These are exciting times. Underneath the crumbling architecture of modern touring, artists continue to innovate to get their music heard, and to get their bills paid. DinnerAndSong is a new house concert format that creates opportunities for easy-to-plan, easy-to-play concerts to fill the most challenging nights on our touring schedules - weeknights.
House concerts aren’t new, but they’ve become critical to the livelihood of the modern troubadour and small touring acts. Usually, it’s a pot-luck dinner, 2 sets of music, and a great time for all. The artist gets a meal and a pillow, a captive audience, and $10-20 donation per guest.
The challenge is that 80% of these concerts typically happen on Saturday nights. House concert presenters find it easier to clean up, set up, and get an audience to show up on weekends. Two other factors reinforce the weekend appeal:
1. the format - it’s a 2-3 hour event, and
2. the notion that house concerts have to be attended by 20-50 people to be worthwhile.
If you love to play house concerts, what do you do on the other six nights of the week?
The DinnerAndSong (DNS) Advantage
• What if a house concert took no more effort than hosting a dinner party?
• What if the format allowed even a small audience to be fun and worthwhile for the artist?
For the DNS host, there’s no renting of chairs, setting them up in neat little rows. Usually no sound system, none of the stress of having a big crowd in your home. A couple of pizzas, a salad, and 8-12 guests is all you need. After the 30-minute dinner* with the artist, everyone just gathers around the comfy living room and the performer plays a 40-minute set. The whole event is over in less than 90 minutes.
For artists, it’s important to consider what house concerts do, besides allowing an artist to play for an attentive crowd and get paid. Let’s also assign a conservative dollar value to these benefits.
• $70 Free place to stay
• $10 Free food
• $20 Intangibles: an easy set, easier set up, new fans/friends, opportunity to create more shows. There are all kinds of benefits to getting to know people in the house concert world. Sometimes, they even take you tanking.
For a touring artist, it’s safe to say there’s at least $100 in value before you even count donations and merch sales. Now, let’s say you have 8 people, at $10 per person, and sell 5 CDs at $10. That’s another $130.
So, $230 on a weeknight, in a town where you possibly only had one fan. Not a huge night, but certainly a win if your option was to play a cafe or nothing at all. What if you had an ambitious host who pulled in a few more people?
DinnerAndSong website: http://www.dinnerandsong.com/