What Are Your Thoughts on House Shows?

Brooke Annibale. Pittsburgh, PA. 
THE QUESTION: I was wondering if you’ve done many house shows in the region and how your experiences have been. Ever get any strangers requesting house shows that seem shady? Or have most of them been with people you know? Or established “house show houses.” Just really looking for any advice in this area that you may be willing to offer. Maybe you’ve done a blog about it that i’ve missed you could just pass on.

THE ANSWER: Yea, check out this Grassrootsy blog specifically on house shows:House Shows – Small Crowd, Big Return“. It’s got alot of helpful information!

Personally speaking, I do alot of house shows. I do them especially during seasons when  i don’t have time to promote official shows. I actually havent done any shady house shows before. In fact, they’ve always been really profitable and little or no work at all to put together.  In general, most of my house shows come through people who have been to shows in the past or through friends of friends.

To get into the practice of doing house shows, heres’ what you can do:

1. Pitch the Idea to Your Fans. Tweet, post a status update or, put a little paragraph in your newsletter(s)telling your fans that you’re starting to take on more house shows. Since we’re in the heat of the summer, pitch it as the perfect idea for a weekend barbeque, a summer evening get-together for friends, a house party, or a potluck.

2. Consider Charging a Fee. When pitching yourself for house shows, negotiate your fee with the host. I think you should decide what you think is best. Maybe a fixed fee or a donation bucket for attendees to contribute to. Keep in mind that statistically, musicians make more $ at house shows than at gigs. It’s just a crazy fact that has alot to do with the intimacy and one-on-one interaction with guests. More on this here.

3. Draw Up a Contract. If you think that someone is questionable or that you’re about to dive into a shady house show experience, here are your options.

  • Run! Don’t do the show if you don’t feel comfortable about it.
  • Give it a try; see what happens. The great thing about house shows is that you’re not really losing all that much…except some time.
  • Draw up a simple contract and have them sign and give it to you when you arrive at their place. Tell them not to stress over the contract but that its something you have to do since its not an official venue. More on creating contracts/invoices here.

Good luck!

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One Comment on “What Are Your Thoughts on House Shows?”

  1. […] Take those house shows seriously House shows will make you solid fans and they will also give you an intimate venue where you don’t have to split the cover with a doorman. Read this post for more details: What Are Your Thoughts on House Shows? […]

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