Category Archives: for hosts

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!

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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?”

 

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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.

 

 

 

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.

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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!

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Daniel Champagne
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Flagship Romance
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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.

Examples: Tell us about your venue/series!

When a new host or venue signs up, they often find it hard to describe the intent, vibe, or highlights of their series. So we’ve created this post to give some compelling or helpful examples of what you might say to the public, or to your invitees, about your events.

PRIVATE HOUSE CONCERT

EXAMPLE 1: Ours is an outdoor backyard concert series in the heart of Birmingham’s Avondale neighborhood.  We host talented musicians from all over the world in an intimate and rustic setting from April through October. Guests are invited to bring their lawn chair and a favorite beverage to enjoy great music under our giant oak tree.

EXAMPLE 2: Tucked away in a stunning high desert location at the southern end of the Hualapai Mountains of northwest Arizona is the home of Ben & Yrma, where you can see intimate concerts with high quality Folk and Americana musicians. For attendees it’s a great place to spend quality time with friends and neighbors, and to share “once in a lifetime” musical events. For artists, a place to recharge, refresh & have a great time playing music.

EXAMPLE 3: Dedicated to music for me and you by supporting independent, “hand crafted” music. “Behind the storms of daily conflict, crisis and struggle, it is the artist, and the poet and the musician that continues the quiet work of the centuries, building bridges of experience between peoples,  reminding us of the universality of our feelings, desires, and despairs, and reminding us that the forces that unite are deeper than those that divide.” (John F. Kennedy) Our house concerts pull together a diverse group of people with a common interest in music and we have a blast!  Join us for a wonderful evening of handcrafted music….

EXAMPLE 4: We do our concerts outdoors whenever possible (weather permitting), on the screened patio by the pool, in the evenings under the moon and stars, often with soft candlelight setting the mood and the scent of night blooming jasmine permeating the air. 

We ask for RSVP’s in advance so that we can be adequately prepared.  We no longer do pot luck dinners… they require extra room, and we’d rather use that space to squeeze in a few additional guests.  However, we ask guests to bring a light snack or dessert item (finger food only) to share, and we provide plenty of soft drinks and beverages.  (The coffee pot is always going.)  There is always time to socialize and chat (with other guests as well as with the artist) before the concert begins and during the break.  For the safety and comfort of all guests, our concerts are smoke and alcohol free.

Occasionally, depending on the artist preference, folks will stay after the concert is over, and there will be jamming.  We love having company, and Sunday mornings after a concert generally means lox and bagels on the patio.  Each concert is unique, as each artist is unique… so we never fully know what to expect.  But concert weekends are always an incredible experience.

 

PUBLIC VENUES

EXAMPLE 1: Our Vineyard & Winery is a brand new venue created for live acoustical music. Indoor and outdoor stages designed by a sound engineer to provide intimate acoustical performances in a creative, artistic and inspiring atmosphere. We want to support and encourage original music from all genres. We have housing to accommodate four artists and are near Amish country and many other enriching destinations.

EXAMPLE 2: Ours is not a traditional “house concert,” because we have a permanent venue at a local UU Church. We have been around since 1993, and at this venue since 1996. <p>We are non-profit, and 100% volunteer-run. Our unofficial motto is “We’re a great place to play on your way to somewhere else,” but that philosophy has helped us host an impressive list of performers over the years.

EXAMPLE 3: Our Coffeehouse is a non-profit, volunteer-run venue. We encourage local and regional performers who play both cover and original material. We’re open every Friday evening from 7:00-10:00PM, pass the hat for donations, and there’s no cover charge. We have an opening and a feature act.If you’re just starting out or you don’t want to play a full show, we also offer an open mic night on the third Thursday, and a song circle on the first Thursday of each month.

 

 

 

What change are we trying to make?

change

I’ve begun The Marketing Seminar, taught by Seth Godin. In it, he asks some poignant questions, making sure that we unearth our core values before piling on tactics and advice on how to reach the right people for our community. Here was the first question.

What change are you trying to make?

For artists, I want to teach them that performing in noisy places and hoping to be discovered is only one way to make it in the music business, and that’s it’s probably not the best way. For some artists, playing small, intimate concerts is the best way to hone your craft, make a living, make new fans, and to reach them more profoundly.

For music fans, I want to teach them that music is as beautiful and promising as it ever has been, and the experience of hearing a small, independent artist or group in the right atmosphere can be sublime. For some fans, the ones who are generous, and inspired by the possibility of helping artists grow, I want to teach them how they can participate, by hosting concerts – in their living rooms, gardens, or other remarkable spaces.

I want these two groups to form a growing community called the Listening Room Network. It’s already started, but there’s a long way to go.