So what is a House Concert? I don’t know that there is a rigid definition, but there are a few things that seem to be universal about this venue. A house concert is a musical performance that is held in someone’s private home or space. Independent, touring (or not) musicians perform a concert for a gathering of people invited by the host to enjoy original (or not) music. A suggested donation is requested of the guests, and this is how the performer(s) are paid. Some house concerts also host a pot luck dinner and/or a song circle (after the scheduled performance). Performances typically last about 2 hours, and they may or may not be opened to the public. Some folks see their series as an exclusive event for friends and associates, and others see their series as an opportunity to expose people to quality music and musicians to quality people. This depends a great deal on the host’s space, location and safety of inviting the public. Either way, house concerts have proven to be a viable way for today’s working musician to get exposure and make a living.
It’s been my
experience, as a house concert host, that given the opportunity, people will
come to prefer the music that is not on the radio. If house concert hosts did
not invite these folks to their events, they might never get the opportunity to
enjoy the quality of music being created today. No need to read between the
lines on that one. It’s always been my opinion (even before I knew anything
about house concerts), that the musical underground, the independent circuit,
and the festival scene offer the best music available. I’m not particularly
“cool,” “hip” or “visionary.” However, like most people who experience even
one house concert, I have a lot of confidence in my ears. There’s something
exciting out there that can’t be experienced on mainstream radio, TV, or in the Walmart CD section. Find a house concert near you. Go and experience. Go to
more. Then think about hosting one. There are so many talented people who
would love to perform for you and your friends. Just remember that it’s your
choice. As anything will do, even house concerts have evolved into their own
“mainstream” choices of performers. Take a chance on an artist you’ve never
heard of; someone who’s name doesn’t appear on several house concert schedules.
You may find that the forest is very visible beyond the trees. Your ears won’t
steer you wrong.