HOUSE SHOW GUIDE
House shows are one of our favorite things to do: Hang out with people, share music, and have an all around fun time together! This experience can be staged in living rooms, backyards, basements, coffee shops, wineries, condos, apartments, art studios, photo studios, co-working spaces, or any other creative place you have access to.
THE HOUSE | VENUE
The only requirement is that you as the host has legal access to the space ;) and that there is enough room for 20-30 people to sit for the duration of the concert. While the pre and post show mingling can and will filter into other parts of the home or venue, we ask that the performance area is large enough to hold all attendees. We've found that sitting around tables or standing at bars isn't quite the atmosphere we are excited to create (Please remember this is not a party, its a concert). But don't worry, there is no need to have enough chairs for everyone; floor seating is just fine, or even a blanket on the grass.
In a perfect world, every day would be the weekend, and then we could do every house concert on the weekend; however, Friday and Saturday only account for about 28% of the week but we play shows nearly every night! This means that your concert will, of course, have a 72% chance of falling on a school night.
But don’t despair! While weekend shows can certainly be a lot of fun, we’ve had some of our best shows on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The bottom line is that if you have a good group of people, you can’t stop the fun from happening, no matter the day. And this is not a particularly lengthy event; the time from guest arrival until music is done is typically only about two hours (more on this later), making this the perfect event for a unique weekday evening get-together. Thanks in advance for being flexible and we’ll do our best to be flexible!
To create the best possible scenario for a successful show, we ask that you have a minimum of 20-30 adults in attendance. There are two reasons we ask you have this minimum number of people at the show:
- Fewer than 20 people at the concert doesn’t feel like the exciting event it should be; and
- In our donation-based concert model, 20 or more adults contributing to donations and purchasing merchandise is what starts making it a financially viable night for us.
In our experience, making sure there is a minimum of 20 people there usually means the host will need to invite a good deal more than 20. The typical scenario seems to be that about half of those invited tend to actually come to the event.
So, invite double the number of people you’d like to have at the concert. If you’re aiming for 20, invite 40; and so on.
If you aren’t sure you’ll be able to get 20 adults to come on your own, you might consider “co-hosting” the show with a friend who also has a group of people to invite to increase your overall attendance.
If your space can hold more people and you want to have more, then great – the more the merrier! If you have an idea for something bigger, we absolutely can do it, and we’re eager to hear about what you have in mind. We’ve done shows at clubs, bars, schools, churches, creative spaces, and now houses – and we have loved every one of them.
Invite a bunch of your friends! We will provide you with some precise language that we’ll need you to include in your invitations; but besides that, we want you to have fun telling your friends why you want them to come to the awesome event you’re hosting. The language we’ll send you to use the invitations will read something like this:
“This is a donation based concert. Please come prepared to make a donation to the band at the conclusion of the show.”
We do not specify a suggested donation amount for our house concerts. The reasons for this are two-fold:
- In our experience, we do better financially at shows where people can donate what they are moved to in the moment without any previous expectations.
- Perhaps more important, if you have a friend who is cash poor but a lover of music, it’s important to us that they be able to enjoy the evening without feeling any pressure. While it is true that this is how we make our living, sharing music with people is the most important thing.
Occasionally, we have hosts who prefer not to ask their guests for donations and prefer instead to pay an upfront guarantee for the show. Either way is fine! If this approach interests you, please let us know and we’ll discuss the fee structure for scheduling a non-donation show.
Other invitation items: You may want to let your guests know you’ll have drinks and snacks for them if that will be the case; or perhaps you’d like to ask everyone to bring something to share. This is entirely up to you, and is not a requirement for hosting a house concert.
RSVP: Please be sure to ask your guests to RSVP in your invitation. We’ve discovered that when guests are asked to RSVP, there is a much better turn-out rate as opposed to a “come by if you can” approach.
- THE PRAMS will arrive two hours before guests are scheduled to start arriving in order to set up our equipment and do a soundcheck.
- Guests arrive at the time you and THE PRAMS have decided together that the event will begin. Shows are standardly in the evening, but it could also be afternoon if it is a weekend. As guests arrive, we all hang out and mingle for about an hour.
- Then, after an hour of pre-concert hanging out, everyone gathers in the performance space, people find their seats, the host (that's you!) gives a brief introduction, and then we perform for about an hour.
- As soon as we’ve played the last note of the concert, you get up in front with a vase, basket or box of some kind to make the donation announcement. It should go something like this:
"Thank you for all coming tonight. I hope you enjoyed the concert as much as I did. I want to remind you that this is a donation-based concert. Your donations will all directly benefit our artists, and will show them our appreciation for this amazing experience they brought us tonight. I’m going to leave this vessel right here and encourage you to give generously. Thanks again!”
- After that, we hang out some more until the guests start heading home!
*A note on the donations
It’s really important to us that we’re able to make it so these concerts are possible for anyone to host, and the way we do that is by doing the shows on a donation basis. But since the donations are how we earn our living and pay our expenses while we are on tour, it’s obviously super important that we have our host’s full enthusiasm behind that aspect of the event.
Jesse is really good at coaching the hosts on their donation speech, and he will make a point of going over this with you as we’re getting set up on the day of the concert. We’ll even give you a cheat sheet of things to say in case you get nervous and forget in the moment.
We’ve discovered that the success of the donations has a direct relationship to the enthusiasm of the speech the host gives and the conclusion of the concert.
We’ve also discovered that the guests are always really receptive and super happy to be a part of supporting the unique and memorable event they’ve just experienced.
*A note on the flow of the event, and an example schedule
We’ve found that it’s really important that the preshow mingling time is really right about an hour. If it’s shorter than an hour, then people don’t have enough time to get comfortable; and if it's longer than an hour, then the focus of the event starts to get fuzzy.
It’s one of the most fun nights of the year to be sure, but it’s important to remember that fundamentally this isn’t a party, it’s a concert.
Let’s say you want the performance to start at 7:30. In that example, here’s how the schedule would go:
4:30 we arrive and do our setup
6:30 guests arrive
7:30 concert begins
8:30 concert ends
And then of course we can all hang out afterward for as long as you’d like!..and that’s how we organize an awesome house concert!
All of these details from the invitations, to the set up, to the flow of the event serve the singular goal we have for this event:
To partner with you to create a truly unique and special night in the form of an intimate concert experience, where unforgettable memories and meaningful connections with your community are made through music.
It’s going to be awesome.