If you’re passionate about music and you’re looking for an unconventional concert venue, consider hosting a house concert. What’s that, you say? It’s exactly what it sounds like: a concert that’s held in your house (or another non-traditional concert venue space). Yes, you can get musicians to play at your house for a unique and intimate experience. And it’s not as difficult as you might think. Read on to find out everything you need to know about hosting your very own house concert.
How to host a house concert: a step-by-step guide
1. Find an artist
Check out artists playing locally at some of the smaller concert venues in town. If you enjoy their music, ask if they are open to playing a house concert. Friends are another great resource to tap. Also, check listings online. Some artists will mention upfront that they play house concerts.
There are also online platforms for artists openly seeking gigs that you can check out as well. Just bear in mind the type of music and whether it would be a good fit for a house, especially your house.
2. Figure out the compensation
Musicians should get paid for their time, whether they’re playing at a big arena concert or your house. There are two ways of approaching this. Either set ticket prices and have attendees purchase tickets in advance or at the door, or have a suggested donation and pass around a hat or bucket at the concert itself.
In any case, let attendees know ahead of time if there is a suggested donation, with $10 to $20 being a good suggested donation amount. Most people who host house parties do not earn any money on the event, and instead pay nearly all of it to the artist, with some deductions for expenses.
3. Arrange the space
If you’re holding the concert in your house, you may want to arrange the space to create more room for guests, like moving tables and setting up a few chairs. You definitely don’t need to have seating for everyone, but it’s a good idea to have a few seats for those who might need them.
Set the chairs up in front of where the artist or band will perform. That also helps reinforce the idea that this is a concert and not just a house party. If you are holding the concert outdoors, you may still want to set up some seating or have guests bring their own lawn chairs.
Depending on the situation and space, you may want to set up a makeshift stage for the artist or band. Or add some lights or other décor. It’s totally up to you and the musician.
4. Decide who to invite
How many people you can invite will depend on the size of your space. If you are not comfortable with strangers, then limit the audience to just your neighbors and friends, provided there is enough of an audience. Otherwise, spread word of your house concert by word of mouth, social media, and even old-school flyers.
The artist or band can also invite their fans or otherwise spread the word. However you do it, it’s important to ask guests to confirm or RSVP. You don’t want to waste anyone’s time by holding a concert that only five people attend.
5. Set up space for merchandise sales
If the artist or band has any merchandise, they will greatly appreciate having a designated space to be able to sell them and make some extra money.
For guests who may have just discovered a new favorite musician, or who are keen to support musicians, it’s a great opportunity for them to pick up some merchandise. You can set up a separate table, or use part of a counter, or anywhere that’s easy to get to and easily visible.
6. Offer food and drink
Many people combine a house concert with a potluck beforehand. It’s always a good idea to have food, but there’s no reason you have to provide everything. Have guests bring a dish if they are so inclined. You should also always offer to feed the musicians if possible. Check ahead if there are any dietary restrictions.
You can also offer light refreshments, water, and coffee. You can have guests bring their own alcohol, or provide some. Just be careful that guests don’t over-imbibe and drink and drive. There may also be license issues depending on where you live.
7. Think about the timing
House concerts can go anywhere from one to two hours and sometimes even longer. The longer the concert runs, the more likely it is that there will be a break or intermission in the middle.
To avoid hassles with noise complaints, angry neighbors, and visits from the police, schedule the house concert to end before 10 pm. Always double check the timing for where you live.
Final thoughts on holding a house concert
With a bit of planning, you can hold an incredible musical event right in your own home or backyard.
Love the concept of an intimate concert but your space really won’t work? Look for a unique concert venue to hold it at instead. Since you want the event to be intimate, you may want to look at smaller spaces. Whatever you choose, just remember to sit back and enjoy the event as well.