Airlines have a long history of mistreating luggage, and our cherished, vital musical instruments are no exception to the rule. Even after pressure from musician’s unions, youtube videos, and written complaints, things have been slow to improve. Today airlines are at best inconsistent, often negligent, and sometimes downright malicious. (Look out the window as they load luggage when you can.)
The law is now on our side if we want to carry on our instruments, as long as we do the diligence of trying to board early. It’s not full-proof, but we encourage musicians to print this out and keep the law in their instrument case.
Please share this with musicians you love, and board early!
One of my priorities when I started ConcertsInYourHome, in 2006, was to create a place where hosts could be part of a community, without getting overwhelmed by artist inquiries, like clubs and venues often do.
One of the ways we achieved this is by restricting the number of artists in our network. Artists in the network benefit by belonging to the only place on the web where there are more opportunities than artists.
We found the best way to restrict artist membership was first by quality of promotional materials, and second, by cost.
Quality of promotional materials
Artists have to submit videos and a website and be evaluated by hosts in the network. This serves several purposes.
- Hosts, the ones who do the booking, have an important voice in shaping the artist membership. This helps create more bookings.
- It allows artists to get meaningful feedback about their promotional materials, and prevents them from paying money to join a website where they’ll get few or no bookings. Hosts invest a lot into their events, and if they don’t know the artist personally, the material has to be impressive. Songs, videos, tour history, etc.
The amount of money someone is willing to spend is a clear indication of how much they value the product or service. In the early days, we found ourselves evaluating artists who had no idea what house concerts were, and no appreciation of what the community has to offer. By gradually increasing the cost of joining, we’ve accomplished a few things.
- We’ve attracted better and better artists, who see house concerts not just as gigs, but a meaningful and treasured resource for their art-form and career.
- We’ve been able to hire some talented staff to make our community grow and improve, providing an upward cycle of opportunity for our artists.
The cost/investment however, is still low enough to be recouped after just one booking.
Looking at recent activity, we see that hosts receive an average of 2-3 artist requests per month. Of course, some get inquiries from outside sources, but it’s clear that CIYH has accomplished the original goal. Hosts are not overwhelmed, and member artists can book shows without getting lost in a huge pile.
- be private events, not open to the public
- give 100% of door to the artists. Door is a suggested donation, not a charge/ticket.
- (OK should) be in a house, clubhouse or residential looking space.
- be public or private
- charge an admission fee or sell advance tickets
- keep a percentage
- be located just about anywhere, but probably not a house.
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.
We’re delighted to announce a special rate with Staybridge Suites, our hotel partner for the Listening Room Festival, April 19-23rd.
First, the amenities:
- Super-clean, new property three minutes from city center.
- Free Parking
- Free Internet
- Free Shuttle
- Free Breakfast
- Free Cocktail Hour (Tuesday & Wednesday)
Staybridge Suites is offering us special rates on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday:
- King Studio Suites $139
- Double Bed Studio Studio Suites $149
Book your hotel now to get our special rate.
Email Sales Manager Kathy Montz with your dates and room type choice. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 855-914-1821 and mention the “Listening Room Festival ” The group discount code: LRF
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.
There’s a lovely legacy of house concerts that take place at quaint bed and breakfasts and inns. A BNB can often surpass the charm of a typical residence, with built-in amenities like guest rooms, a large kitchens and living area.
In addition to providing entertainment for sleepover guests, a house concert series can be a great local outreach tool to make your community aware of your property. Many people simply don’t know about the great and unique local options for out of town guests. The hotel-on-the-highway is often the default, which is a missed opportunity for the warm and singular experience that a BNB can provide.
So build your local mailing list, and consider putting on a monthly or quarterly house concert at your bed and breakfast. You too can build a legacy of great music and memories, and transform your property into a cultural icon in your community.
Visit www.ConcertsInYourHome.com to sign up as a house concert host, and download our free guide.
Everyone hosts for their own reasons. Chances are you already have enough reason to get started. However, you might be inspired by some of the other ways that hosts benefit from hosting house concerts.
Love of music and artists
Some music fans feel a deep connection to the touring artist. These fans often have a music background, and have profound admiration for people willing to make the sacrifices necessary for a life on the road. Artists delay (or abandon) financial security, dreams of family and a modest home, and the powerful luxury of a stable career routine – weekly outings with friends, dance lessons with your spouse, and more. Yes, there is plenty of magic in return, but the sacrifices are real. For these reasons and more, music fans feel blessed to be able to contribute to a musical dream, and to often see it happen in their home.
Love of community
House concerts are a powerful way to unite friends and build community. They enhance friendships, foster new ones, and create sublime moments that allow us to weave our memories together. House concert hosts often become tastemakers in their community, and even inspire music scenes to develop in their town. Neighbors and friends rediscover their love the arts and start to divorce their televisions a few times per week.
Love of entertaining
Despite the multiplex-sized television screens in people’s homes, very few people actually entertain in their home on a regular basis. It seems like the dinner party is a myth of the wealthy past. House concerts provide an inspiring reason to clean the house and make good use of the sprawling spaces we inhabit. Consider the fact that many apartments today are bigger than the homes of just a few generations ago. Did your grandparents have a guest room? Probably not.
Love of a cause
One of the novel applications of house concerts is to honor and support a cause. Many fundraising events require large teams of volunteers, whereas a monthly house concert series can be organized by one or two people. Furthermore, artists typically have affinity for several causes, and often have a song related to those causes. Imagine a wonderful artist inspiring your audience with a personal story or song that is on-message for your favorite charity.
Being the change you want to see in the world.
One of the best ways for artists to create house concert opportunities where they live is to start their own series. The generous act of shining the light on someone else can be the catalyst for others to start hosting. With a healthy house concert scene, that artist may find their own opportunities to play at someone else’s home.
Building an audience to fulfill your dream of owning a commercial venue.
We’ve seen house concerts graduate to promoting bigger events in their town, and some eventually open their own commercial venue. Starting any new business involves risk, but the entertainment venue is especially risky. Wouldn’t it make sense to build an audience and a great reputation before creating the massive overhead (rent, employees, licenses, etc.) of a commercial venue?
The list of potential reasons to host house concerts could certainly go on, but these are some of the most common ones. Most of us can relate to more than one, and that provides a strong enough “why” to do the work of putting on the first few events. After a few great shows, your own list will certainly grow.