Wondering if your house, apartment, garage, office, gallery etc. would be perfect for a Dark Dining Room show? It would.
We have organized these shows for 15 people in a garage in Santa Fe, New Mexico and 100 people in a museum in Holyoke, Massachusetts. We’ve done a Dark Dining Room show inside an infographics company’s office in Seattle and a small apartment in Easthampton, MA. Let’s collaborate to make it happen in your space.
Most folks have never hosted a concert in their space before. We make it easy. We have chairs, a P/A system, and a built-in ticketing system to keep things organized. Almost all of our shows are setup to be invite-only.
Tips for hosting a Dark Dining Room show
No matter what size space you have, we’ll work together to make sure it’s a great experience for all. This generally involves an in-person meeting or a phone call at least a few weeks before the show to talk it out.
Here are some common things that most hosts like to ask:
Do I have enough space? 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.
Do I need to have food and drinks for the guests?
Light snacks and beverages are always appreciated by the guests and performers alike, but certainly not expected! A lot of past shows have been BYOB which works out great too. It’s your choice as the host, and we can discuss beforehand when we send out the invites.
Does it have to be on a weekend?
It depends on your neighbors, but no! These shows can happen during the week. 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?
It depends. Most of the time, we use Eventbrite. With this system, attendees reserve their ‘ticket’ and have a chance to donate-as-they-like, usually somewhere between $10-25. The performers get 100% of that, minus the transaction fees that Eventbrite charges.
We could also do a tip jar with a mentioned suggested donation of $10-25 per person. Whether it’s a pre-sale or a tip jar, reminding your guests beforehand to bring some cash with them is a good idea. Performers also usually have merchandise to buy.
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. What’s your guest bed situation?
This sounds great. How can I setup a show?
Email Matthew Larsen 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/FaceTime/Messenger call to talk through all the details. It’s easy and fun and unique each time.