Living Room Concerts: The Low Down
Hello from beautiful Bristol! I love this city. It is where my boyfriend lived when we first met and we tried doing the London-Bristol thing for a bit. It didn't work so we have decided to move to Berlin instead...as you do! Yeah, makes sense!!
I am currently on tour withThe artPACKT Collective and tonight I am playing at Mr Wolf's in Bristol. It's an excellent wee venue and one I have payed loads of times. The evening is run by the ever fabulous Quentin from SongSmith's. If you are Bristol bound I start at 8pm, if you feel inclined you are really most welcome.
The current tour is made up of venue gigs and house concerts. House concerts were new to me until around 4 years ago. I was invited to Birmingham to play my first living room concert in 2012. It opened my eyes to a brand new live environment for my music to inhabit that I had never experienced before.
Intimate, focused and tailored the audience were there to listen, to enjoy and to enter a new world. They were also prepared and willing to buy all the merchandise I had with me as well as connect online and through my email list. These people have became a part of my life. Really. This is ALL because of the house gig environment.
Don't get me wrong, venue gigs are absolutely worth doing and can generate new supporters too (hence our return to Bristol each year!) however unless that venue is in someway intimate and can break that barrier that exists between stage and audience (bookshops and cafes work well) then I always feel both a real physical and metaphorical distance from the audience.
You see, my performance approach is conversational. I want to see eyeballs and smiles, I want to have banter on and off stage and I want to create a conversation that lasts and asks important, meaningful questions about us and what we are all about.
When I play a house gig I feel one and the same with the audience.
When I was living in London and battling with the ever-changing and bleak landscape of the London live music scene as a DIY artist with a tiny fanbase, I found house concerts the best way to grow my email list, to connect with supporters and the house shows FILLED ME UP in such a huge way. Upon leaving a house concert (usually after a good night's sleep and a breakfast) I would feel like I have really increased not only my supporters but also my friends.
So, how do you book a house gig?
As with all music industry things, there are of course multiple ways to do this. A few ideas are:
- Hit up your email list.
Create a newsletter calling for house concert hosts. If you don't have an email list then start one, it is your number one priority for getting your message out to the people that care especially when social media changes so frequently.
- Put out a call on social media asking for hosts.
You'd be amazed how many people and itching for new artists to play at their house shows. And asking for people to share and RT - it really does work. Don't be shy and ask. HERE IS AMANDA PALMER EXPLAINING WHY!
- Sign up to CouchSurfing.com. It is an incredible site based upon trust and generosity. There are lots of CouchSurfing Concert hosts on there.
- Ask your friends and family. Your music loving cousin will more than likely have music loving friends and so the network expands.
- Mention that you do house shows at each gig you play. Remember to always be pushing your email sign up list so that even if someone is too shy or unsure on the gig to approach you about the house concert they will still have a second chance when you email them!
- Go to a house gig as a guest. it's a great way to meet artists who are already doing it. Some house gig host are okay with other people coming to watch as long as you politely ask in advance!
How you go about actually doing the house shows are up to you. I have a "House Concert NOT a House Party" rule. That said, your host can sometimes still get the wrong end of the stick so it is important to really make sure you communicate what you can offer them from the start. I have made the fatal mistake of not doing this a few times and have been lying awake at 4am whilst the host parties with their friends...any tour driver will know how wrecked the driving makes you and sleep is paramount!
Bed and board are usually included on the gig, but not always. The same goes with payment. Again, this is something for you to organise with your host. If you are not getting paid a 'guarantee' fee then asking for donations is a must as well as pushing all the cool merch you have (which is always a must).
The main goal for me is to create a really valuable and rich experience for the audience. That means a soft comfortable environment to allow you to effectively communicate your story and message.
Enjoy your house gigs! For more banter, sign up to my mailing list here :) Check out my other tour blogs HERE and HERE for some more Rosie based musings. Get in touch with any questions and grab some FREE music HERE (until the end of April only!) Lastly, if you REALLY like me/my music/ginger people then you can DONATE to my whole musicy shebang HERE.
Much love to you all!