House concerts are a great way to throw a party for your friends and hear live music in an intimate atmosphere. It’s a tried and tested formula that’s becoming more and more popular – for the host it should be simple, stress-free and fun! I have done many of these gigs solo and with other artists and they are some of the best concerts I have played for both atmosphere and sound.
There are numerous guides and suggestions about house concert hosting online. Here is a brief outline of what I’ll need to come and play for your event and, as a professional musician, the few formalities for what is otherwise a wonderfully informal way of hearing music.
The usual number of guests at these events is between 20 and 30, although more is of course possible. It’s your house, you make the rules – I think normally guests bring some drinks and maybe some food. If you, the host, want to provide food and drinks that’s great, but in theory the event shouldn’t cost you much – if anything.
There is no equipment or stage- just a corner of a room will do! However, choosing the position carefully, setting out the chairs/rug so everyone can see and getting the lighting looking nice all go a long way towards making the event the best it can be.
The standard length of concert is 2 sets of around 45 minutes with a break in the middle. Of course this can vary according to your plans and preferred start/finish times. Let me know how you’d like the evening to run.
In theory there are no tickets, the normal thing to do is for guests to make a donation for the artist, either a jar by the door or passing the hat around. Some hosts sell tickets to make sure people come, but that isn’t really necessary. The donation also eliminates any license issues.
There isn’t an exact fee I charge for the gig, but I’d like to come away with a guaranteed minimum of 150 euros which includes my travel expenses (this may vary for particularly long distances!). That means a full room with 20-30 people only have to throw in 5-10 Euros each and it’s easily covered, it shouldn’t then cost you anything.
In a living room I would usually play acoustically- i.e. no amplification at all. This not only creates a far better and more intimate sound than using amps but also eliminates the risk of noise complaints! However, be sure that neighbours are informed just like you would for any other party – people’s voices will always be loud (particularly mine!).
If your room is particularly big, there are a lot of guests (e.g. 50 or more) or you’d like to host it in another kind of venue (restaurant, cafe or bar) I may need mild amplification because background noise can easily drown out a quiet performance. There are many small, light amplifiers (for example AER Compact 60) that are appropriate – certainly not a full PA. Get in touch to discuss this if you think it might be necessary.
I will need:
● A bit of food
● A place to sleep (i.e. couch)
● I’m not fussy!
… OR BOOK THE BAND
Most house concerts are performed solo and acoustic for obvious reasons, it works really well and it’s very easy to host. However, I also have a really good band who are able to play with a huge amount of energy at a very moderate living-room volume! We have done this before. Let me know if you’d be interested in booking the trio instead of just me – we can discuss costs and space requirements etc.