What is a House Concert?
Think about a house concert as a potluck with entertainment. Is your house big enough to host a potluck or movie night for 15, 25, or 30 friends? You may be surprised how many people fit in a small living room, artist’s loft, or back yard. Chances are, you can host a house concert.
We love house concerts, and often find them to be much more fun, personal and well-attended than generic venues.
Requirements (business details): For house concerts to be a profitable endeavor, we ideally need around 20-30 “paying customers” (In the best case scenario, the host is willing to say a few words at the end of the concert encouraging a donation and/or a CD purchase from their guests). We suggest you invite double the guests of your goal turnout, since there is typically a 50% turnout rate. You know your friends better than we do, so this is simply a suggestion. Plus, we've discovered that when a host requires RSVP's from their guests as opposed to a "come by if you can make it" approach, it dramatically increases the likelihood of people showing up at the show!
Note: Sometimes our tour stops happen on weeknights, when folks are busy. It’s in everyone’s interest if you can estimate realistically how many folks will “actually show up” on the night of your event. That is the main/biggest concern – after that, things are smooth sailing!
Going Above and Beyond: Many house concert hosts offer performers a place to stay for the night. This could be a couch, a guest room, an air mattress, or even a living room floor. This is by no means a requirement, but a place to sleep and a meal helps keep traveling costs down for us, and is greatly appreciated!
Getting Guests: We’ve found that most house concert hosts prefer to have an "invite only" concert for their personal friends and/or family. To invite your friends, you can use individual e-mails, a private or public Facebook event, or “Evite” – or whatever organization system you are most comfortable with. There is also the option of opening the show to the public with an "RSVP for the address" post on our website. If you would like to open your home to other STEREO RV fans, please let us know, so we can spread the word. We will make sure that attendees are courteous people and that there are no privacy issues – we do not give out your address without an RSVP, and we’ve never had a problem with this.
What if I have pets? Are you allergic to cats? My dog will just hang out, that’s cool, right?
Unfortunately, many people are allergic to kitties, so if you do have a cat, even if it stays in just one room and your house is very clean – please just let us know. If you have a dog, even a tiny one, you should make a plan to send it to a friend’s for the evening or keep it in a different room during the show. Even the best-behaved dogs are generally not so very good audience members and can be really distracting to us and the audience.
What should my e-mail invitations say?
When preparing your invitations, please let all the invites know that the concert is a "donation-based concert." This should be written down in the invitations you send out to your guests so that everyone knows what to expect the night of the show.
Something like this: " This is a donation based concert; please come prepared to make a donation to the artists after the show." This is just a starting point, feel free to add or subtract words. There is one detail about this that we've found to be really important: The host should not specify a donation amount in the invitations.
The reasons for this are twofold. One, it allows people who are experiencing lean times and who don't have extra money for entertainment to come without the pressure of a set price. They can come and donate nothing if they want, and thats perfectly alright; what this is really about at its core is sharing music and making connections with people through music right?
Of course, we have had some house concerts where a set $10-$20 scale is put out there cause the host knows their friends and understand they would pay that or more for a ticketed show at a venue for a favorite artist. We are purely going off of what works and not wanting to leave anyone out because of finances.
How do I set up my house for a house concert?
Pick one of the larger rooms in your home and choose an area for the performers. The "stage" should be viewable from most of the room, and away from the lanes of traffic. Arrange couches and chairs (depending on how many guests you expect) so that everyone will naturally face the performers. You may need to move some tables and other furniture into another room. Arrange chairs to accommodate entrance and exits, lighting, and sight lines to the artist etc.
Can children attend a house concert?
This is really up to you as the host. However, we recommend against bringing kids under the age of about 10 years. Children have a shorter attention span, and distractions can really impair an intimate concert setting like this. Side note: We've had many circumstances where a host was concerned that some of their guests wouldn't be able to come if their kids weren't able to come along. We've also had situations where a supporter who has kids wanted to host a show. Something that works great in these situations is for the the host to hire a babysitter for the event, who takes all the kids to a separate space away from the concert area (physically and sonically). That way, we can make sure the adults have a place to relax and just focus on the music
Still have unanswered questions? That's cool. Email us your question at firstname.lastname@example.org guests start arriving and hanging out. 6pm: music starts. Then, depending on the mood/if there is a potluck either 7-8:30 music or 8-9:30 music with a break.
Logistics: We can play in a living room or a back yard, or anything in between. Having ample seating is important. We like to make sure everyone has a good place to sit for the entire concert. A comfortable crowd is an attentive crowd! If need be, you can ask your guests to bring folding chairs. We have a sound system we will bring – our music will not be loud, just loud enough for folks to hear and understand us. The host can choose whether to provide snacks and drinks, and/or to ask guests to bring a dish for a potluck. It’s up to your preferences and your friends’ tastes!