LRF17 – Artist Applications Open

Listening Room Festival was a great introduction into the community in St Pete and all of our hosts did a fantastic job at setting up the space and making us feel right at home. The money was great and we made lasting fans and friendships. I would recommend the Listening Room Festival to any artist who appreciates performing in front attentive, supportive audiences that appreciate the gift of good music and connection. – Rory, Quiles and Cloud

As we approach our 5th annual festival, we’ve just opened the application process for our next festival which will take place March 17 – 23rd, 2017. This festival helps artists actually make good money, playing house concerts, as they travel to play a showcase for the largest gathering of house concerts in the world. Springtime in Florida!

Another unique twist is that the contest judges are active house concert presenters, so any artist in the contest has the potential to get a booking or two even if they don’t get selected as a festival performer.

Learn more and apply at ListeningRoomFestival.com.

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TenTen Concerts – House Concerts Made Easy

TenTen Concerts
House concerts made easy: ten songs, for ten+ guests

[This is an excerpt from Fran Snyder’s forthcoming book, House Concerts and Modern Touring for Small Acts. Snyder is the founder of ConcertsInYourHome.com, which is the most active house concert community on the planet. Stats and opinions in this piece come from 8 years of watching and helping thousands of house concerts take place.]

Video version here.


You are the new music industry.

You’ve undoubtedly heard of house concerts, and how music fans are putting on living room shows with amazingly talented artists. These shows bring neighbors, co-workers, and friends together, and deepen the roots of communities. Plus, they can be a lot of fun!

The easiest and best way for new hosts to get started is with a house concert format we call TenTen. Ten Songs for Ten+ Guests.

TenTen Concerts are exclusive shows designed to achieve some wonderful stuff:

  • Get enough committed attendees by sending just one email.
  • Host a show with a minimum of effort and maximum fun.
  • Create a show on musician’s off-nights, and help them start an audience in a new town.
  • Give your friends a remarkably intimate concert experience – every seat is like a backstage pass.

New hosts are often stunned at the quality of talent that is available for these small shows. Touring artists spend a lot of time and money to develop an audience in a new town. Publicity, travel, hotel, flyers, ads, soundperson/system, and food make it incredibly difficult to tour sustainably when playing clubs and traditional venues that also take a big percentage of the revenue. House concert hosts take away all these expenses except the travel. Hosts are the heroes of the new music business.

The easy TenTen Concert format is designed for weeknights. Touring artists have to make more money on weekends (especially Saturday nights) so we encourage bigger events on those nights. But even if you’d like to host larger shows, the TenTen format allows you to build up to that gradually by hosting a succession of smaller shows to hook a few new friends each time.

Small Starts Can Have Big Endings

Here are a few things that can happen:

  • You might get excessive RSVPs and decide to do something bigger, like 20 or more. You still have that option!*
  • Some attendees may ask you to help them book a TenTen at their place because they saw how easy and cool it can be to do a small concert.
  • Some attendees may want to team up with you to host a bigger show next time.

*The key here is that you set an achievable goal for yourself, and set reasonable expectations for the artist. What you don’t want to do is tell an artist you can get 20 guests and only have 10 show up. We’ve seen this happen too many times.

The Numbers Fine-Tuned

“Ten Guests” is the target as well as a minimum expectation. We don’t count the host as part of the number of guests, so we’re really shooting for a minimum of  11-14 people depending on your household.

TenTen hosts understand there is a $100 guarantee (Ten Guests X $10), so they know that no-shows will cost them money. We don’t want to ask any professional artist to play for less than $100. That means you need to be diligent about collecting RSVPs, promoting early, creating a waiting list, and sending a reminder message two days before the show. CD and merch sales do not count towards the $100. Ideally, an artist will make $150-$250 from a TenTen Concert.

Since the successful host (with ten+ paying guests) is not expected to pay, anyone can afford to host a show. Some hosts like to buy a couple of pizzas and make a salad, but that’s totally optional. The point is to make it quick and easy for people to attend after work.

Another powerful aspect of having a finite guest list (e.g. ten people), is that it makes the event exclusive. For a host that wants to do these on a regular basis, they should invite enough people so that they are turning away at least as many as they are accepting. The only way to train people to RSVP and to commit to attending events is to turn them away when they don’t. If people don’t get turned away once in a while, they take the concerts for granted.

TenTen concerts are an opportunity for artists to fill off nights. One great way to find artists who are looking for shows in your area is the avails pages at ListeningRoomNetwork.com http://www.concertsinyourhome.com/avails.html. These pages are organized by regions (states, provinces, countries) and provide listings of artists and the most critical gaps in their touring schedules. Check out some music, and reach out to the acts that inspire you!

In music today, the power is in your hands. You get to decide which artists get a boost on their tours, and which artists get promoted to your friends. Best of all, you don’t need to be rich to have a significant impact on the artists you love.

