If you’ve ever been to a house concert, you know they offer an intimacy unavailable at regular venues, bars or restaurants where you might go to hear music.
House concerts are up close and personal. And festive, as the guests are usually asked to bring a covered dish and beverage.
The hosts invite their friends and neighbors and provide accouterments and the space (for around 20). This can be in a living room/dining room with some furniture moved around. Whichever room(s) you decide, furniture will be moved most likely, unless you have your show outside: in the backyard and/or on the deck. It could also be in a clubhouse you have access to, eliminating the question of room and seating.
You invite family, friends (who dig music, because this is a show, not just a party), neighbors, colleagues, Sunday School class. Whoever.
Twenty is optimum for most house concerts. And as few as 10 can work. But less than that and the dynamics disappear and it becomes a jam.
The songwriter should offer to provide you with whatever promotional materials (usually all electronic) is provided the standard venues.
You issue invitations. Depending on the season, you might want to issue the invitations as far out as 6-8 weeks, as people’s summer schedules get jammed up pretty quickly. Winter, not so much.
The invitation should make clear a few things:
— arrival time (don’t specify when the music starts, but usually an hour after the stated arrival time.)
— what to bring: your beverage of choice and a covered dish.
— we’ll eat and drink as you arrive. Then we will put aside the food and drinks and move to the performance area.
(Before the first set, the host(s) will make it known that we won’t be eating and drinking during the show as the seating doesn’t provide for that. This eliminates having to even think about providing tables for food and drink. Plus, to be honest, the attention is then on the songwriter and not plates and glasses and food and, oops, spills!)
— there will be a food/drink break and then another set.
— it all should last around 3 hours.
— the songwriter is not being paid but he will have CDs for you to purchase.
— If you are holding it outside, you might ask folks to bring a lawn chair.