Don't go to
Home Depot for this next project. Just plain “home” probably has
everything you need. If not, ask a friend if you can borrow a living
room. If you're a musician, playing a concert in your OWN home might
be the most grassroots thing you can do. Even more rootsy than
taking your show on the road, or to the streets.
Acousticroof's own roots are firmly planted in a house concert
experience several years ago, when Jill Barber and Rose Cousins
played a show like this in Halifax. Two of the guests that warm
August night went on to found the website you are looking at today.
Just use the
space you have, and try it with neighbours and friends. As few as 10
people can make a great audience. Set a date, (and a price!) and
promote it well. Maybe ask each person to bring a friend. Get a
commitment on attendance. When folks arrive, you'll be rather busy,
so have a friend collect for you. Besides, we know it may make you
uncomfortable to pass the hat. Always remember, this is your
performance, and probably your flat, house or apartment so this time
you get to set all the rules. Audiences can come equipped with a
snack to share, a cushion, and extra money to purchase your CD after
the show. Keep it a comfortable length, maybe two 30 minute sets (or
40 minutes, hey, you're a touring artist – you have the material!)
with a 20 minute break.
neighbours are tolerant, and the weather cooperative, you could have
this show on your deck or patio. (Don't put too many people on the
deck! Perhaps play from there and let people gather around inside,
out on the grass or near the doorway.)
In a perfect
world, acousticroof would be rolling in hosts looking for acts to
play in their homes, community halls or coffee houses.... but if
you're already a musician you know that things take time. The truth
is, running acousticroof has become quite an education process.
There are lots of people – including fans of every kind of music –
who have never even HEARD of a house concert, even though in many
locales they are quite the norm. Especially if you're just starting
out, you need to find ways to bring music to your friends and
neighbours, to let them know that this is NOT your hobby...that
playing music is how you want to earn your living. This is the real
“roots” - building audiences that connect with you and then watch
post your show on acousticroof.ca or not (posting venues and listing
shows is free) we are behind you. (You can profile and post a venue
for a single show, and then ask us to remove your posting
afterwards...) You could also start a Facebook group for your show,
post notices, use MySpace to send bulletins, tell your mailman, or
your favourite auntie. For lots of great advice on hosting a
concert, click on Resources. Or under Archive, visit the past
newsletters, each of which contains tips for hosts, artists and
audiences. Watch the site for notices of “coffee chats” where we
will be happy to talk to you and relate our own hosting experiences.
And above all, get up and perform!
Let us know
about your show!