As we've got a house concert or house gig tour planned for the Spring, I thought I'd write up a quick guide for anyone planning to host one.
House Concerts are a great way to see artists perform in a relaxed and intimate environment. They are also a great way to meet new people and share a unique musical experience.
Here are a few guidelines if you are planing on hosting a House Concert in the UK. These ideas are based on our own past experience of hosting house concerts; please feel free to let us know in the comments section below if you have any further advice you'd like to offer.
1. The key to remember is that it is your home so you should remain in control of who and how many people come to the gig. With that in mind do not post the address of the venue with any promotional material for the concert. Instead, just mention the approximate area, e.g. SW London and provide an email address where people can send a message requesting they add their name to the House Concert audience list.
2. Make it clear that the only way people can get in to the concert is if their name is on the audience list and to get on this list all they need to do is to send you an email request. If there is still room on the list then you let the person know and then and only then give them the address of the venue. Also mention that if they want to bring some other people then that's fine but they must ask you first to see if there is still room and under no circumstances must they publicise the address of the venue.
This way, when people arrive at the concert, you only need to let people in who's names are on the list and you don't end up with 100 people turning up to watch a concert in a living room that only has room for 20 :)
3. Allow time for each artists to perform for around thirty to forty minutes, and then have a suitable amount of time between artists for people to talk to each other and the artist to sell CDs or other merchandise.
4. Decide in advance if you are going to provide refreshments for people and make this clear in any promotional material. It's nice if you can make people some tea to drink or offer some cake or biscuits. Also, let people know in advance if you wish the Concert to be an alcohol free event.
6. Instead of charging people on the door, pass around a Magic Hat encouraging people to donate money to the artists playing that night, to cover costs or to donate to a charitable cause.
7. Feel free to just invite a load of your friends to the gig; just make sure they know what sort of music they are coming to hear as it's not very nice for say a quiet acoustic artist having to deal with requests from people wanting some upbeat music to dance the Charlston.
That's about it. Remember, the key is to remain in control as it's your home, to have some fun and enjoy some great music with the company of some lovely people. Do please let us know if you would like us to play at a house gig you are hosting.