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House Concerts

Kate & Steve tailor concerts and workshops to fit any setting for an enriching music experience.

Kate Power and Steve EinhornAlba's house in Barcelona

A house concert is a house party with your neighbors, friends or community. Enjoy a hassle-free acoustic music performance by these premier musicians in the comfort of your home.  House Concerts brings artists into the heart of the community to experience the music up close. It's a modern salon to share exquisite music culture in the cozy setting of your home, yard, barn or any setting with neighbors and friends.  Socializing with a finger-food potluck and asking people to bring their favorite beverage can be a fun and low-cost way to mingle before the show.

These guidelines provide ideas to create a house concert or workshop with ease and enjoyment.

How to Host a House Concert:

Booking: 503-686-1441 or folks@qualityfolk.com

What do I need to know to figure out how to have a great house concert?

Invite everybody you'd like to bring together for a night of music.  They will love you for it and may even decide they'd like to try hosting a concert!

  1. How many people you can seat?  Tailor it to fit your space.  We are flexible and want to create a memorable experience for you that will be fun for you.
  2. Where to "put the stage" - the best corner of the room to play from.  Arrange seats in comfortable proximity to the stage area.
  3. Decide what kind of refreshments you want to have and what you want to provide and what you want your friends to bring.
  4. House concerts are typically presented as adult entertainment.  Unless it's a kid's show, encourage babysitters for inquiring parents of young children.
  5. Don't publish your name or address in the announcement. Have people contact you through your email or phone to make reservations and then give them directions. It's handy to have directions you can attach to an email to confirm their reservation.
  6. There are a few ways to charge admission.  Since it's closer to being a private party than a business, you may want to charge a "Suggested Ticket Price" of $20.    This implies a sliding scale so people pay what they can.  
  7. You can take reservations (recommended) and ask people to send in their check to confirm their reservation (they can make it out to the name of the artist and you can hold the check to pass on to the artist on the day of the show). 
  8. Put someone you trust in charge as your "doorperson" to admit people to the concert so guests don't forget or don't "notice the basket" and move on in for the evening festivities gratis.  Use a money basket with a sign for donations near the entrance. 
  9. If you are comfortable being the emcee, another way to handle payment is to pass the hat after talking about "the artist is making a living by providing tonight's entertainment. Be generous!".   Be confident and cheerful and your audience will respond. 
  10. If you are passing the hat,  time your plug before the intermission and pass the basket after your listeners have had a  chance to settle into the enjoyment of the evening.  Those who can will give more, those who can't will give what they can. It all works pretty well when the method is clear and in place! 

How do I make a House Concert happen?

  1. Think about what you want and then set a date and time with us.  Time includes the time doors open and the time of the show.  If you are also hosting a workshop, be sure to post it on your information.  Give your phone and/or email for people to contact you for reservations.
  2. Establish "doors" at least a half hour or an hour before the show starts to provide your guests with time to mingle and socialize.  
  3. Suggest a dessert potluck or BYOB for social time before the show. You can make this an easy house party with a real concert, time to mingle and creating your own special listening audience.  Your role is as host, patron and promoter all in one.  Thank you!
  4. Make a list of people you would like to invite.  Invite more people than you have seats for since only a percentage will be able to say yes and attend.  Even if someone can't come, they will be pleased by the invitation and learn about house concerts as a new way to enjoy entertainment with friends.
  5. Invite your friends to save the date and tell them about the concert. Evite is one easy way online.  A group email is another.  Use pictures from our electronic press kit for your graphics by going to sonicbids.com/katepowersteveeinhorn.
  6. Invite people to visit our website for more info about who we are and get acquainted with our music at qualityfolk.com/bio.html.
  7.  Our concerts and workshops are fun and interactive.  Some hosts like to offer both in the same day with a potluck in between the workshop and concert.  You could host a concert on a Friday or Saturday night and then a workshop the next day.  "Ukalaliens: A Beginner's Guide to Ukulele Fun" for absolute beginners, "Song Circles: How to Make Beautiful Music with Everybody", "Songwriting: The Musical Theatre of Everyday Life" and "VoxBox: How to Sing" are just a few of the topics we teach.  No experience is necessary for any of our workshops.  We can tailor our workshop fit your community and teaching level desired.  Let us know what you'd like and we will provide you with a unique, fun and productive group music experience.
  8.  Hosting a house concert is an easy way to grow your community with music.  Your friends will admire you for putting on the event and thank you for opening their horizons.   Inviting them to your home to share our music is an active way to promote goodwill.   Thank you for supporting our music in this special way.  We appreciate the opportunity to perform in your home.

Concert Flyer Concert Flyer Concert Flyer

Download a blank poster
and enter your concert info:

Poster Blank - PDF
11 x 17 Poster Blank 1 - PDF
11 x 17 Poster Blank 2 - PDF

 

Day of Show:

  1. Artists arrive at least an hour before the show to set up in the stage area.
  2. Have petty cash in an envelope or bank bag to make change.  $50 of $5 bills is a good start.
  3. Set a table for admission and CD merchandise - ask a friend to volunteer to take admission and sell artist CDs.
  4. Get ready for a night to remember with your friends and music you will love!

Thank you for considering hosting us for a concert in your home. If you need any questions answered, just contact us anytime! We look forward to playing for you and your friends.

