2019 Artists of the Year

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!

Max Hatt / Edda Glass

The Rough & Tumble

The Whispering Tree

Honorable Mentions

These artists had a great year with us as well!

Rupert Wates, Danika & The Jeb, Escaping Pavement, Giulia Milanta, Missy Andersen & Her One Man Band, Dan Frechette & Laurel Thomsen,
Heidi Burson, and Jesse Terry.

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

How and why I turned my home into a live music venue.

First, I’m not the only one. “House concerts,” as they are commonly called, are popping up all over the world. To organize these shows, music fans invite small acts (often singer-songwriters with just an acoustic guitar) to perform in their living rooms, for appreciative friends and neighbors who all contribute a meaningful donation (usually $20) to the artist.

Why would you do this?

It turns out, people are often disappointed with the experience of going to commercial music venues. The list of reasons is extensive, but you can start with high ticket prices, service fees, urban traffic/parking, and the fact that (at least for major acts) you wind up far from the stage, looking through a sea of cellphones (if not your own) only to gaze at the jumbotron projection of the tiny artist on the stage.

But even for small, independent concerts, the shows often start late, and are put on by venues that care more about alcohol sales than the music. So even if you can see the stage, you’re likely to have some obnoxious people near you, chatting (or yelling) and making it very hard for you to connect with the music.

By contrast, house concerts bring people closer to the musicians. These intimate venues allow audiences to enjoy music without distractions, for reasonable money and at a reasonable time of day. You shouldn’t have to suffer the next day to enjoy yourself!

True, there are plenty of people who feel satisfied with background music, crazy-late nights, or the festival atmosphere where your attention is pulled in a multitude of directions at once. However, for music fans who want a deeper and more personal connection to the show, satisfaction only comes from house concerts and the rare listening room venue.

— Fran Snyder
Fran Snyder is the founder of Listening Room Network and ConcertsInYourHome.org

Quotes:

  1. “We genuinely love music and believe in live music with all our hearts. Opening our homes to musicians of all sorts is a privilege.” — Dani G., Host
  2. “Our experience from the website so far has been really fantastic. We have been finding a lot of great performance opportunities and have made much more money than we expected. Also, it has made our touring across the US and Europe much more interesting as we’re able to more easily connect the dots between shows and go to some places we otherwise probably never would. I love how it’s really a community. We’ve been making friends along the way.” — Sarah and Kenny, Artists
  3. “Thank you for all of the support. Between personal coaching from CIYH, the artist, and the website tools, things couldn’t have went better. We had a full house, people were very respectful and attentive, show was awesome, the artist made some money, and everyone had a great time. Most importantly, my girlfriend is now convinced this is something she loves and a lot of her apprehension about hosting has been put to rest. We’re so excited for the next show.” — Matt Hough, Host
  4. “Can’t believe we are now booked with monthly gigs through November – and such amazing musicians! Becoming involved with this has been a phenomenal experience — so inspirational to be a part of these artists experiences, their lives really inspire me and it feels so 100% positive … really, really amazing.” Elena D., Host

Stats:

  • Dozens of websites support this activity, including SofaConcerts.com in Germany, HomeRoutes.com in Canada, and HouseConcertsAustralia.com, and ListeningRoomNetwork.com (Global).
  • It’s estimated that more than 40,000 house concerts happen every year globally.*
  • House concerts vary in size from 10 to 80 attendees indoors, and 100+ in backyards.

*compiled stats from various sites and artist reports at Listening Room Network.

 

Press Release: Listening Room Festival 2020

For Immediate Release

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

LRF logo on white

The 9th 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 March 25-29, 2020.

Five international contest winners will play the Festival Showcase (March 27) at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg, as well as house concerts in the surrounding region. This year’s artists are Joy Ike, Amy Bishop, Kevin Daniel, Twin Kennedy, and The Young Novelists. Reserved seats to the festival showcase 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 five acts. In addition, this year’s festival includes group activities and workshops to educate and inspire fans to join the growing house concert movement.

2020 Festival Schedule

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

  • March 25-29 — house concerts around the bay area.
  • Friday, March 27 — LRFest Showcase at Palladium Theater St. Pete
  • Saturday March 28 — House Concert Workshop, Meet & Greet at Staybridge Suites St. Petersburg. RSVP here. $5 in advance $10 at the door.

