Friday, October 21, 2005

House Concert How To...

House concerts are a quietly growing trend in the universe of musical performance. The world of Native American Flute music and performers are especially viable for house concerts. The NCFC's recent experience with Mark Holland, Elysium Calling and Scott August are several examples of this growing trend. House concerts offer a unique experience for both the performers and the audience, most important of which is the opportunity for a more intimate setting than larger venues.

Some of the key House Concert guidelines include:
  • Concerts are held in private homes or private spaces such as condo recreation halls or common spaces.
  • Profitless motivation, most/all money goes directly to the performer
  • Audience capacity is smaller than other public venues
  • Performance is usually by invitation only
  • Performers typically perform acoustic sets. This is a perfect combination for native american flute players, except where you'd like to have some reverb or other effects on the sound. In the example of Mark Holland, Mark played the majority of his songs along with tracks played on CD. In the case of Scott August, Scott played along with background tracks running on his iMac computer.
  • A meal is usually served in potluck form with the audience bringing the food
  • Traveling performers are sometimes provided room and board for the evening by the host

For performers, house concerts provide an opportunity to perform in a small venue where the audience is typically more attentive than a coffee house, resturant or a bar. House concerts also provide a more fruitful environment for selling CD's than your typical bar or coffee house, offering a greater revenue opportunity for the performance.

Back to the topic of house concerts for Native American Flute, there are many performers out there today who would welcome the opportunity to perform in a house concert setting. Some of these performers are just starting out, others are well known artists. Mark Holland chose to initiate his west coast house concert tour because he wanted to increase his exposure to a west coast audience who didn't know about him. Elysium Calling has built their emerging following out of performances at flute circles and small venues. If you are an budding artist who would like to enhance your career, you might consider the house concert circuit as a path to both expose your music and enhance your performance skills.

Hosting a house concert

The other side of the equation is of course the host. In the NCFC, we've built our flute circles on the model of individual hosts opening their homes for the events. A house concert is only a little different from this model. As a host, you of course need to have the space, either inside or outside, to stage the event, but it doesn't need to be a concert hall. A typical house concert can be anywhere from 20 -50 people. Probably the biggest consideration is parking. I have a vision for my dream house which includes a large enough space to be configured for house concerts, maybe someday this will become a reality...

If you'd like to know more, I found the following two resources online:

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