What is a house concert?
A house concert is a concert hosted in a private space (a house, apartment or community room are all common venues) as opposed to being held in a normal public venue (a bar or coffeehouse). Beyond that broad distinction, there are no hard rules for what constitutes a house concert. These events are fun, memorable and a growing national trend.
Watch this short video some people use to promote these great events to their friends:
Depending on the available space (and comfort level of the host), house concerts vary quite a bit in size and scope, from a dozen people in a small living room, 30 people in a Yoga studio, 50 people in a basement, or 250 people in a large backyard. 40 people in a medium-to-large living room is about average.
What do you do?
Often, house concerts are BYOB and involve a pot-luck dinner or hors d’oeuvres. There is usually 30-60 minutes between when doors open and when the music starts. This allows for quick catching up with friends, noshing, and pouring + sipping of wine! When there is a critical mass in attendance, or when “start time” rolls around, the concert commences.
You do want to make sure there is adequate seating for your guests – whether that means gathering all the chairs from around your house, renting or buying folding chairs, or asking guests to bring lawn or folding chairs, cushions and blankets.
The music, especially with solo artists, is often completely acoustic: unplugged and unamplified. Depending on the space, once you start getting bigger than about 25 or 30 people, you should probably think about having a small PA system to help supplement the natural acoustics. This is especially true for duos or groups, as certain instruments (for example, the Dobro is a naturally very loud instrument) can easily overpower vocals or another guitar. Also, some guests may have a hard time discerning lyrics in quieter songs without amplification. You’d be amazed how much sound can be absorbed in a comfy living room – or how an echo-y room can muddle the words!
When Lauren and Aaron play as an acoustic duo, they have a very small sound system that they like to set up for amplification, depending on the space and audience. They typically play a 1 to 1.5 hour set.
Here’s what is wonderful and unique about house concerts: there’s no vast separation dividing the artist from the audience. Everyone is in the same room together – sharing, listening, connecting. There are certain songs that only work in this sort of setting, as well as a bunch of stories behind the songs artists are only comfortable sharing in this intimate sort of setting.
In general, there’s something very real and tangible and human about the whole set-up that can be very moving and touching, inspiring and invigorating. And that goes for the performers as much as for any listener. Perhaps even more so.
Getting People to Show Up
Enthusiastic word of mouth is by far the most effective way to get folks to come to a house concert you are hosting. Most of you will know how to entice your family, friends, co-workers, and fellow music lovers to come and enjoy! We can also work with you to make:
One note: it’s important to make sure, in the promotional process, that your guests understand that this will be a house concert, not a house party that has some music going on in the background.
Also, unless you’re uncomfortable with it, we will post the house concert date on our website schedule (we do not publish private street addresses unless given permission) and ask that people interested in attending contact the host via e-mail (or your preferred method of contact) for more specific details and to RSVP. This way, you maintain control over to whom you are opening your home and how many people you’re inviting in through your front door.
How much will this cost?
Lauren and Aaron play for tips at house concerts-- in a "pass the hat" type setting. The host does not pay any money. It’s always helpful if there is a designated person who is willing to pass the hat around through the audience. Suggested donations are anywhere between $5-20, depending on the demographic of the location. Some hosts charge $5-$10 at the door to ensure that the artists get paid, but we have found that the passing of the hat method works better. The artists also rely on merchandise sales to aid their income, and keep them on the road.
We love playing house concerts because of the intimacy provided for both artists and listeners. We cut out the middle man by not playing in bars, and acts all over the nation have made their way on tour playing house concerts. We look forward to seeing you out there! <3 Please use the contact for on this website to send any inquires.
Lauren's audience at a house concert in Bergen, Norway, 2017
Lauren's bandmate Aaron, in a cozy cottage house concert in Marrtown Island, Maine, 2018
Lauren & Aaron playing in a house concert-style setting in Coo's Bay, Oregon, 2016