I'VE NEVER BEEN TO A HOUSE CONCERT BEFORE. EXACTLY WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY "HOUSE CONCERT?"
Although the simple answer to this question is "a concert at our house," in truth there's a lot more to it. Do you enjoy live music in a small, intimate setting? Do you enjoy meeting new friends who also share a similar love of live music performances? Do you enjoy LISTENING to the music while it's performed, rather than having other audience members annoy you with obnoxious chatter while you're trying to pay attention to the performance? Do you enjoy meeting the performer(s) and interacting with him/her/them to not only share what you liked about their performance, but perhaps even get to know them as people? If you've answered "YES" to these questions, then attending house concerts is FOR YOU! As a matter of fact, if you'd like to watch a short video about the house concert experience, please click here....
OKAY, THAT ALL SOUNDS GOOD, BUT YOU HOLD YOUR HOUSE CONCERTS OUTSIDE IN YOUR BACKYARD. HOW DOES THAT WORK?
Yes, our events are a little bit different than most house concerts in that we hold them in our backyard rather than in our living room.
There are several different reasons for this:
We had a major landscaping project finished in our backyard in May of 2016. The yard backs up to woods, so we have evening shade and no neighbors immediately behind us (which means we can hold events with amplified sound without bothering them and their residences are far enough away from us that they aren't bothering us with any "yard noise"). The yard is now entirely fenced in, which gives us a very nice "contained" space with an entrance gate, and includes two circular patios. One is used as a stage for the performers while the second is our serving area for the free dinner we provide before each show. There are also five raised garden beds (including one semi-circle bed with flowers that serves as a backdrop behind the performers) and a very nice lawn. The lawn allows us the space for an audience of up to 50 to fit comfortably, as long as everyone brings their own lawn chairs. We also recommend that attendees bring their own sunscreen and insect repellent, but those are your own personal preference and are not required.
So the backyard lends itself perfectly to our concert settings when the weather cooperates. Our living room is much smaller than our outside space, such that when we are faced with inclement weather and have to move inside we only have room for about 30-35 people. That's another reason we try not to hold our concerts inside on a regular basis, as we need to have larger audiences in order to make these shows financially rewarding for our performers. We also serve everyone a free dinner and the backyard provides more space for up to 50 people to eat and settle in comfortably.
WAIT, YOU MENTIONED A FREE DINNER! WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH THAT AND WHAT TYPE OF FOOD DO YOU SERVE?
Yes! We serve a full dinner meal to all attendees beginning 45 minutes before the scheduled performance time. Although the menu varies slightly, we always serve catered BBQ (two different meat selections - chicken and pork or chicken and beef), veggie burgers on request for those who prefer them, coleslaw, chips, fruit salad, a dessert and non-alcoholic beverages such as bottled water, a variety of sodas, sweet ice tea and unsweetened mint tea. We do have a "BYOB" policy that encourages our attendees to bring their own "adult beverages" of choice if they desire. All we ask is that you don't share with other audience members, so that we don't risk anyone serving alcohol to minors.
SPEAKING OF MINORS, CAN I BRING THE KIDS?
We try to limit attendees to folks age 18 and up, but if you contact us and ask permission beforehand we may make exceptions if space is available. You are the best judge of the potential behavior of your children. We do seek to have a “listening room” atmosphere for the performers and other audience members, please, with conversation limited to the meal time before the show, intermission and after the show. The performance is not to be considered background music for our own conversations. So if you've got a mature 10-year-old who will sit still and enthralled throughout the show, by all means ask us about bringing him or her along with you!
WHAT ABOUT THE SOUND? WILL I BE ABLE TO HEAR OKAY?
Absolutely! We do have a sound system used at every show, even if we're indoors. Sometimes our performers bring their own or often we utilize a wonderful system provided by one of our neighbors (thanks, Tom!), but the performance is always amplified to the extent that everyone can hear. However we do NOT have the sound so loud that you'll need ear plugs!
OKAY, THIS ALL SOUNDS A BIT TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE.... WHAT'S THE CATCH?
We do ask all of our attendees to donate to our performers, as that's how they earn their wages at each show. We have a suggested minimum donation amount of $15 for solo artists and $20 if we're presenting a duo or trio. That amount is PER PERSON, not per family. You're also welcome to donate more if you can afford to do so. We do make a "pitch" about this at each show in the opening announcements, but donations are gathered simply through a "music money bucket" placed out during the event and no one "hovers" while you put your donation in the bucket to make sure you've put in the minimum amount or more. We host professional touring musicians. They're high quality performers who make their living by doing live shows, so we hope you'll reward them accordingly but also as you are financially able. We don't want to discourage anyone from attending over the amount they are able to donate. Most of our performers also bring merchandise (compact discs, t-shirts, buttons, stickers, etc.) to sell at each show, but there is no obligation to buy anything.
Other than that there's really no catch! We love live music. We delight in hosting wonderful folks who are terrific in performing live music, at our home. We also enjoy gathering friends together to share in the experience with us. Let's face it, these terrific artists wouldn't come to our house to do a show just for the two of us, so this is a "win-win-win" situation all the way around.
I'M CONVINCED. HOW DO I SIGN UP?
Step one is to get on our email list. On the CONTACT page of this website you'll find a form to fill out where you can submit your name and email address. Check the "add me to your list" box before submitting your information and we'll add you to the list. We'll even send you an email letting you know that you've been added. Then we will send out periodic emails; usually about one per month during the "off season" and then no more than one per week during the "season" of March through September. We don't take reservations for individual shows until about a month before each one, as we want to give everyone an equal chance to sign up and we also don't want to be tracking reservations for more than one show at a time. Signing up for the list does NOT mean you're committing to attend any shows. Nor does it make any reservations for you to attend any. It just puts you on the list for information as we make it available to everyone. We generally notify our email list FIRST by a few days before publicizing our events in other manners such as this website or our Facebook group. So please sign up! You can always ask to be removed later if you want.
Step two is to read the emails we send out to you once you're on the list.
Step three is to send us an email back anytime you want to reserve space at a show. That email needs to have the full name of each person in your group and your "emergency contact" phone number. (we don't plan to call you, but ask that you provide this in case we have a day-of-show change in plans because of artist illness or some similar unforeseen circumstance)
Finally step four is to receive our "confirmed reservation" email back letting you know you're on the reservation list for a particular show. That will also contain information including our address and phone number, timing (our show times vary, because sunset times vary and we have to wrap everything up by sunset as we have no lighting in the backyard), parking instructions, bringing bug spray and sunscreen, etc. You know, all the "nitty gritty dirt band" details about the show you're planning to attend. :-)
I'VE RESERVED SPACE AT A SHOW, BUT NOW SOMETHING HAS COME UP AND I CAN'T MAKE IT....
PLEASE SEND US AN EMAIL AND LET US KNOW AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! We're counting on serving dinner to a specific number of people and obviously we're paying for and preparing the yummy food. We're also planning for a specific size audience for the performers. If we're at our maximum 50 attendees on the reservation list, we may have a waiting list of sign ups who would like to take your place if you can't make it. So please be courteous and let us know! WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO REMOVE "NO SHOWS" FROM OUR EMAIL LIST and we hope you can understand our reasoning for doing so. Thank you!