Summer 2015 House Concert Tour

 

Summer 2015 House Concert Tour (updated May 30, 2015) - 

I was looking to take my Saturday’s Radio music project across the United States this summer for a solo-acoustic tour, but finances and time dictate that I stay closer to home. So instead I'm looking to stick to the eastern third of the U.S. I've got shows booked in Virginia and Tennessee and I'd like to play Georgia, the Carolinas, Maryland, Ohio, and maybe Pennsylvania (see dates below).  

I may have contacted you about the possibility of hosting a House Concert. I've set up this page to tell you a bit of what house concerts are and, hopefully, to answer questions you may have. I'll continue to modify and update this page as I gain more experience and get a better idea of what works and what doesn’t. 

What is a House Concert? 

House Concerts, or Living Room Shows, are a really cool new trend in music. A House Concert is literally a low-key concert conducted in someone's home. A musician comes and plays about an hour’s worth of songs in your living room (or family room, deck, garage) while you and your guests sit back and enjoy the music. In my case it’ll be just me, my acoustic guitar, a very compact sound system, and a microphone. The sound-system and mic actually are negotiable. Many House Concerts are performed without any amplification at all. 

The audience typically includes the host family and their invited guests (some house concerts are ticketed affairs, but that’s not a model I wish to use at this time). 

A House Concert is not a house party in which a musician is playing in the background while guests talk and mingle. It’s a ‘sit down and quietly listen to an artist perform music’ affair. A house concert is more akin to sitting and listening to a favorite performer in a theater rather than that performer playing in a noisy coffeehouse or bar.

What makes House Concerts so cool?

There are many reasons that House Concerts are a good thing for both artists and attendees.

Attendees love house concerts because they: 

Get to go over to a friend’s house and see a musical artist perform in a small, up-close setting.

Don’t have to worry about going downtown, paying for parking, buying drinks, or dealing with a bar or other public setting. 

Don’t have to worry about people talking over the music while they’re trying to listen. 

Can meet and have an actual conversation with the artist. 

Can rest assured that any (optional) donation they choose to make goes straight to the artist, rather than to the venue & its staff. 

As an artist, I love the idea of playing House Concerts for the many of the same reasons. They’re simply a great way to connect with people. 

How much will this cost me? Is it complicated?

Money-wise, it doesn’t have to cost you a thing. You may want to purchase some finger-foods and refreshments for your guests, or you might encourage your guests to bring something. 

House Concerts are pretty simple, really. All you need is a room for the concert and places for guests to sit. As the artist, I’ll provide the entertainment. 

Time-wise, it’s about a 4-hour evening (6 to 10 pm), including pre-concert set-up and post-concert cleanup, with the ‘concert’ portion going from 8 to 9 (see below for a typical schedule). 

If you’re willing to let me stay over night on your couch or in your guest room after the show, that’d be wonderful. 

One thing that has come up in talking with folks is that they don't feel they can take on a House Concert. Inviting people over for a get-together, especially in the middle of a work week, can be stressful. I totally get this. Some people like having get-togethers more than others. If you're one of those people who does like having get-togethers, a house concert will likely be easy for you. If you're not, I'll do everything I can to make it as easy and stress-free as possible for you. 

How is the artist compensated? 

Artists do need to be paid. It is very important to let your guests know that this is a DONATION-BASED concert. In most cases a tour like this is not a vacation. While some artists like a guarantee, ticket price, or suggested donation, I like the 'unspecified donation' model, in which guests can donate as they see fit. Here, right after the final song is performed, the host encourages guests to make a donation to the artist. 

There are a couple of reasons I like the 'unspecified donation' model:

1) This model doesn't exclude a guest who may be having financial difficulties. I want people to come! I don't want to refuse someone the opportunity to have an enjoyable evening because they can't afford to donate. 

2) I don't want to put a ceiling on the value of the performance. If someone wants to put a $50 or $100 bill (which happens!) in the donation pitcher because they feel inspired and have had a wonderful evening, I don't want to stop them with a lower "suggested donation" amount.

How many people should a host invite? 

According to Shannon Curtis, an artist who literally wrote the book on house concerts, an ideal house concert audience is at least 20 people. Since this will be my first house concert tour, I’d be happy with an audience numbering as few as 12. 

How you handle the invitations is up to you. Some hosts print up invitations and RSVPs, others invite friends verbally. Usually hosts invite their friends. 

Some hosts have found house concerts to be a great way to get to know neighbors, co-workers, and other people they don’t normally socialize with. 

A typical scenario for a house concert is this: 

6 pm - Artist arrives, meets the host, and sets up for the show. 

7 pm - Start time for attendees to arrive. This is a time for guests to meet and mingle with the artist and with each other. The host may wish to serve, or have guests bring, refreshments.

8 pm - Performance begins. The artist performs his / her songs and tells stories while the guests sit quietly and listen (applause at the end of each song is appropriate, of course, and greatly appreciated).

9 pm - Performance concludes. Host makes a quick statement thanking the guests for coming (I’ll give you a printed guideline), encourages guests to make donations, and informs guests that the artist does have CDs and other items for sale. Guests mingle a bit more, (ideally) purchase CDs and other items, talk with the artist, and eventually say their goodbyes. 

9:30 - 10:00 pm - Evening winds down. Cleanup begins. Artist begins breaking down equipment and packing up. 

These times are just guidelines and are definitely not set in stone. A weekend concert may run longer (though I wouldn't suggest a performance portion going beyond 90 minutes). Weekend daytime or early evening concerts on patios or decks are not uncommon. 

When are you coming through?

As I said above, the planned cross-country tour has to be postponed. Because I'm sticking closer to home and driving distances are shorter, I'm pretty flexible and, as of this writing, have a lot of dates open. 

Friday, June 19 - First day of availability (My teaching job is done for the school year!) 

Friday, June 26 - Orange, VA (concert scheduled)

Saturday, July 11 - Spotsylvania, VA (concert scheduled)

Sunday, July 12 - Knoxville, TN (concert scheduled)

Monday, July 13 and Tuesday, July 14 - Nashville, TN

Wednesday, July 15 through Sunday, July 19 - Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina

Thursday, July 30 - Monday, August 3 - Tucson, AZ (Pot Luck Audio Conference)

Tuesday, August 18 - Back to my teaching job.

How can I set up a Saturday's Radio house concert? What if I have more questions?

Shoot me an email at heyrob@saturdaysradio.com or message me through Facebook.