All About House Concerts

A house concert is exactly what it sounds like: a get-together of friends in your living room, deck, or garden, with live music, and often food, drinks, and conversation. Personally I usually prefer these evenings over public concerts because they are cozy, intimate, and allow me a chance to really get to know the audience – your group of friends! Because, who knows? Some of them may become my friends too.

I’m available solo and as half of the duo, Hobbit & Hare. We also have two House Concert variants available. Most of the Frequently Asked Questions apply to both types.

  • The “standard” House Concert. This is best for Friday and Saturday evenings or a Sunday “matinee” show. While they’re not rigidly scheduled, between the music, the break, time for the food (if any), and the socializing aspect that helps make a House Concert special, they tend to take several hours.
  • The Jazzed Desserts concert. This is great for weekday evenings. The music portion is shortened and the times for the various parts of the evening are a bit more firmly set, resulting in a start to finish running time of 90 minutes.
  • Currently we’re looking for concerts in the Puget Sound area but we’re hoping to expand out into the whole of the Pacific Northwest. After which, world domination. Of course.

Frequently Asked Questions About House Concerts:

I Don’t Have A Big House. Can I Still Host A Concert?
Yes! The cozier the better. You don’t need to live in a McMansion to host a House Concert!

How Many People Are You Expecting? I Don’t Think I Can Get 50 People To Come To My House.
We’ve done house shows with as few as 20 people, and as many as upwards of 50. One of the best things about House Concerts is that they are intentionally more intimate. We prefer to do our House Concerts using strictly acoustic instruments. With no sound system between us there’s a greater connection between the performers and the audience, making it more fun for all concerned. Since it’s at acoustic volumes it’s also good at not disturbing your neighbors, though you should definitely head that situation off at the pass by inviting them to the concert!

Does It Cost Money To Host A House Concert?
Except maybe for snacks and such, there is no cost to host a concert, but guests are asked to give a suggested donation. The typical suggested donation is $10 or $15 per person. Some have even been $20. But no one should be turned away if they are not able to give. (What fun would that be?)

Many House Concert hosts have a basket, jar, or even the traditional hat by the door for donations. Often the hosts come out in the middle (during the break), give a 2 minute spiel asking people to support the artist, and then proceed to “pass the hat” during the performance as it continues. Most importantly, giving is simply an appreciated way of helping an artist keep their music career sustainable. Your guests feel like they’re patrons of the arts because they are patrons of the arts!

Does It Cost Extra For The Duo Than For You Solo?
Absolutely not! In fact, I prefer working with Sketch (aka Andrew Hare). I think the show sounds better that way and it’s certainly more fun!

Can I Book You At My Neighborhood Theater, Coffeehouse, Or Gallery Instead?
Certainly! Just drop a line to bookings@howlinhobbit.com. However, we’re more likely to want a guarantee for these sort of events, as opposed to the donations only deal that House Concerts run on.

How Do I Plan This Thing?
The beauty in House Concerts is that they are low stress. Once we agree on a date, we can talk about a start time. Then you can setup a Facebook invite and/or shoot out emails to your network of friends, or heck!, even call them on the phone to let them know about it. (How old skool is that?) Whatever happens, don’t panic! Its just like hanging out with your friends, except with a private concert.

But I Really Don’t Want Strangers In My House.
This is usually a homeowner’s primary concern. They’re interested in hosting something but don’t want it to be listed as a public event. No problem. Simply keep the Facebook invite private. Usually I’ll stick a generic “House Concert” listing on my calendar page. Oftentimes a fan will ask if they can attend the show. I will ask you first if it is ok to pass your email address on to this interested person. If you’d rather keep it a closed event, then no problem. It’s your house. We like to behave like mannerly house guests.

What Exactly Is The Order Of Events For The Concert?
The order is pretty laid back. It’s usually great to give folks some to arrive, get comfortable, and chat it up a bit before getting into the music. We generally play two sets of 40 minutes each, divided by a 15 – 20 minute break. We’re pretty flexible on scheduling and there are a variety of ways to approach how the evening progresses.

  • Some folks provide snacks and beverages for their guests. These can be as simple as chips and dips or as fancy as the host desires. (One that we’ve played a couple times features a table full of fabulous munchies that the hostess cooks up herself. That table is worth playing a concert for all by itself!)
  • Some folks arrange for the guests to bring dishes for a full on potluck.
  • Other ideas? Talk to us!

What Are Your Personal Expectations, Hobbit?
We’ve played in a lot of different settings, and my least enjoyable experiences involve playing in a noisy room where the music plays a backseat role. It’s like I’m a substitute for a jukebox or piped in muzak. There is nothing wrong with music that exists merely to set a mood for an event (we play straight up house parties all the time) but I prefer the house concert’s listening vibe, and the greater connection with the audience.

OK, This Sounds Like Fun! What’s Next?
Terrific! Send an email to houseconcert@howlinhobbit.com. Let’s do it!

You can also hit me up at that address with any more questions you may have.

(Credits: This page was originally written by Joy Ike, a terrific, Philadelphia-based, singer and song writer. I copied and pasted it, then edited it to reflect a few differences in how we do things and to put it more in my “voice,” but the bulk of the labor was hers. It appears here with her kind permission.)