What Is A House Concert?

What is a House Concert? 

A house concert is exactly what the name says: a concert in someone’s house. But it could also be in a backyard or community center. It is a concert outside of a traditional music venue.

Key elements about house concerts:

• There is no charge for tickets. We ask for donations only.

• It is not a party with a background musician, but a true listening event meant to support the artist – both with attention and income/expenses.

• It does not require a large fancy home or complex event planning; just a willingness to support live music by providing both a location and inviting people to attend.

  • It does not cost much (or anything) to put on. Some hosts provide snacks and drinks.
  • It is a unique, amazing, fun, and simple event.

How it works: 

A host opens their home to an artist as a performance venue (and possibly a place to spend the night if the artist is traveling). The host and friends promote the show by inviting family, friends, and others passionate about music. The artist typically will promote their show as well.

An artist like myself will perform for an hour plus – often two sets with a short break for mingling and merchandise. During the break, the artist might talk with attendees about his or her music and be able to sell CD’s, t-shirts, or other merchandise. The host will typically act as the MC for the night by asking attendees for a donation for the artist. Hint: As the artist, I might ask for donations but I would rather focus on my performance and let the host ask for donations. It sounds less needy. 😉

Why donations?

It is simpler. Donations ensure the “party” is not viewed as a business. This protects the host as charging a ticket price could run you afoul of commerce laws. Typically, the donation system works well. The host can collect donations by reservation prior to the event or at the door. The host includes on the invite and announces during the show, something like, “Hey everyone. Tom is working hard and giving us great entertainment value. We are asking for a donation of $20 per person – more if you can, less if you can’t.” It’s simple, direct, and low-pressure.


Typically, I work with my hosts closely to help them with things like invitations and RSVPs (Evites and Facebook events work really well!) Other than that, a few electrical outlets and space for people to sit or stand is all you need. A small living room can pretty easily house 20 people. Guest can also bring folding chairs. When the weather is nice, a backyard works GREAT!


This info is simply a guideline… I’d love to help you plan a house concert that is both easy on you and is a night your friends will remember!

If you’re interested in hosting, email me at tom@tomcottar.org and let’s chat. No obligation…but I bet we can create a great experience for you and your friends!

See you soon!


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