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House concerts interfering with regular bookings
Hello folks, I'm new here and new to house concerts. 
My background: I'm a Germany-based folk singer and harp player and member of a three-piece band with another singer/harpist and a flutist. We have been well booked in the past 3 years for small venues, garden festivals, Weddings, birthdays, that kind of thing. 

I have encouraged my band mates to think about starting house concerts because traditionally the winter months are a little bit lean gig wise. 
My mate who does our booking is now concerned that house concerts may interfere with our regular bookings, such as birthday gigs. We have a set fee for this kind of gig (which is a little bit higher than what we would probably make on a house concert), so she is afraid that people will book us for a house concert even if it is really their birthday party. 

My answer was that most people would probably not want to let their guests pay for the entertainment, but my band mate claims that she had the same situation a couple of years ago. 

Have any of you encountered this problem?

Hi Katja! Welcome to the forum!

I've encountered similar situations where people who want to host house concerts suggest combining it with another event like a birthday party or housewarming party or anniversary party, etc. The stipulation I've always made in these cases is that if they want to do a combo donation-based event, the concert has to be the center stage focus of the event, not the "other" thing happening at the event. The music absolutely could not be a side show. Otherwise, donations are a catastrophe and it isn't a good night for us. Even so, it's a bit of a tougher sell when it comes to donation time when the guests have been invited to a birthday party. 

So, after having experimented with it some, now if someone wants me to perform for a birthday/anniversary/etc, I tell them I'm happy to do it for a guarantee, but that donation-based shows do not work well for me in these circumstances. If they'd like to host a regular ol' house concert (without the pairing with another event), then I'm happy to go with open donations. 

I hope my experience is somewhat helpful for you and your bandmates! 
Thank you Shannon for sharing your expertise with the rest of us! 

We talked it over yesterday and my band mate very much liked your approach. Clear communication with a possible host is really important here. 

But now it's time to get started - one of our friends has agreed to host a house concerts to get the ball rolling, I'm really looking forward to it. 

Thanks again for taking the time to answer my question! 
(01 Feb 2015, 12:23 PM)Katja Wrote: Clear communication with a possible host is really important here. 

Hi Katja! You said something really important here, so I wanted to underscore it. 

You are absolutely right. This entire model, unlike really any other way of sharing music, hinges completely on the personal nature of the interaction. It's an extension of goodwill, in both directions - from your host to you, and from you to your host.

Just curious, have you read the book that Shannon and I wrote about house concert touring? We talk a lot in it about the psychology that makes it all work, including what you are talking about here, but in much more detail. There's more info at this link, if you're interested:
jamie hill
shannon's husband & partner in crime
co-inventor of the house concert model & co-author of the book
which is why i reply so often on here
i produce, mix, & master records
you can hear my work at
Tacoma, WA, USA

the book brought me here Smile It's a great resource, I've read it twice already and more or less repeated it as a whole to my band mates (they are not so keen on reading books in English).

Your book gave me a lot of valuable hints and I can't wait to try it all out. A friend of ours agreed to host us at the end of February, hopefully that will get the ball rolling. I plan to film the concert, preparation and all, and make a short youTube Clip for future hosts. Unfortunately no one from our mailing list got back at us so far regarding this, but I think/hope when we have gathered some viewing material, people get a better feel what this is all about and step forward. 
(04 Feb 2015, 11:25 AM)Katja Wrote: I think/hope when we have gathered some viewing material, people get a better feel what this is all about and step forward

Yes! I totally agree. I definitely found that I had to really paint the picture / tell the story of how great house concerts can be before a lot of people started understanding what they were, coming to understand that it was possible for them to do, and then volunteering to become hosts. GREAT idea to have a video to start to tell the story to your community and future potential hosts! 

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