[OutVoice] OutVoice Digest, Vol 119, Issue 4

Ed Mannix edmannix at mindspring.com
Tue Sep 15 17:54:40 EDT 2015

Hi Steve:

It's exciting to know you may host house concerts in Portland. Artists
admire you for your many years of supporting them.

Having hosted many house concerts, my experiences covered the gamut of
possibilities and outcomes. Nothing is predictable. But that was in
Brooklyn, and that location presented too many minuses with regards to
garnering audiences. Regardless, everyone I hosted was fantastic. I
loved it all.

Now that I live in Helena, Montana, I think getting an audience may be
more possible - and the same for you in Portland. 

Here are key elements I consider.

*	Assure the artist(s) you will make every effort to fill the
house, but don't make promises or offer a financial guarantee - unless
you are prepared to pay it. 
*	Offer artists easy things like parking, housing, and meals as a
value incentive.
*	Urge the artists to tap into their own network to help with PR.
Even artists from far away have family and friends who likely know
someone who knows someone. 
*	Two acts may widen the interest.  Gender, age, style, etc. The
combinations are endless. Of course a single act with a good following
is enough. 
*	Encourage each artist to know about the other artist(s), and ask
them to include the other act in their PR, etc. (I hate to think of the
times an artist didn't, and with  his/her friends sat outside,
completely 	ignoring the other act and depleting the totality of the
audience vibe. It felt like separate occasions). 
*	One of the artists should have an extant body of work that can
be referenced on the Web and act as an initial hook for your PR. 
*	Make the door a "Suggested Donation" and leave it near the
entrance. That way no one feels excluded due to finances or an
unwillingness to pay for artists unknown to them in advance. I think $10
is the most you can expect, and if one artist genuinely is a headliner,
they get the door since they are the draw. 
*	Have a merchandise table, and staff it with a friend so the
artists are free to chat and give out autographs. Many touring artists
travel with a companion who usually does this but give them a rest. They
are a guest in your home.
*	Food and drink are nice, and if finances are constrained you can
suggest a separate donation on the honor system at the serving table. 
*	Have some seating for those who cannot stand or sit on the
*	Modest amplification and microphones are usually helpful. They
solve acoustic issues in a crooked space plus some artists need the
security blanket-barrier of a microphone between them and the audience.
It also simplifies adding in CD tracks, added instruments with variable
dynamics, etc. Of course, it can be done without any electronics. It
will have a different vibe -- and it's all good. 

BTW, if anyone is touring and has gigs at UM-Missoula and MSU-Bozeman,
you'll have to be pass through Helena. Schedule a house concert. When I
moved here, I bought a Kurzweil SP4-8 keyboard that's waiting for you to
use. Wish I could play it!

Regards to all. I do try to keep up with your work and think of you


ed at edmannix.com

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