffered a tragic loss this week – the loss of a child. Attending the funeral reminded me of some important things. First, that we (CIYH & LRN) are a community. Though we may not all share the same time and space, we are connected by our love of music.

I was reminded with hugs, with the selection of music, and with passionate words that music can be the thread that holds when it feels like our lives are unraveling. Carrie, the host, was unable to enjoy music for several days after the loss of her son. Then Woody Russell called, and reminded her that music is people, that music is love, and music is healing. They met because of house concerts. Then Carrie deliberately chose a song from Leslie Ellis to play during the service, because of the message, the memories, and the feelings from the house concert in June.

The funeral service was attended by a full room of friends and family. Many of these friendships were initiated or strengthened by the sharing of music in Carrie’s home. It was something to see and feel.

Music cannot replace what we lose. Music though, can hold us firmly in it’s rhythm, it can carry us with it’s sweet melodies, and it can anchor the words we hold most precious. Music will not be lost.

Thank you Carrie for letting me share this story, and for being part of our community.

$5 Discount if you check your phone at the door.

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My girlfriend runs a community acupuncture clinic. One of her biggest challenges is not putting pins into people’s bodies. It’s getting them to put away their phones during the treatment.

I have a similar challenge with phones. Is it possible to go to a concert without having the view eclipsed by phones… all night long? First, a few insults;

You:

  • are a terrible photographer
  • are even worse at video (horizontal, please)
  • are not missed because you are unavailable for 90 minutes
  • are never going to have your existential loneliness satisfied by a post, tweet, like, or share. If your life sucks, then the least you can do is enjoy the music.

Put the phone away. I’ll give you five bucks if I have to.

</rant>

Event Insurance for House Concerts

donation boxGreat to hear from you. The typical questions we get about insurance have to do with liability e.g. if someone slips and falls on your property.  I’ve never had someone ask about insurance that would be specifically about recouping damage to the home itself.

 

We have always discouraged hosts from keeping a percentage of donations, for a couple of reasons. One, to protect the culture of house concerts, which are an act of generosity. Enabling hosts to “cover expenses” is a slippery slope to acting like a commercial venue. We believe that house concert expenses are voluntary – you don’t have to provide booze, sound system, and catering… you can potluck, byob, and have artists bring what they need.

 

The second reason is legal. While there’s no case law on the matter*, we believe a host is on much firmer ground if 100% of donations go the artist. Anything else could suggest commercial activity in the home – which can violate homeowner’s insurance, zoning, and more.

 

Event insurance can range from $60-600 per event, and it’s fairly easy to shop around online for it. Here’s one. https://www.theeventhelper.com/
Hope this helps!
Fran

 

On Wed, Jun 21, 2017 at 12:35 PM, Beth Fizell-Jenkins wrote:
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.

Thanks,
B.

House Concert Picture Hunt!

House concert pic hunt.jpg
Do you have a concert photo that shows the warmth and appeal of house concerts? Does it have these basic qualities?
  • Good lighting
  • Smiles
  • Closeness

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

For our favorite pics, we may also offer you a social media shoutout and $5 for a fancy coffee or whatever! Upload, tag and share… as many photos as you like. Promotion ends June 30.

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.

LRFest 2017 – Festival Recap

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.

Some Highlights:

  • 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)

Media Impact

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!

Outdoor vs Indoor Concerts – which is better?

One of the most appealing things about house concerts is the cozy atmosphere that living rooms provide. That said, there are many hosts who prefer to host in gardens, backyards, and patios when possible.
The first trade-off to consider is weather. No artist (or host) wants to have a show canceled due to bad weather, so a backup plan (indoors) is almost always necessary. If you live in a seasonally dry/comfortable area, like California, you can get away with more outdoor events.
The second trade-off is intimacy. Some people do have a cozy garden area with natural barriers or walls to keep people close to the performer, but in general it isn’t AS cosy as an indoor show. An outdoor show almost always requires a sound system since you don’t get the acoustic benefit of walls to keep the sound in.
The third trade-off is safety. This can be a very minor point, but you do have to watch for people falling into a pool, tripping over tree roots, etc. Most homes have additional concerns when inviting guests into the yard.
Lastly, an outdoor show requires friendlier neighbors. Generally, classical or folk and acoustic concerts are not very loud, and most residential areas have relaxed “noise” standards for events that take place at reasonable hours. That said, if you are hosting a band, you should be checking with your neighbors and inviting them to attend. If Alice Cooper lives next door, you’re probably O.K.
Outdoor shows can have their own delightfulness when the weather is perfect, especially if the audience is attentive and close. Compared to a living room show,  a backyard event can typically accommodate a larger band and a larger audience, which is often the main reason a host will choose to indoor shows.
As noted above, indoor shows have more advantages, especially for hosts who can’t draw a large crowd. There’s something very satisfying about having a “full house,” and choosing a limited space can makes it easier to create that feeling of a successful event.

Press Release – House Concert Workshop during LRFest weekend. 4/22/17

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.)

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

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

 

 

 

How well do CIYH hosts respond to artist inquiries?

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.

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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!

 

 

Under Threat – Funding for the Arts

screen-shot-2017-01-23-at-7-37-36-pmTwo 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!

https://www.indivisibleguide.com/download-the-guide

House Concert Checklist for Hosts

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 fran@listeningroomnetwork.com

House Concert Checklist for Hosts

Booking Details

  • 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?

Artist/Agent communications

  • 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.

Invitations

  • 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?

Promoting

  • 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)

Artist Arrival

  • 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)

Guest arrival

  • Volunteer/greeter in place
  • Encourage folks to pick their seats, especially down front.

Show start

  • 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.

Break

  • 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!

End

  • Rave about show.
  • Encourage CD sales
  • Check for over-drinkers
  • Settle up with artist money… donations on-target?

Follow Up

Thank you email, promo next show.

Again, your feedback is welcome!