Hosting a House concert 101

A simple guide.

So you've decided that you want to host a house concert? That's AWESOME. Not only is this going to be such a fun event for you and your family and friends, but you're also supporting the arts in a really unique way and it is SO appreciated. You're also likely wondering "What now? I've never hosted something like this before!" Not to fear my friend. I am going to walk you through everything you need to know so grab yourself a cuppa tea, and keep reading. :)

Step 1: Select a date

No I don't mean go out and choose the lucky guy or lady to accompany you at the event (although you can also totally do that too if you'd like!) but select the date and time you would like to host your concert. Weekend evenings tend to be very popular although weekdays work equally as well. Chances are if you choose Tuesday afternoon at 1:00pm the event will likely be HIGHLY under-attended so I recommend that you choose a time that you know will work for the people you plan to invite. Once you have a date in mind, contact me to start the booking process. 

Step 2: Create a guest list

As mentioned in the "House Concerts FAQ" section, the event should have at least 25 attendees, but the more the merrier! The general rule is that you should plan to invite double the amount of people that you think will actually show up. For people with young children, perhaps encourage them to leave little Alfie at home with a babysitter for the evening so that they can fully enjoy themselves without any distractions. When you have curated a list of people who you think would be interested, move on to step 3.

Step 3: Send out invitations

I'm old fashioned and love hard-copy paper invites as they're so rare to receive these days and they're something tangible that people are less likely to brush off and forget about. That being said, in my experience house concerts garner the best turnouts when invitations are sent in more than one medium. This means you should couple your paper invitations with other formats such as: 

• a FaceBook event

• an email 

• personalized online E-invites 

I can't stress enough the importance of making sure that you get a solid RSVP from the people that plan to attend. It's very difficult to organize an event like this when you aren't sure of your numbers. Also by sending out regular reminders as the day approaches, you are keeping it fresh in everyones mind.

If you have chosen to subsidize the concert with donations from your guests then this should be included on your invitations. Something simple like "This house concert is by donation to the artist." will do. You do not need to set a recommended donation amount but perhaps mentioning somewhere that guests should bring cash would be a good idea. 

P.s. If you need help designing an eye catching invitation then I'm totally you gal. That sort of thing is my JAM!

Step 4: Prepping for the concert

After you have an idea of how many people will be attending, you'll need to sort out the following:

Seating. If you find yourself without enough chairs for the amount of people attending, you have options. You can always ask your guests to bring their own lawn chairs if the event is outdoors, or you can borrow/ rent seating from family, friends, community halls, etc.

Food. While serving food isn't a requirement (the evening can be solely a concert if you wish), it's usually a nice addition and often encourages more people to attend if they know that they're going to be fed. Once you have a rough head count on who's coming, start planning on what you're going to serve. This is also a good time to ask around to see if any of your guests have dietary restrictions or preferences. As mentioned in the FAQ section, I try to keep my events as environmentally friendly as possible and so I encourage hosts to use reusable flatware and utensils when possible. 

Location. Figure out where in your home you'd like to have the concert. It should be somewhere where guests won't feel cramped, and where there can be a few feet of room between the "stage" area and the audience. Also keep note of where your power outlets are and if you'll likely need extension cords. 

Alcohol. If you plan to serve alcoholic beverages at the concert, order what you need now and arrange to have it picked up or delivered on the day. Some municipalities require special licensing and permits for events so it's best to look into what you'll need to obtain ahead of time. 

Step 5: On the day of the concert

This is the time to sort out any last minute details that require your attention. I will arrive two hours prior to when the concert is scheduled to start to set up my gear and help you out with what ever you need. After that the majority of your work is done! 

Step 6: Making announcements

As the host you'll be the one ushering guests through the various stages of the evening. In the sample itinerary you can get an idea of when you will need to make these announcements. 

Step 7: Requesting donations (skip this step if you are paying for the concert in full)

If the concert is to be subsidized by contributions from the attendees, then it will be your responsibility to make that request. Guests will already know that the concert is by donation from the invitations, so this should not come as a surprise. Requests can be made in a variety of ways:

• While mingling around before the concert begins, mention to guests where the contribution jar can be found (the jar should also be labelled and easily visible).

• At the beginning of the concert while you are introducing me, say something along the lines of, "If I didn't mention before, the tip jar is located......"

• Once I am finished the performance and my music is still fresh in everyone's mind, your closing statement is a great opportunity to go a little bit more in depth. The audience's attention is already fully on the stage so it's generally easy to drop your own version of the following script into the announcement: "I know it has been mentioned already, but if you have enjoyed what you've heard tonight, I'd really like to encourage you to make a donation towards Hanna's music. Hanna is a completely self-sustained artist and isn't associated with a label so she funds all the costs involved in traveling and producing music herself."

Step 8: Enjoy the evening!

You have worked so hard to put this event together and it is SO important to make sure that you're enjoying yourself also. 


That's it!

I want to thank you in advance from the bottom of my heart for supporting me in my endeavours to grow as an artist and to share my love of music with those around me. You have given me all these warm fuzzy feelings inside and I couldn't be more grateful. Now I must go heat up the cup of tea that I made for myself when I started writing this and then TOTALLY forgot about.