Frequently Asked Questions:
How can performers inquire about playing a house concert? We are not actively seeking artists to play at our house concerts at this time. We only host about ten of these shows a year, and we typically contact artists from a “wish list” we’ve been pursuing for some time.
“I know this band that would be great playing at your place; I’ll put them in touch with you…” We don’t invite bands to play at your house- please don’t (however well intentioned), invite them to play at ours. There are lots of talented artists out there; we get several email requests a week and only host 10 or 12 shows a year, so we are pretty overwhelmed with options for who might play here. We may or may not share your level of enthusiasm for the artist that you are pitching; different strokes for different folks. We have occasionally encountered awkward (for all concerned) situations where we’ve had to retract an invitation that we didn’t make. If, however, anyone wants to present an artist or band at their own home, we’ll be happy to offer any help/advice and will gladly list the show on our website/email list.
Are these shows open to the public? They are private, invitation-only events. To get an invitation, contact us using our mailing list/contact page. Assuming space is available, we’ll send you an invitation. We request that everyone who plans on attending RSVP via email so we can get a handle on the number of people in the room (we typically max out at around 80 reservations).
How are invitations sent out? We almost always send out an email invitation to our entire mailing list (around 900 addresses) about a month in advance of a house concert. Occasionally, we will max out on reservations for a show (room capacity is around 80) just from replies to a limited pre-vite to our long-time friends/supporters and fans of the particular artist we’re presenting. When you sign up for our email list, we’ll explain how you can be included in the early round of invitations if/when one of your favorite artists plays here.
How do I get there? The house is near the Clayton/University City border. When you email that you’ll be attending, we’ll reply with a set of detailed directions and instructions on where to park.
What does “suggested donation” mean? We are not a business. We don’t sell anything. We are music lovers who provide a place where like-minded people can hear quality music acts in a quiet, intimate setting and traveling musicians can get compensated for performing. It’s not required, but if anyone cares to contribute more than the asking amount, it all goes straight to the artist (thanks to those who have done this in the past). Every penny of this donated money goes to the performers.
How can I get tickets? There are no actual tickets (once again, we don’t sell anything)…we keep a list of people who have confirmed a reservation at the door. We encourage people to donate in advance- we find that this cuts down on the number of no-shows and allows us to focus more on music and friends and less on counting money on the night of a show.
Our email invitations include instructions on how to make the suggested donation by check or by using paypal. As always, 100% of the money goes to the musicians.
Is there seating for all of the guests? We have seats/couches/barstools to accommodate about 50 of the 80 guests. Some people like to show up early (typically: doors 7 PM/show 8PM) to stake out a seat. We bring a few folding chairs out right before show time and a few people sit on cushions on the floor up close. Lots of people prefer to stand, especially when their favorite band is rocking their world. All-in-all, we find that people find themselves where they’re most comfortable.
What can I bring? We start off with a couple of cases of beer and soft drinks, but more is certainly welcome. Beyond that, feel free to bring whatever you care to add to the pot-luck food/drink spread. People have brought everything from chips & salsa to homemade spring rolls to White Castle burgers to brownies and everything in between. We feed the performers too, so don’t be shy. We always have plenty of coolers and ice available. You can also bring a little money to buy stuff from the bands; they usually sell (and sign) CDs, T-shirts, etc.
Can I take pictures? So far, none of the musicians have objected. As long as you’re considerate and relatively inconspicuous about it, feel free to take pictures. Also, we appreciate people emailing us any good digital shots they get.
How did you start doing this? In July of 2005, Caitlin Cary and Thad Cockrell (and band) were in Wisconsin and (on five days’ notice) were looking for a St. Louis gig on a Sunday night on their way back home to Nashville. They couldn’t find a local club that would book a show on such short notice, but since their CD was our current favorite at the time, we offered up our family room (and free lodging) and the band accepted our modest offer. Not really knowing what we were doing, we hastily emailed a bunch of our friends, borrowed John’s PA system and the gig was on. About forty people showed up and the music was amazing. After that, we found that there was plenty of interest in these house concerts (from people wanting to attend as well as bands who want to play), so we’ve been hosting them on a monthly basis ever since. Little-by-little, we’ve fine-tuned some of the details, but that first magical evening ranks among our favorite of all of the shows we’ve hosted.
Are the neighbors OK with these house concerts? So far, so good. Sometimes they actually attend. The music usually can’t be heard from outside and it’s all over at a decent hour. We go out of our way to let our neighbors know when we’re having a show. We also instruct our guests where to park and encourage them to be respectful.