Concept of House Concerts
The Concept of House Concerts is Growing Nationally
by Palmer Moore, Organizer – Ohio Fingerstyle Guitar Club
The late great guitarist/producer and hero of our guitar club, Chet Atkins, once joked as he sang, "Nobody wants you when you just play guitar." Well, that wasn't entirely the truth in Chet's case as he could fill most theaters when he performed, however few instrumental guitarists have, since – no matter how good they are. America, as a whole, isn't impressed to the point of filling venues with intellect and talent. Yet, they fill 100,000 seat sports arenas to hear a lot of noise!
God bless the success of the mega stars like The Stones, Taylor Swift, Journey, etc. But, they have a huge network of producers, record companies, large venues, deep pocket investors and agents that keep that incredible "cash cow" rolling. For the appreciation of talent? I highly doubt it.
So, what happens to young (and, old) artists that are born with superior natural musical talent and an urge to be consumed by that music until they have honed that irrepressible frenzy into a world class talent? And, what about those of us that love to listen to something other than all that noise? Those of us that have a "slightly above below average" appreciation of music that could possibly include an understanding between notes, styles, feeling, attack, talent and don't really care that our favorite performers play with all their clothes on. Should we simply wait until the entertainment "industry/machine" brings your favorites to a "bar near you?" I'm not waiting – how about you?
Thus, the recent growth of Average Joe music aficionados around America that open their homes to "starving artists" and host a House Concert for up to 20 or more eager music lovers that are, also, starving for world class music you just will not find on TV, radio, Sirius, or in venues of any decent size. They typically give all the donations received from the attendees to the performers in an effort to allow them to survive outside the entertainment "machine." And, with an informal network surfacing among the hosts of House Concerts these performers are actually starting to earn an "above minimum wage." These quaint venues also give the audience an up close and personal connection with a performer – at volumes that are not harmful to the ear drums – and, they get a chance to chat with the performers.
The McConnell Arts Center in Worthington, Ohio is one of the first arts complexes in the nation to embrace this "take no cut/let's keep a starving artist alive" concept as part of their community vision. With certain performers, they are actually keeping an entire genre of music alive, as well.
There is a rather nice discussion of House Concerts on Wikipedia (click to read)