House Concert Articles & Books

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.

 I think house concerts were once called “Salons,” and actually, it is probably a concept as old as music itself.  I wonder how many of the great composers performed their work for a group of people gathered in someone’s home?  Of course, we imagine these homes to be quite spectacular and aristocratic.  Today’s house concert hosts come from all socio-economic backgrounds.  Anyone with a space big enough to accommodate a gathering of music fans may host a house concert.  Some are quite large. Some are small and intimate.  There are performers to fill both spaces.  Sometimes you may see the term “house concert” connected to a church fellowship hall or some other public space.  What makes “house concert” a valid description of what these spaces offer is that, like concerts held in homes, the event is not for profit.  It is a generous undertaking meant to support music that is not supported by the mainstream.

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.

Below are helpful House Concert Articles & Books


Concerts In Your Home



The New York Times House Concert article   November 8, 1999 edition

Acoustic Guitar Magazine
 House Concerts from a performer's perspective.

Wired News Online
February 2000


Books & Tips

House Concerts for the "Defiantly Unfamous" by Thomas Flannery

Gaia Consort's "How to Present a House Concert"

House Concert: A Guide for Musicians and Hosts by Douglas McLeod and Kimberli Ransom

Home Made Music's House Concert Guide

Let's Do A House Concert
(Tom Neff's detailed House Concert Guide)

How To Put On The Perfect House Concert
(Bob Bossin's guide to holding house concerts)