“What is a house concert?” has become the question we are now asked daily since we took on the project of creating and offering Música Del Río, “music of the river” in Atascadero, California.
House concerts are an offering to the community based upon a love for acoustic music when experienced as close to the source as possible. Yes, this means that 40-60 friends, old and new, are invited into our living room to share an evening with like-minded music lovers who have come to help blur the line between performer and audience. House concerts are not a spectator sport; we are all just fellow travelers.
As with any gathering in our home, we want friends to have time to make new friends. Usually those new friends include the musicians who have come to share their craft that evening. There is almost always time for a little more socializing before the show starts, during intermission and after the close of the concert.
This is not a commercial venue or a commercial venture. The ticket price is a voluntary donation with 100% of the proceeds going directly to the musicians who perform on any given night. Because this is not a commercial venture, who we present and how often we present is completely about what music we really want to have in our living room.
Some hosts present at least one concert a month or every other month. Others just wait for the right artist to come along; therefore the schedule is always open for discussion. In the west, many presenters do not schedule concerts during the summer because there are so many music festivals and active outdoor venues. In the northeast, the opposite is often the case in order to take advantage of the best weather.
There are a few local and regional house concerts nearby. Links to these and others along with smaller commercial venues can be found on the More Music page on this site. There may be a few others locally that are so private they are only known to 30 or 40 regular attendees. A few outdoor house concerts like Shady Grove or Inglish Fest take place only once a year.
On or near the Hwy 101 corridor there are at least 35 communities where house concerts are hosted on a regular basis. Generally there is a house concert within a 2 or 3-hour drive of anyplace in California. These 35 hosts and many of the over 350 others throughout the United States regularly keep in touch to help musicians better utilize their time on the road. They are also helping house concerts grow as a way to make the presentation of live acoustic music an affordable part of more people's lives. We are all in this together and glad that we are.