I perform my music in all types of intimate venues, but house concerts are by far one of my favorites.
They are so casual and laid back, which is how I am most of the time. I can even play in my socks if I want to. They’re really a great way to meet the fans that have been listening to my music for years.
Here’s a video of a house concert I performed at several years ago…
House concerts are nothing new. They’ve been around long before I started playing them. There are even entire websites dedicated to them.
So what does it take for you the fan to host a house concert? I can’t speak for all artists, but here’s what it takes for me as a solo piano artist to come play in your living room…
- You need a decent acoustic piano. I prefer grands or baby grands but I’ve been known to play uprights before. What’s most important is that it’s in tune, well cared for, and all the keys must function properly. The sustain pedal must work. Without that, there can be no house concert. I’ve been asked if I would play a digital piano. Probably not. I’ve played digital pianos before and they just are not the same as a real acoustic piano with a full size keyboard. Most digital pianos sound like toys.
- You must have at least 30 seats minimum. 50-60 seats is ideal, but 30 seats minimum.
- You need a space for me to set up merchandise. A table for me to display CDs and Songbooks. I usually run my store before, during intermission and after the house concert.
- You need to decide if you want this to be a public concert or a private concert. A public concert means we invite the general public. A private concert means I play just for you and your family/friends, whomever you invite.
- The financials. Do you want me to set up a ticket link online and we sell tickets to your guests? Or do you want to make it a free event for your guests and you as the host pay my appearance fee? If we go the ticket route… let’s say you have 50 seats/tickets to sell, if all the seats sell then that’s how I make my money, in addition to any merchandise. So if we sell 50 seats at say $15 each, that’s $750.00 in ticket sales. If for any reason we do not sell all the seats/tickets, then the host is on the hook for the difference. So if you have 50 seats and we only sell 40 seats, then the host would pay me the difference of $150.00.
- Travel expenses are usually my biggest expense. Gas, food, lodging. It’s not uncommon for me to stay with my hosts and have a meal or two with them. Another great way to get to know my fans! Otherwise I have to pay for lodging which is another added expense of the host.
- Other factors- If I’m already on tour and you’re on my route, it’s easier for me to add you to my list of shows I’m playing. If I’m not on tour, and you want me to travel with the express purpose of coming to play in your living room and it’s within 4 to 5 hours or less of a drive from where I live in Nashville, TN then that’s easy. However if you live somewhere where I have to fly, then the host would need to pay my airfare OR I would just book a series of shows around your house concert. Either way I can be flexible and try to make it work.
Read what a couple of my fans have to say about their experience hosting house concerts…
“This past spring, I hosted a small house concert for Philip Wesley. Certainly, I never dreamed that Philip would be playing in my living room. I contacted Philip at the beginning of the year through his website, and he responded quickly. Our family had been a fan of Philip’s music for several years, and we were elated when he accepted our invitation to play for our friends and family. Our daughter has played harp and piano for 12 years and bringing one of her piano idols to play for us was a once in a lifetime experience. Organizing the event was easy, and Philip offered suggestions on how to send invitations. We chose to use Eventbrite for tickets so we could easily track the number of people that would be attending. We had a great response of 25 people out of the 30 invitations that went out. Now we had to get the house ready for the show. We had the piano tuned the week of the concert and picked up folding chairs from a local rental company. The day of the show, Philip arrived in plenty of time to prepare and get a light bite. The warm-up was a great opportunity to listen to Philip play a “private show” just for us before the guests arrived. During the concert, Philip made the show very intimate offering stories about his music and how he finds his inspiration in his song writing. After a 45 minute performance, we offered light refreshments at the break so everyone could mingle with Philip and browse his merchandise table. The second half of the performance was just as moving as the first half. Philip played fan favorites and even played my favorite song, Light and Shadow. After the show, Philip hung out with all the guests and took pictures with his fans. What a fantastic evening we all had with Philip. Hosting a house concert allows fans an up close and personal experience that will be unforgettable.” – Marissa
I hosted my first house concert several years ago with Philip Wesley. It was an amazing Sunday afternoon. The setting was perfect with my house up on a hill overlooking Pistakee Bay, boats driving by, and amazing music in my living room. Nice. As Philip played, a thunderstorm rolled in just when he was starting Dark Night of the Soul. The ambiance could not be better. Afterwards we all talked, had snacks and refreshments, purchased many CD’s and songbooks. A day of dreams.
If you decide you would like to host a house concert, which I recommend, there are just a few things you have to do:
- Send Philip a message of your request
- Set a date and time
- Find out how much he charges ( add a tip)
- Will there be airfare and or hotel charges
- A small table to display CD’s and songbooks to purchase
- Offer drinks and easy finger foods (optional, but a nice touch)
- Know a little of Philips background when introducing him
Invitations and Collecting monies:
- Evite is one option to send out invitations and collect money
- Eventbrite is another option to sell tickets and collect money
- If you know everyone that is attending, collect the monies ahead of time
- You can also collect at the door
- Charge enough to pay for his playing fee, including a tip and for the food and drinks
- Philip may be able to set up a system for you to collect money as well.
Then sit back and enjoy. –Holly
Interested in hosting a house concert?
Contact me on my contact page HERE