I’ve been thinking a lot about finding a sense of community in big cities, where interests can easily be spread 1,000 different ways.
House concerts are definitely a way to gain a feeling of community with fellow music lovers in your area. Early last year I was completely unaware that house concerts existed, but I had the good fortune of making a friend who introduced me to them.
It’s as simple as it sounds: it’s a concert in your home. (Or if not your home, then a friend’s or neighbor’s.) You invite a musician to come to your home (ConcertsInYourHome.com is a great resource that helps hosts find musicians and vice versa. Hosts sign up for free!). You also invite as many of your nearest and dearest as you can muster, and everyone chips in $10/$15/$20/other amount to pay the artist for their valuable time and talent.
You’ll find that attending a house concert is a different experience than most other shows you would attend. The entire basis of a house concert revolves around a feeling of community. The hosts share their home, the artist shares their craft, and everyone enjoys each others’ company. You don’t have the distraction of bar noise, because everyone is focused on enjoying the music. You get to know the artist a little better, because you are sharing appetizers, beer, and conversation during breaks. The artist also opens up during the show more than at a traditional venues by sharing the stories behind the songs.
There is also something magical about the proximity to the artist. You are so close to him or her. The music seems to reverberate through your soul. I’ve cried during most of the house shows I’ve attended, because the music touched those tender parts of my heart and I just couldn’t help myself. It’s that intimate feeling that makes me want to attend and host more house shows! How could I not when the music forces me to be vulnerable and to really FEEL the music?
I feel honored to have heard so many musicians that I know I wouldn’t have learned about if I hadn’t heard them at a house concert. Really talented artists: Allie Farris, Joe Crookston, Jeff Conley, Paul Sprawl, Heather Pierson, Jesse Terry, and Nikki Talley. I feel inspired when I realize that each of them is living their respective dreams, and often living a very hard life to share their art and bring joy to people (i.e. they are living daringly and inspiring others to do the same!). I’m so glad to welcome their wonderful songs to my music collection, and I can’t wait to see them again the next time they come through town.
I heartily encourage music lovers to look into attending and hosting house shows. House concerts occur in even the smallest of towns (Daryl W. Dasher has been known to play in Paulding, OH!)! If you want to attend shows, but no one is hosting, host one! The logistics are pretty simple, and you will be providing a great service to your community by bringing people together. You’ll also be doing a service for artists traveling near your area by supporting their art.
So get your friends together and enjoy some fantastic music! You don’t even have to leave home!