Are you interested in hosting a Dark Dining Room house concert in your living room, dining room, studio, gallery, or other space? It’s okay if you’ve never hosted a house concert before. We’ll work together to make sure it’s a great experience for all. Here are some frequently asked questions:
How many guests should I have?
Well, that depends. We have setup shows for as few as 10 people and as many as 45. The small number of guests is ideal because it keeps the shows intimate. It allows people to get to know each other and get to know the artists performing.
Who do I invite?
This is a nice opportunity to invite your close friends and family, but also nice to invite casual acquaintances or people you might not know that well. A co-worker? A neighbor? Since everyone gets to mingle a bit before and after the performances, it’s a really nice unforgettable shared experience that people can bond over. We’ve met some of our closest friends through doing these types of shows.
What do I need to have for guests?
Light snacks and beverages are always appreciated by the guests and performers alike. A lot of past shows have been BYOB which works out great too.
Does it have to be on a weekend?
It depends on your neighbors, but no! These shows can happen during the week. Especially if it’s a dinner party type of thing. During the week is actually perfect for touring artists. Such a relief to find friendly welcoming faces on a Wednesday rather than a cranky old bartender at a run down music venue.
How should I setup the room?
We can definitely help with that once we get there. We’ve done dozens of these shows, so we’re happy to lend some advice. Couches, folding chairs, and floor pillows are great. If you can, setup the room with rows of chairs. The performance area should be clearly defined somehow. Usually, we like to put a lamp or two up near the performers and keep all the other lights dim or turned off— maybe a candle or two. This helps the audience focus on the performance. Again, we’re going for low key and intimate.
Will it be loud?
No. We have a small P/A system to balance out the vocals along with the instruments, but we generally like to keep things pretty quiet. We try to create a listening atmosphere. Because everyone is so close, we don’t have to try to be loud. That’s the great thing.
How do the performers get compensated?
A mentioned suggested donation of $10-20 per person is a really nice thing for the performers. It helps us do what we do and helps with travel expenses and such. We can put a little sign on a jar, pass around a hat, and/or you can mention it when you welcome your guests. Reminding your guests beforehand to bring some cash with them is a good idea, but we also have a PayPal or Square card reader for iPhones if people want to donate that way.
How long are the shows?
Most of the time, we like to do sets of 35 minutes each with a 15-20 minute break in between for people to use the bathroom, grab a drink and/or food, etc. We really try and encourage that people sit and pay attention while the performers are doing their thing since there’s nice ‘mingle’ time before and after the show (and during the breaks).
Would any of the performers be interested in staying over?
Probably! Especially if the performers are touring. It’s always nice to save some money on a motel room. A guest room, futon, or even floor space is good sometimes. It’s tight out there, money-wise, so it’s much appreciated.
This sounds great. How can I setup a show?
Email Matt and/or Ethan at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us a little about the space you have in mind. Heck, send us a cellphone picture of your space too. We’ll work with you to figure out all the logistics. We can have a Skype call to talk through all the details. It’s easy and fun and unique.