People are often surprised when I tell them I love to perform in house concerts. Not only do I run my own house concert series in my hometown of Salt Lake City, Utah, but when I am out touring and performing, I love to do house concerts.
They’re my favorite way to perform because it’s more intimate and personal, and I have a much better opportunity to mingle with the audience, hang out with my fans and listeners, and just spend time with everyone. When I perform in larger performance halls, that personal connection is often lacking.
So how do you host a house concert? It’s very easy and affordable! I will use piano concerts as an example, because that’s what I do, but this can apply to all sorts of acoustic music.
How many seats can you fit in your space? Typically, a house concert should seat a minimum of 20 guests. I’ve done small house concerts where there were only 15-20 people and it was great. I’ve also done house concerts where there were 60-80 people, and those were great too. As long as you can provide a space for the musician(s) to perform, and have space for audience members to enjoy the show, you’re good to go.
Most house concerts include beverages and refreshments. The concert host will usually put out snacks for the guests and provide a variety of drinks as well. I’ve played house concerts where they simply put out some veggies and some bottled water, and I’ve played house concerts where the host had it catered. For my own house concerts, I typically put out a veggie tray, a fruit tray, sliced cheeses, meats & crackers, some M&M’s and nuts, and some pre-made deli foods (potato salad, pasta salad, etc.) Putting out snacks for the concert can be as cost effective, or as decadent as you prefer.
Here’s a quick list of things you’d need to host your own house concert:
- Folding chairs, or seats for your concert guests. You can buy folding chairs pretty affordably from Target, Costco, Walmart, etc. Or you can borrow from your local church or school. You can also use your couches, kitchen and dining room chairs, and any other chairs around your home.
- A space for your musician(s) to perform. If you’re hosting a pianist, you’d need to have an acoustic grand, or a nice upright, with all functioning keys and pedals. You’ll also want the piano to be tuned. If you’re hosting other styles of music, most musicians travel with their own instruments.
- A table or area for your musician(s) to set up their merchandise so they can sell CDs, Songbooks, etc. This can be a folding table, a dining room table, a bar in the kitchen, etc.
- A space to put out food and drinks for your concert guests.
There are two ways you can host a concert.
1. Public: The musician(s) sell tickets, promote to their local fan base, and this would be a public show. The host also invites their friends, family, neighbors, etc., to the show as well. The biggest condition here is that the concert host would need to be willing and able to invite strangers into their home to enjoy the music. Some house concert hosts are not comfortable with this, but if you are, this is a great way to host a show
2. Private: The musician(s) would not sell tickets, or promote to their local fan base, and this would be a private show. In a situation like this, the host will invite their friends and family to the concert, guarantee the musician(s) an audience of at least 20 people, and pay the musician(s) a fee to perform. I charge $500 for a house concert of this type, and the hosts will usually ask for donations from their guests to help cover my fee. This is a great option for people who aren’t comfortable inviting strangers into their home.
House concert experiences are a very casual and fun way to experience music. It’s my personal favorite way to perform. If you’re interested in hosting me for a house concert, you can contact me at www.michelemclaughlin.com/booking/ for details.