Saturday, June 13, 2009

House Concerts 101

This is a repost from Visible Voices...but I have folks that ask questions about house concerts and this MAY answer a few! please use the comment section to ask questions, and I will be delighted to respond! There are also many, many sites on the web that describe how others do their house concerts, as well as Fran Snyders House Concerts in Your Home site.

They told me I could do it. "have a house concert" they musician friends wanted to other friends were willing to listen!

First thing you always think when you hear the words house concert in relation to your own home is "my house is too small." Let's get over that myth right now. One thing music does in a small space is create intimacy, a mood, a magic that makes you sometime realize that you are holding your breath so that you don't miss the next lyric...and then realize, you are NOT in a bar, or a clanging, no voices, no kids at the next table at full's the music. And in a house concert it surrounds you. Your house is not too small.I work in catering and event planning, so granted, I am a little more versed in the ways of venues, musicians and logistics of things like this...but this is MY house! so, I do get a little nervous. Actually, usually it's my back yard...I have neighbors that have no problem pulling up a chair on their back porches, popping a beer and listening along with those in the audience. The little rise in the yard by the fence is the "stage" and I drag every chair I own, and many that my neighbors own to the yard, all in rows. The musicians use small sound systems...not my problem, their gig. At my house concerts, I do a potluck... altho many venues only offer non alcoholic drinks (I usually do a fruited lemonade) and maybe some snacks. I do my concerts on Sunday, so my catering friends bring leftovers from Saturday night! as well as generous guests fill in the edges with other goodies. If a guest wants to enjoy wine or cold beer, bring it along, not a problem.

I set the buffet in the house...the bar as well...on the porch is the merch table, each artist has CDs, T shirts etc to sell. I ask for a donation of $10-15, more if you can, less if you can't...and all the money goes to the musicians. I've been setting up a tip jar, I'm thinking of collecting at the door, then it's done.Base rule for house concerts: It's about the music. Conversation in the audience is just not my concerts, in the house, with the door shut, you can eat, chat, visit...the backyard is music only. We take a break in the middle, then encourage everyone to return to their seats before the next set starts up.And the music! it makes it all worth while! clear lyrics, sweet melody... stories about the songs, why they were written...who inspired the thought....harmonies flowing over your head and into your heart. It's a miracle way to hear our wonderful Austin musicians, there is nothing else like it. We are the Live Music Capitol of the World...and this is the best way I know to support it.

My first concert featured Donna Frost, from Nashville, TN opening for Austin's Byrd & Street, a perfect combination! They've done this show twice so far, with wonderful song circles following each one. Webb House Concerts has followed with Cowboy Johnson, Amanda Pearcy, Steve Brooks, Paula Held...and a couple of song circles just because we up is Ladies w/Lyrics...four women with their guitars and their voices...Donna Frost, Amanda Pearcy, MJ Bishop and Leeann Antherton! right in my own back yard!

Leeann throws one heck of a house concert herself here in South Austin...the Full Moon Barn Dance!

I do can too...

Find my house concert pictures at : and also on Webb House Blogspot