Best Seat in the House: Living Room Concert Series

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What do artists like Ruth Gerson, Lucie Lynch, Jenni Alpert and Callaghan all have in common?  These lovely ladies have all played a concert or two inside of someone’s living room.  Each has donned their acoustic guitar and has sung to audiences through the United States all by the lime-light of floor lamps and comfort of sofas.  These types of performers are discovering that they can make a good living by touring their way through private residences.

From Seattle to Queens, more than three hundred homeowners have become part-time concert promoters, turning their own living rooms into a coffee house for the night.  “Hosts” as they are known, have found a way to connect personally with the music scene by opening up their living rooms to support artists trying to make a name in the music world. Most hosts have living rooms big enough to hold anywhere from twenty five to fifty people, and may or may not be open to the public.  Ticket prices for living room concerts are generally modest, around $10 dollars or so, with all the proceeds going to the musician.

Living room concerts, or house concerts as they are sometimes called, are the type of shows that are not only memorable for audience members, but artists find camaraderie of meeting and entertaining people in their homes.  They are luring in audiences of all ages who prefer the domestic intimacy of a living room as opposed to a smoky, detached late-night club environments.  Together both hosts and musicians nurture a community of music-lovers and artists in a win-win exchange.

Before you sign up to have a concert in your living room, there are some things to think about.  A gig in your living room is still considered a public performance in the eyes of the law.  Without a temporary entertainment license, there could be a liability on the host’s hands.  Rob Bookman, the counsel for the New York Nightlife Association, states, “When a homeowner charges people to enter a residence, the homeowner is running a business.  There are strict standards of safety for place with live entertainment. Most residences don’t meet those standards.”

Lock up your valuables, warn your neighbors about noise and prepare to have footprints all over the carpet, and you might just be ready to host your own living room concert!

Photo credit:  Jenni Alpert (www.jennialpert.com)

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