Wednesday, December 19, 2012

House Concerts - Good for the Performer, Good for the Audience

I don’t know if house concerts are becoming more popular or if I have just arrived at the right combination of age and musical taste to be in the loop, but I had the pleasure of attending several enjoyable house concerts in 2012.  A house concert is just that – an intimate performance in someone’s home.  The host invites friends, neighbors and fellow music lovers to attend.  There’s usually between 20 to 30 people there.  It’s BYOB, you chip in 10 or 20 bucks for the performer, there’s a potluck beforehand, and the “band” – usually a small acoustic trio, duo or solo artist - does two approx. 45 minute sets.
Dubl Handi
House Concerts are great for the right performer.  All the proceeds go to you.  You get fed and are usually given the option of staying the night.  It’s an opportunity to make a direct connection with an attentive audience who is there to hear your music.  It helps if you are personable, charismatic, entertaining, able to play well under such scrutiny, and comfortable interacting with fans.
The Steel Wheels
House concerts usually have a built-in audience so you don’t have to do any promotion on your own.  Attendees tend to be slightly older, affluent and artsy; old fogies that want to support new fogies and who still buy CDs.  The bond you establish there means these folks will remain fans and may also be inclined to donate to your Kickstarter project down the road.

The Stray Birds
House concerts are great for the listener, as well.  It’s a no hassle, up close and personal event that starts on time and ends at a reasonable hour.  You get to hang out with friends and other like-minded music aficionados and you can chat with the performers, if you like.  The costs can be lower than dinner for two, a night at the movies, or an evening at a bar or club, and you don’t have to put up with people talking over the performer!
Curtis Eller

Coincidentally, there are some fine venues in the Richmond, VA area that follow the house concert model.  These include JAMinc, Ashland Coffee and Tea, The Listening Room, and Shady Grove Coffeehouse.  At venues like this where you can experience great music in a close and friendly environment you’re almost always guaranteed a good time, even if you aren’t familiar with the artist going in.

(The musicians pictured above are ones I saw in memorable house concerts in 2012).

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