Photo by Jess Phillips. Listening Room Festival 2019.
When we started LRFest in 2012, it felt like a moonshot. I wanted to create a gathering to celebrate house concerts, and to create a music showcase opportunity in the middle of a profitable tour. This year, our six acts earned a total of $19,500 over 24 house concerts and a beautiful showcase. Most importantly, they created a base of friends, fans and potential gigs in Florida that will pay dividends for years to come.
As is the case with house concerts, the sweet, listening vibe and profitability are the obvious rewards that mask the more important developments of community and connection. On this front, each year, we see more hosts and fans travel to Tampa Bay area to attend shows and make new friendships. We see them cooperate for routing, lodging, and even for volunteer help at each other’s events. The festival community is creating a rich, cultural tapestry of music support in our region.
Our volunteer crew doubled this year, another sign of the health and impact of our festival. For me, the biggest thrill is the growing number of hosts and fans who travel to St. Petersburg for this event. They come from different cities, different states, and even different countries – to take in a music vacation filled with house concerts and time with their tribe.
We hope you’ll join us for this one-of-a-kind festival.
Will you apply as a performer? (Deadline May 15th, 2019)
Will you host a show in Florida or the southeast?
Will you join your music tribe for a music vacation?
Once in a while, we get a report that a house concert has had trouble with zoning violations. Zoning laws can cite various reasons why a house concert could be in violation – parking, noise, and commercial activity are the most common.
In the case of Crib Concerts, the complaint is about “Indoor Entertainment,” and specifically because it has been deemed a commercial activity by the local zoning Community Inspector. Unfortunately for Chris Devine, he lives and operates his concerts in a redevelopment district of Herndon that has even more restrictions than the city on property use.
The host is appealing to the city, and we have to give serious kudos to him for honoring the next 5 booked concerts. Since the issue will take months to resolve, Chris created a GoFundMe to cover the cost of the fines. That’s a fine example of commitment to artists, and engaging your community to rally for your cause.
One has to wonder how the complaint originated, but my money is always on someone like this guy.
I’m guessing Mr. Morningwood has never been to a house concert. What do you think?
An idea for House Concert Hosts and Listening Rooms
One of the challenges of booking talent is staying on top of artist inquiries. If you are open to inquiries all year long, it can create periods of frustration when you feel you don’t have time to give artists a good listen. On the other hand, closing off your booking channel (red booking light) can make you feel like you might miss out on a great opportunity.
One great solution is to book a season at a time. That can be once, twice, or up to 4 times per year, depending on how many shows you do. Here’s an example to illustrate.
Booking Quarterly Seasons – Once per quarter, we listen to all our inquiries and choose the next 2-3 shows, 6 months out or more.
- In January, we book July, August, and September shows.
- In April, we book October, November and December shows.
Of course, you can adapt this to your preferences. Maybe you prefer to book 8+ months out. Maybe you prefer to book 4 months at a time, like this:
Booking Three Times per Year
- In January, we book September, October, November, (December optional)
- In May, we book January, February, March, April of next year.
- In September, we book May, June, July (August optional!)
Some hosts and venues like to book their entire year in one shot.
What are the benefits?
- You can let artists know AHEAD of time that you won’t be responding until your next booking window, so you don’t have the constant pressure to answer inquiries as they come in.
- You can compare and listen to a full menu of options, and feel great about choosing your best options for the season ahead. You can get a real sense of which artists you want to keep in touch with, say, if dates don’t line up this time.
- You have flexibility. If your dream act reaches out for a show outside of your current booking window… book her! If there’s so much talent that you want to book an extra show, do it! List the show, and artists will see the dates/months that are no longer available.
- Promotion becomes easier and more effective when you can promote a whole season as well as individual shows. LRN webflyers contain links to your next 6 upcoming concerts.
Will this work for all hosts and venues? Of course not. But if a booking schedule or season appeals to you… try it!
How to adjust your profile at LRN for seasonal booking.
- Put up a yellow booking light.
- At the top of your booking info, describe your basic process in as few words as possible. “We book seasonally! In January, we will decide on our bookings for July, August and September.
- Choose the first month (July) of your booking window as your Target Month.
- Then follow your plan!
Booking seasonally? If you’d like to suspend the weekly reminders for pending inquiries, just let us know.
If enough of our hosts/venues adopt this type of plan, we can update the site to make it even easier. Thank you!
Visit http://www.ListeningRoomNetwork.com to join as a house concert host or listening room venue.
Last October, we embarked on a massive job of re-creating all our websites (Listening Room Festival, Listening Room Network, and ConcertsInYourHome) to deliver you a more stable and attractive platform to connect with your growing community.
Here are some sketches of what we are preparing to launch!