The festival is presented by 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 727-280-6208, fran@ListeningRoomNetwork.com

Website: www.ListeningRoomFestival.com

Free house concert guide: Download (Link to PDF)

HighRes Press photos: Festival Artists.

Screen Shot 2017-03-21 at 3.42.54 PM

What Should You Put in Your Booking Info?

This post is to help you (LRN hosts and venues) fill out your “Booking Information” in your LRN profile. Have a look at the examples below, and feel free to copy, paste, adapt anything you find helpful into your own profile.

(“<p>” just creates paragraph space.)

Example 1: (Style, banter, content)

We book based on mutual interest and availability. Please don’t be offended if we can’t accommodate your request, since there are always more amazing artists than there are available dates. We are focused on presenting a range of artists and would like to foster a diverse musical community.
<P>Things we’re hoping to see when we view your profile: videos of you performing live that include both your song and some amount of stage banter; a sense of humor (irreverence preferred); a modern and distinctive take on roots music; songwriting that appeals to an English major. A “No” is not a rejection of your talent, but just the awareness that your particular style doesn’t match our particular style.
<p>We do not host more than one event per month, so please check our schedule of upcoming events before making your request. Other things that may affect booking: local shows and festivals, extreme weather, Memphis Grizzlies play-off games.

Example 2:

Looking to book any dates from late April through mid October (warm months only), weekends preferred but not essential. Our barn venue is beyond description (in the best way).

Example 3: (Season, Best night of Week)

We welcome artists to perform between late May and early October. We do not host concerts between November and April–Heavy snow prevents guests from parking here in Tahoe.
<p>
Because we only host a maximum of 3 house concerts per year, we are very choosy because we want the artist to be successful.
<p>
We run all inquiries through our audience panel. Most of our guests are Celtic music lovers. They crave audience participation and gentle humor.
<p>
FYI–Our best-attended house concerts are on Friday nights.

Example 4: (Small, One-Set Format, Weeknights Available, Short Notice )

I ONLY BOOK 4-8 weeks out. It’s a great last minute filler gigs, often on Sunday or Monday. We host TenTen Concerts (1 set).
<p>
We prefer solo/duo acts with a well-honed show… not just a song-list. We also like at least 30% uptempo or groovy material… we want energy as well as poetry!

Example 5: (Family-friendly)

Singer/songwriters encouraged; country, bluegrass, folk solos and small bands; small family-friendly venue.

Example 6: (Age, Cover Songs Appreciated)

We need a high proportion of upbeat music with some great covers. Our audience wants to have fun.
<p>
Our programs are always held on the Second Tuesday night of each month. This avoids most of the holiday travel problems.
<p>
Most of our crowd is 55+, and they very much appreciate a few recognizable cover tunes in each set. Several regional artists are repeated each season, so open dates are limited.

Example 7: (Genre)

Looking for a blues acts!

Example 8: (Frequency)

We are now accepting inquiries for our 2020 season of shows. We book one show per month.

Example 9: (Foreign Language)

We still have dates available for 2021. Best in spring or autumn. No one-man bands. Best 3-4 musicians, at least 2. Generally looking for upbeat, Americana/Roots… audience is both French + German + speak no or little English, so music and vibe must be emphasis. (Sophisticated lyrics are largely lost.)

Example 10: (Unamplified on Purpose, Must see you first)

We usually book 9 to 12 months in advance. And, to ensure that performers are a good fit for our audience, we will only book after seeing an artist perform live at least once.
<p>
If we like your video samples, we will make every effort to catch you at a live performance when you tour central Texas so that we can consider you for booking on your next tour through the area. <p>Note that our series is unamplified – no mics, no PA, no sound system – and we are committed to keeping it that way. If you must have a sound system, then we are not the right series for you. <p>We expect 2 sets of at least 45 minutes each with a break between the two sets during which our performers should mingle with our guests and may sell product. We provide free coffee, water, lemonade, and a desert, or light snack, during the break. <p>After the show, we have a song circle for local musicians (amateur and professional) and you are welcome to participate or listen but you are under no obligation to do either. During the song circle, we provide a simple dinner for our performers and all guests who stay for the song circle. We make every effort to accommodate your dietary needs. <p>Hopefully that covers everything in regard to our series but if I left something out, feel free to ask.

