Hosting a house concert
Thank you so much for your interest in hosting a concert in your home! I love this opportunity to interact in a more intimate way with my audiences, to share my music, stories and vision of hope, peace and light with you and your guests, and to be a part of this beautiful way to create community.
Your willingness to host truly makes a difference for me as an artist, providing opportunities that otherwise simply wouldn't exist. You are a lifeline! Truly!!! I offer you my most sincere gratitude.
If you already know you’d like to host, please complete the form below.
Otherwise, click on any of the questions below to learn more!
What is a house concert?
House concerts are wonderful events which allow touring musicians to perform in the intimate setting of people’s homes. They vary widely in their presentation, depending on what the host(s) wishes to do - and what works for the artist. Some individuals host regular concerts, several times a year or even monthly - and others may host one time only, for a particular artist they wish to have perform in their home. I’ve yet to attend or perform for one that wasn’t a truly enjoyable event - for hosts, musicians and attendees alike.
You may wish to host the event on your own - or you may wish to join forces with a friend or two. I have seen some wonderful collaborative efforts in this regard! For example, one person might host the event, one might provide the refreshments, and another might take the lead on publicity. Collaborating with a friend or two can be really fun and can also increase your chances of getting a full house! Or you may wish to host on your own. It is entirely up to you.
Do I need to have prior hosting experience?
Not at all. All you need to do is have the desire to gather people in your home for an evening of music, sharing and community.
Is there a cover charge for house concerts?
Yes, with a few exceptions (see note below). The cover charge for house concerts is usually called a “donation” since homes are not registered as businesses, nor are the events profit-generating for the hosts. It helps to make it clear to your invitees that this is how the artist earns his/her living - and that all proceeds go to the artist.
Generally, house concerts for which I perform have a suggested donation of $20-25. If for some reason you feel this needs to be different, however, please let me know and we will discuss what might work best for all. It's always a balance between wanting to maximize revenue for the musician without keeping folks away due to cost.
When you send out your invites, be sure to let people know there is a suggested donation, what the donation amount is, and that all proceeds go to the artist(s).
Note: A host may also choose to hire the artist for the evening. In this case, the host and artist together agree what the rate will be. If you wish to do this, rather than having a suggested donation, please let me know.
Are reservations necessary? How does this work?
Unless you have a very large home, reservations are almost always required for house concerts, due to limited seating.
For this same reason, some people prefer not to publicize their address, instead sending it only once people have made reservations. This ensures that people don't show up unannounced - and then not be able to have a seat.
Some hosts require payment in advance in order to reserve a seat. If you are comfortable with this, it's not a bad idea. But ultimately, it is up to you.
When you reply to folks who rsvp, please ask them to make sure to let you know asap if their plans change, as seating is limited, so you can open up those seats to others.
It is also highly advisable to send a reminder a week or so before the concert - and then again the day of.
How many people usually attend?
Generally, you should aim for trying to gather 20-50 people, depending on the size of your home. Some homes will accommodate up to 65-75, but that’s pretty rare. The idea is to find a number that maximizes revenue for the artist, while also being a manageable size for you and your home.
Are house concerts open to the public?
This is entirely up to you. If you wish to invite only people that you know, that is totally understandable. This is your event!
If you wish, however, I can also extend invitations to people I know in the area. Or you can make the event totally open to the public and advertise it as such.
Unless yours is a regular house concert series, however, it has been my experience that most attendees will be people who are your friends, associates and colleagues - or friends of friends.
Whichever way you choose to go, there is almost always limited seating at a house concert, so unless you have a very large space, I recommend taking reservations and sending your address only upon receipt of the reservation.
Is an indoor or outdoor space preferred?
This will depend on several factors - comfort of the artist, comfort of your guests, weather in your area, and available space. Personally, I prefer to perform indoors - for the comfort of all, especially in areas where the weather is unpredictable.
I have, however, occasionally performed outdoors in truly beautiful settings and conditions. If you wish to do this, the ‘stage’ area (i.e. wherever I will be standing) needs to be shaded both for me and my instruments - and the temperature needs to be between 75-85 degrees. It is always advisable to have an alternative space to go to should the weather not cooperate!
Do I need to serve refreshments?
This is totally up to you! Some people have a pot-luck, some just have coffee & tea, some have hors d’oeuvres/appetizers. Some serve alcohol, which may be BYOB, others do not.