503-686-1441 or folks@qualityfolk.com

MORE HOUSE CONCERT GUIDES & NOTES & EXAMPLES OF WAYS TO HAVE A GREAT HOUSE CONCERT EXPERIENCE!

House concerts are wonderful for their simplicity, intimacy and natural acoustics unfettered by amplification.  It's a very nice way to bring people for music.

Here are some excerpts from house concert artists and presenters and "Concerts in your Home" for you to soak in...

"Our fee for a typical house concert setting (30-50 people) is $500 (guarantee) plus merchandise sales (CD's/Art/Method Books).  Depending on how you set up the event, any amount over the guarantee is negotiable (to apply to your favorite cause or split with the artist after expenses).  All kinds of arrangements are possible and most artists are happy to work with you and your cause on behalf of the community if the guarantee can be met."

Here's a note to someone considering giving a house concert based on attending one herself and liking it so much, she wanted to have one at home on the east coast...

"The framework of the house concert you attended had these ingredients.:  1) We were given a $500 guarantee for a 90-minutes performance.  2) We received 100% of the merch sales.  3)  The hosts charged $25 per ticket and sold out the concert in advance.  4)  People were served food & had the option of bringing their own wine/beverage.  5)  The concert was early so people had time to mingle and socialize afterward.

There are many ways to have a house concert.  For that reason, I'm adding the "guidelines" so you can decide what would work for you.  Typically a house concerts serves an audience ofr 30-50 people.  Ticket price varies from $15 - $30 (sometimes even more) depending on the act and whether food is being offered.

If you have questions not answered here, please email me.  Also check out the links below.

What is a house concert and how does it work?

A house concert is exactly what it sounds like; a concert presented in a private home.  It's the ideal setting for listening to acoustic music as there's no sound system, and it gives the musicians and listeners a chance to meet and talk about the music.  This is not a new idea.  In fact, a lot of musicians feel the house concert is a continuation of an ancient tradition.

How big a house is needed, and how many people for an audience?

There's no rule on this, but generally you'll want to get at least 30-40 people to make it work finanacially for the musicians.

How is the concert advertised?

Just inviting people over for some music is not enough.  You need to get the word out to a lot of people, then be prepared to take reservations by phone or email and keep track of how many people are coming.  Some people who have house concerts prefer to limit the audience to people they know, so they might do a phone tree or email notice to their friends and neighbors.  Other peoople like to open it up to the public, so they might ask that their email announcement be passed on.  Some people even put up notices at the local grocery store.  An imoportant point here is to NOT include your address in any announcements going to the general public, only your telephone and email.  This allows you to limit the audience to the size you can deal with, and it also allows you to do a bit of screening.  Asl people to confirm their seat in advance, and keep a list.  Also, it's a good idea to slightly overbook your house concert - the one flaw in the system is that people will cancel at the last minute and there's not much you can do about it except glare at them in the supermarket.

How much do people pay to attend, and what are the musicians paid?

The price of admission varies according to where you are, but typical is $15, sometimes less or more.  Although musicians like to have a guaranteed fee, they're usually paid whatever is taken in at the door.  It may be reffered to as a "suggested donation", but it's important that someone keep track of the money taken in, and make sure everyone who attends pays their share.  (Some hosts do offer a "guarantee" by asking a few friends to take responsibility for part of the total paid to the musicians.  For example, if only ten people agreed to guarantee $60 each, the musicians coulde count on a minimum fee of $600.  With an audience of 40, the entire guarantee could be paid back out of the income at the door.

What about CD sales?

Musicians often have CD's and merchandise to sell, an important part of their income and an opportunity for the audience to purchase recordings, art & books that might be impossible to find elsewhere.  It's very helpful if the host arranges in advance for someone to sell the merchandise during the break and after the concert.  It's next to impossible for the musicians to sell their own CD's at the same time everyone wants to talk to them.  Record keeping can be very simple; have the musician(s) write down an accurate count of how many of each CD or merchandise they are putting out for sale, and at the end of the night count them again for a total number sold.

Do I need to serve food or drinks?

No.  Hosts can offer food and drinks but it's not necessary and it's entirely a matter of how much time and enthusiasm you have for it.  Some folks like to have a potluck beforehand and invite guests to bring their own beer & wine or favorite beverage to create a music party feel. Other hosts may offer light snacks and invite guests to BYOB. This keeps the expenses down and the social potential high.

Any other tips?

Chairs!  Most people don't have enough seats, but you can ask friends to bring them, or possibly borrow them from a church, etc.  Also, if you have space it's good to offer lodging for the night to musicians who are on the road.  The cost of motel rooms would pretty much consume whatever they might make at the door.

Here are some links to website with more information:

www.concertsinyourhome.com

Russ & Julie's excellent list of websites at www.jrp-graphics.com/houseconcerts/resources.html

An interesting article in the New York Tines about the house concert phenomenon at www.jrp-graphics.com/houseconcerts/nytimes.html

A very good and detailed guide by Tom Neff at www.houseconcerts.org/hc.html

Yahoo has a good page with a bunch of resources at dir.yahoo.com/Entertainment/Music/Genres/Folk_and_Traditional/House_Concerts

There's even a book about it that got a great review in the NY Times ... House Concert: A Guide for Musicians and Hosts by Douglas McLeod and Portland's own Kimberli Ransom at http://wordworkspublishing.com