TenTen Concerts are one of several one-set formats promoted at ConcertsInYourHome.com

Fran Snyder is an artist and the founder of ConcertsInYourHome.com. In addition to these two roles, he’s also hosted many shows and written more on the subject of house concerts than anyone. Snyder is committed to solving the “touring problem,”  and has been featured in American Way Magazine, Billboard, and the New York Times. He continues to innovate different ways that artists can package their live show. Thanks to his work, many artists thrive on small successes, instead of starving until the big one. Read more at http://www.fransnyder.com.

House Concerts are for Lovers… courtesy of Russ and Julie

Dear Russ & Julie,

I am looking forward to seeing you at the House Concert this Saturday.  Can you please do me a small favor and make sure Jane Doe isn't on your RSVP list. She and I ended our relationship in the not too distant past and I don't wish to run into her.  Thank you for helping to preserve my sanity!

Bob

– – – – –

Dear Bob,

Actually we DO have Jane Doe down for 2 people on the RSVP list.

You RSVP'd first, but she RSVP'd some time ago.

Russ & Julie

– – – – –

Dear Russ & Julie

I don't want to put you guys in the midst of any drama, but can you tell me when she RSVP'd?

Also, go ahead and cancel my RSVP so someone else can see the show.

Funny thing is I'm now dating someone you know who I met at a Russ & Julie's House Concert!!  (We're calling it the Musical eHarmony!)

Thank you,

Bob

– – – – –

Dear Bob,

The answer to your question is that she RSVP'd on Christmas Day.

Sorry that you have to cancel.  We will open up your 2 spots to people on our Waiting List.

So glad we were able to help you find someone here at Musical eHarmony…. we aim to please! 😉

We hope to see you again soon.

All the best,

Russ & Julie

Upper Midwest Selected as Touring Region for Video Contest Winner

Toronto's Suzie Vinnick, the 2010 CIYH video contest's top vote getter, received a 10-gig tour during May 2011 as the grand prize.  CIYH is excited to announce that the US upper midwest was just selected as the tour region.

Suzievinnick_1 Suzie will start out in northwest Ohio and loop counterclockwise including stops in Chicago, Omaha, Kansas, Oklahoma, St. Louis and back through cities in the Great Lakes region before returning home to the province of Ontario.  A very busy 13-day swing!
 
About half of the tour stops are confirmed, which still leaves many opportunities available to be among the dozen hosts who will participate in this special opportunity to host a top-tier artist.
 
Maybe one of these is perfect for you or a friend you know who lives there.  See if you can help us complete this great tour. ("area" means within 90 minutes, green dates are still available.)
 

  •    Friday, May 20 – Montpelier OH, host confirmed
  •    Saturday, May 21 – Chicago IL area
  •    Sunday, May 22 – Chicago IL area
  •    Monday, May 23 – Iowa City IA, confirmed
  •    Tuesday, May 24 – Des Moines IA area
  •    Wednesday, May 25 – Des Moines IA or Omaha NE areas
  •    Thursday, May 26 – Omaha NE or Kansas City MO areas
  •    Friday, May 27 – Kansas City MO area, confirmed
  •    Saturday, May 28 – Tulsa OK, confirmed
  •    Sunday, May 29 – Kansas OK, confirmed
  •    Monday, May 30 – St. Louis, confirmed
  •    Tuesday, May 31 – Indianapolis IN or Chicago IL areas
  •    Wednesday, June 1 – Cleveland/Akron OH or Detroit MI areas

 
We'll welcome host requests to sponsor full house concerts on any of the above days.  DinnerAndSong (DNS) events are also fine for weekdays.
 
Interested?  Contact Jeff at jeff @ ListeningRoomNetwork.com by Sunday, January 9, for details.

Your Invitation List – Let’s Get it Started

This is part of a how-to-series from ConcertsInYourHome.com, written by Fran Snyder

Toddler

Basics:

One of the first steps to take as a house concert host is to gather a useful list of as many invitees as possible.

Attendance, for many hosts, is the most challenging part of hosting house concerts. For some hosts, throwing a party and getting people to attend is second-nature. They have tons of acquaintances, are involved with many clubs, groups, charities and maybe even a reputation for holding great events. For most of us, however, it takes a bit of work and and some planning.

A full room adds so much to the feeling of a concert – whether that number is 15 or 1500.  Performers really sense and feed off the energy in a room when they play. Empty seats, however, suck the energy out of any event.

There's a common expression in music – "the crowd made the show," and you'll see it happen first-hand when you host your events.

Consider:

First, it's important to get some leverage. If you think purely in terms of people you see consistently and know personally, you will seriously limit your resources.

Second, don't neglect to invite someone simply because you don't think they'll be into it. It's so much fun when you see someone "converted." Time and time again the biggest compliments come from people who begrudgingly attended – thinking it wasn't their kind of thing, who then were blown away by the quality and fun-factor of the show. You'll provide information, and links to the music, and let people decide for themselves.

Finally, your invitation list will always be a work in progress. You'll also create a nice form to display at each of your events to enlist anyone who may have come as an invitee of one of your friends. As your list grows, your events will become easier to promote.