 

 

 

How to Avoid Panic Promotion

Occasionally I get emails from house concert presenters who have an upcoming show with a shortage of RSVPs. They are looking for help or advice for a last minute promotional push to get their numbers up for a healthy turnout.

Note that these following suggestions are even MORE helpful if you don’t wait until a few days out.

Let’s make sure your emails are persuasive.

What makes this artist special? What do you love most? Have you communicated that in an email to your list?

A lot of hosts fall into the habit of “just the facts” when announcing their shows. I find it makes a difference to give them a sentence or two about why this show might be special.

Example: “Aaron’s CD has been the most played music in my car for the past six months. I think you’ll really appreciate the lyrical depth and musical groovy-ness of his music. It reminds me of Peter Gabriel.”

THEN give them the details and how to RSVP.

Brainstorm to get a few more names and emails on your list.

Not everyone picks up the habit of collecting email addresses and interest from people they meet. Is your dentist on your list? Who else have you met lately?

If you don’t have the habit of adding to your list each time you meet new folks, then schedule a regular brainstorm session every month or so. OR, wait til just before you get into panic mode on your concert with light RSVPs. 8^)

Personal calls and emails to key folks.

Remember that some of the people on your list are actual friends that you care (or used to care!) about. Maybe pick up the phone? “Hey I was about to invite you to this special concert I’m hosting, but I figured I’d give you a call and catch up first. How are you?” Re-kindle the friendship, THEN offer to send the invite email. You might even confirm the email address if they’ve been unresponsive in the past. “Is this your best email?”

Ask for help!

Your existing RSVPs can be nudged to invite some friends.

Don’t beg and plead (yet)… people actually like to be helpful. And NEVER be a downer about your numbers. You want to inspire people to attend, and you want them to look forward to future emails. If you establish a pattern of panic and sadness, people will start to tune you out.

So include a special note in your reminder email “we have a few open seats left for this show… is there someone you know that might enjoy joining you for this special concert?”

At Listening Room Network, we help venues and house concerts promote their events to each other, as well as our private community of fans. You can join us and list your events at www.ListeningRoomNetwork.com

What is some advice you’d give to a host who wants to add some last minute RSVPs? Send them to support@listeningroomnetwork.com and we’ll update this post.

And remember, don’t just announce… persuade!

“This concert is a special one because…”

 

Listening Room Festival 2020 Lineup Announced!

Last night, 60 music fans from the Tampa Bay area gathered at the Hideaway Cafe (St. Petersburg FL) to get the first glimpse of the #LRFest lineup for 2020. We booked 20 house concerts in one night for our festival next March.

Our 9th Annual Listening Room Festival takes place March 25-29, 2020.
We’re excited that more music fans make a music vacation out of our festival each year. Hosts from Canada, France, and all around the U.S. come to St. Petersburg FL to meet their tribe and experience an amazing week (or long weekend) of intimate and remarkable performances.
We’ll update the Listening Room Festival site with more info soon.

Here is the lineup for 2019!

Joy Ike
Kevin Daniel
The Young Novelists
Amy Bishop

Twin Kennedy

Please register at http://www.ListeningRoomFestival.com for more information, including hotel deals and more about the expanding festival schedule!

Your Cultural Legacy as a Music Fan

Did you just go to shows, or did it mean something? — Fran Snyder

You can be in the music business.
Best of all, you don’t have to pretend it’s your job.

What do I mean?

Until you make it to the top of the corporate music business ladder, you’re poor. You’re overworked. It’s a rough lifestyle.

The best way to be in the music business is as a hobby. It’s easy as

  1. Volunteer
  2. Play a limited role that you enjoy.
  3. Watch the impact that you make on the lives of your friends, and the careers of independent artists you admire.

You can make a difference as a fan, organizer, promoter, or house concert host. Stay at it long enough, and you create your own cultural legacy.

Let us show you how.

Join Us.

franrussfa2014
Russ (right) and his wife Julie have hosted 200+ shows in their home over the past 15 years. What a legacy!