The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #20692   Message #216979
Posted By: KathWestra
24-Apr-00 - 10:55 AM
Thread Name: Advice re. House Concerts
Subject: RE: Advice re. House Concerts
The Folklore Society of Greater Washington (DC) has been sponsoring house concerts for years. They remain one of the most popular venues to hear musicians in an intimate setting. Generally, one of our members who has space for 20-30 people volunteers their home for the event, and provides refreshments (sodas, chips & dip, brownies and such-like stuff). Admission is $7 for FSGW members and $10 for nonmembers. The performer gets the entire gate. The concerts are open to the public, well publicized to our 3000+ members, and announced by our local folk DJ.

These concerts enable FSGW to provide a venue for performers who are less well known and may not be able to draw a large enough crowd for a rented hall. They are a way to provide a venue for a performer on a weeknight between larger weekend gigs. And they are a great way to hear a performer's material in a setting that encourages questions, requests, and other performer-audience interaction.

I love 'em, and so do many of our members.

A few cautions, however:
1) If you are planning to have a concert at your house, and you have cats and/or dogs, PLEASE note this fact in any publicity. There are folks who are allergic. The same goes for smoking. (Sorry, Conrad, I don't agree with you. If you smoke in your house, and/or allow others to do so, this will exclude the many folks who are allergic to tobacco, suffer from asthma, etc. You need to warn them.

2) Work very hard to acknowledge and welcome folks you don't know who may be coming to a house concert for the first time. It's easy for "insiders" to go to a friend's house for a concert and talk only with each other. A host needs to be especially alert in this setting to make EVERYONE feel welcome.

3) Even though the setting is informal, please treat your performer with the same deference you would if the concert were in a public hall. Give him/her a private place to tune/rehearse. Ask if he/she needs help selling CDs or tapes. Provide a formal introduction. Make sure the performer has a glass of water, cup of coffee, or whatever he/she needs "on stage."

4) Treat your audience with the same deference. Make sure your house and bathroom(s) are clean. Provide adequate seating (including borrowing folding chairs from your friends if necessary). Answer questions. Introduce your guests to others they may not know. Make them want to come again!

With some planning and care, house concerts can be a wonderful way to share the music we all enjoy.

Kathy (who's organized a few in her day!)