Options: FlyerSnapshot


Most house concert presenters use their email programs to create a list from their address books, and use our free, attractive flyers to promote their events.
However, in addition to your current email program, there are many websites and programs that can help you do this:

  • eVite – free, though it requires your invitees to register with the site when making an RSVP.
  • Socializr – free, though it requires your invitees to register with the site when making an RSVP. 
  • ectoRes – free, simple, and with a few nice features designed for house concert presenters.
  • Constant Contact – feature-filled website which allows you to send attractive HTML emails, but costs $15-30/month

Tips:

  1. Create a list of everyone you know within an hour's drive of your home. Friends, neighbors, co-workers, club members, parents of your kids friends, fellow soccer-moms, the fantasy-football buddies (ok, maybe?), etc.
  2. Gather any missing email addresses (and phone numbers if you like.)
  3. Keep a notepad, index card, or some visual reminder with you for the next 3 weeks. Get in the habit of adding people you meet, or have overlooked in your invite list. You'll be amazed at how many people you meet or bump into on a day to day basis that escaped your mind when you made the initial list. "I'm hosting a music event soon, and I'd like to invite you, can I get your email address?"
  4. Warm them up. Before you even book (or announce the performer) try sending an email like this:

Dear Friends, (mail merge the first names if you can)

Have you heard of house concerts? There is so much great talent out there, and these events look like so much fun, that I've decided to jump in and host a concert in my home. Have a look at this short video, and let me know if you'd be interested in coming to our first event. More details soon!

http://concertsinyourhome.com/beahostintro.html

Your pal,

….

This short email will peak their interest, and the early responders will be good candidates to enlist for help. One or more of them can help you set up chairs, manage the potluck, or even help promote the event with you. Then, when you do send out the actual invitation email (with details) you won't be starting from scratch.

Related Articles:

How to Build an Audience for your House Concert
Find Nearby Hosts
Mini House Concerts

House Concert Guide: Choosing a Location

SligoRagsAtRuss&Julies
This is part of a how-to-series from ConcertsInYourHome.com, written by Fran Snyder

Basics:

Although similar results can be achieved in different locations, a house concert takes place at a house. When the weather turns seasonally ideal, some hosts do patio, garden, backyard shows, but you always need a backup (inside) in case the weather doesn't cooperate. Indoors, the living room is usually the best choice, often providing a balance between cozy and the opportunity to stretch into an adjoining area. A window or fireplace can make a nice background scene for the performer.

Consider:

You'll most likely need to re-arrange some furniture, like removing coffee tables and pushing the couches to the side of the room. You'll most likely use every chair in the house (dining room chairs, bar stools, ottomans, office chairs, etc.) Your neighbors can be a great resource for free chairs (especially barstools – which make a great back row) as well as audience members. Don't feel obligated to overdo it. You don't have to create Carnegie Hall in your home.

Options:

Ask me about my house concert shirt

We feel there are few spaces more cozy than a living room. However, basements work too. If you live in an apartment or condo, there is often a clubhouse or common area that can be reserved at little or no expense. Some hosts, who aren't satisfied with their space recruit like-minded friends to co-host the shows in their homes. It can be terrific to work with a close friend as a partner in these events.

Tip:

Most people underestimate the number of guests they can comfortably fit in their living room. To get an idea, clear the middle of the room (coffee table, etc.) and move the couches to the side of the room if possible. Then, start arranging available chairs (dining room, kitchen, breakfast nook, office chairs) to get an idea of the number of people it could hold. Once you've set up a few rows, it's easy to imagine how the rest of it would fall into place. Remember to allow a 4' by 6' area for the performer -  more if it's a duo or group.

Choosing the date/day of your House Concert

Calendar

Basics:

If you choose the act first, then you'll need to collaborate with them to choose a date that works with their touring schedule. 

However, if you plan on hosting house concerts on a regular basis, it can be helpful to choose a consistent schedule that makes it easier to plan and build a strong repeat audience. For example, hosting events on the first thursday of every month, except for the winter months. That would give you 8 or 9 shows per year.

Consider:

Doing weekend shows (Saturdays are very popular) makes it easier to draw a larger crowd, and avoid having to pull things together quickly at the end of a long day at work. However, choosing other times (Sunday afternoon, thursday evenings) can give you a great edge for capturing amazing talent when they tour through your area. You will be astonished at the caliber of artists who would be grateful to fill a thursday night show for a modest crowd and a free place to stay. 

Options: 

  1. Find the artists you most want to play, and look at their touring schedules to see when they would most likely be willing to play in your home. Email them with potential dates that would also work for you. 
  2. Join the "weekend circuits" program at CIYH, and we'll help you tie in your concert dates with other hosts in your region. 
  3. Do both!

Tip: 

Be aware of local events and celebrations in your area that could interfere with the audience turnout of your event. Sporting events (especially playoffs) can wreak havoc on concert attendance. It's also very challenging to keep a concert/listening atmosphere if you combine your house concerts with birthday celebrations. It's best (at least until you have an established audience) to keep it about the music. 

Change your mind anytime:

These are guidelines, and there's nothing wrong with trying different methods at different times. It's your house concert series… do it the way you want!

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