Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Your Living Room Was Made For Live Music

I love house concerts. As a singer-songwriter, I love to perform to room full of people who are there to listen to music. These days, the commercial venues that attract listeners are dwindling. And let's face it, playing to a room full of people who are there to socialize with friends or drown their sorrows in alcohol can be downright demoralizing.

As a music lover, I love house concerts because they present the most intimate concert experience. Forget front row seats in a concert hall. There's nothing like having the performer feet away from you, hearing stories they might not share on stage, and being able to talk to them after the show. There's an energy exchange that happens between performers and audiences during a performance. It's invigorating, sometimes transcendental, and never more intimate or memorable than at a house concert.

I hosted a house concert once for S.J. Tucker when she was traveling through Colorado. Though I've seen S.J. perform many times, this was by far the most memorable, fun show I'd witnessed. I didn't have a very large living room at the time, but with some creative furniture staging we managed to fit 25+ people. There were even some folks who drove up to Superior from Colorado Springs for the show. It was a great fun for all involved.

People often ask what it takes to put on a house concert. The most common misconception is that you have to have a very large living room. An average sized room will do, or some other space like a barn or a back yard patio (if the weather is good). Often the artist plays without any amplification, though a small PA is often utilized when the room is very large or the acoustics aren't good.

Typically, a suggested donation of $10-20 is set with the proceeds going to the artist. Some hosts provide snacks and drinks while others ask guests to bring a dish to share. Lodging is sometimes provided to the artist if they are a touring act and the host has room to accommodate them.

Many folks host regular house concert series and over time build up their own mailing list of guests who attend their events. These established house concert series attract well-known national acts who tour regularly. Other people choose to host house concerts only for artists they know on a rare occasion.

Privacy can be a concern for some would-be house concert hosts, but events can be private with only the friends and family of the host invited. If a show is public or open to the artist's mailing list, the address of the event is often not posted and guests get the details when they RSVP. Sometimes hosts wish to present the show for free to their invited guests and they work out a flat fee for the artist to perform. There is no right or wrong way to do it and artists are usually happy to work with you to create an event that meets the needs of all parties involved.

With the technology we have today to communicate we can easily feel connected to our friends and family without any face-to-face interaction. And there is so much available on cable TV and the internet, we don't even have to leave the house to entertain ourselves. While there's certainly a lot of benefit to these technologies, there is also a lot we're missing when we don't get out of the house and socialize with the ones we love. A strange sense of loneliness and isolation can creep in no matter how often we call, email, or skype. We are missing that human connection that feeds our souls.

Live music events are a great way to spend time with friends, make new ones, and nurture your right-brain/creativity. It can be healing, inspiring, transforming, relaxing, and just plain fun. And, of course, it helps artists make a living sharing their gifts and introduces new fans to their music. Consider bringing that live music magic into your home or attend a house concert to experience it yourself. I invite you to watch this short introduction video to learn more: http://concertsinyourhome.com

If you have any questions or comments to share about your personal house concert experience, please post them or email me at trinity@trinitydemask.com