Often hosts ask a couple of friends who are coming to also bring an appetizer or dessert, so that's always an option, if you wish. Usually folks are happy to do that and it takes some of the burden off of you!
House concerts are done in every way imaginable, so you should do what feels right to you!
What is the best way to publicize the event?
This will partially depend upon whether your event will be open to the public. I recommend a combination of the following:
Word of mouth - always the most effective way! Just like you would for a party, call your friends and invite them! Or tell them in person. Or both!
Email - Most hosts also send out an email invitation. (Some may choose to use postal mail. Although this is relatively rare, it can be a nice touch, if you'd like to do so!)
Facebook Some choose to create a FB group for an event. (You may create a private or secret group, if your event is by invite only.)
If your event is open to the public, you may also wish to do the following:
Create a public FB event, post on your wall, in groups you belong to, etc.
Post flyers in public places - your library, church, workplace, coffee shops, etc.
Send information to your local media - radio stations that support live folk music, arts and entertainment editors of your local newspaper, etc. In this case, please share my website www.cindynovelo.com with them so they can download my music press kit. You’re welcome to use information from my website for whatever publicity you do as well.
I can also create a poster for you, if you would like me to. You can send it along with your invitation, or post it as you wish. (See below for more info about poster requests.)
For additional information about hosting, see below.
Contact Me To schedule Your show
What I WILL need from you
Date of show
Time of show
Suggested donation amount
Whether the concert will be open to the public, or private. Please let me know which of the below you prefer, so that I can post it accordingly on my website:
Your friends and contacts, by invite only
Your friends and contacts, plus my friends (people actually known to me), by invite only
Your friends and contacts, plus those on my music email list, but still by invite only
Open to the public
If you would like for me to create a poster for you, please also send me the following information as soon as possible:
Name of show* (for example: “Cedarwood Hills House Concert”)
Rsvp info (name & email or phone number)
I also need your address (so I know where to go! :) )
* It is not absolutely necessary to name the show, but it adds a certain kind of legitimacy and attraction to the event, so it's a nice thing to do. Here are some house concert name examples: Music on Mass House Concerts, Studio 901 House Concerts, Desert Bloom House Concerts, The Rock House House Concerts, Olive Street House Concerts, etc.
Additional information that has been helpful to hosts
Invitations/publicity: Be sure to let people know when you invite them that they need to rsvp, as seating is limited. Then go ahead and send out as many invitations as you wish.
Generally speaking, it isn’t advisable to include the address with the invite, but rather send it out as folks rsvp. This eliminates the possibility of people showing up that you weren’t expecting. This is particularly important if you have very limited seating. But if you wish to do it some other way, that is up to you!
When people reserve, send them a reply with your address and any other info you wish to include. Also request they let you know if they have a change of plans or are unable to come for any reason, so that you can open their spot up for someone else if they can’t come.
I've found it's good to send out an initial invitation/save-the-date 4-6 weeks in advance, just to let folks know it's happening, then follow-ups maybe 2-3 weeks and then a few days to a week beforehand. Maybe even the day before or the day of, too, if there are still seats available… Most people need several reminders!
Most people these days use email invites or a platform such as Evite, but if you’d like to do it some other way, feel free! Talking it up to your friends as you see them is also extremely effective, and makes the event that much more personal. I've found that the more personal contact I make, the better it works, including personal emails (or phone calls) to whomever you wish, in addition to the group email.
Seating: Hosts are responsible for providing seating for their guests. If you expect a small crowd, you can usually just gather together whatever chairs you have around your home and assemble them in whatever room you’ll be using. For larger crowds, hosts are sometimes able to borrow folding chairs from a friend, local church or other organization. Occasionally, hosts rent chairs.
Sound and space requirements: While I have sometimes performed without a sound system, generally I prefer to use one, even if the space is relatively small, as it allows me more flexibility both vocally and instrumentally. I travel with my own system, which is a single column ‘Bose’-type speaker. All I need is an outlet with a ground. (Or if you regularly host and have your own sound system, that’s great too!)
In terms of space, I need a space of at least about 6’X6’ for me and my instruments.
For more info on house concerts: If you feel so inspired, there's a wonderful web site with lots of information about how it all works - Concerts In Your Home. But don't be intimidated! Some of these folks have been at it a long time and have large spaces. Really, just let it be whatever you want it to be!