How and why house concerts work for local musicians

House concert
Recent Anchorage house concert that included this duo—Yngvil Vatn Guttu on guitar and Elena Lukina on violin. They “opened” for Dam Mac Jazz, the featured artists for the evening in a private home near the U-Med District. Not pictured: A receptive audience, sipping wine while listening, just feet away from the performers. Photo by Shipe Shots Photography.

House concerts are not a new phenomena, but in this era of DIY ambition, they are pulsing back as a venue that offers both musician and audience something different. During the Spenard Jazz Festival (May 20-June 5), organizers have packed a fistful of house concerts into the line up, alongside public venues. And I heard from Laura Koenig of the Anchorage

another house concert
A house concert hosted by the Anchorage Festival of Music. The video excerpt is baritone Curt Olds and soprano Kate Egan performing “Mr. Roosevelt, Won’t You Please Run Again?” from 1939. Click the link at right to sample the 3-minute video. (Image courtesy of Laura Koenig)

Festival of Music. She said they’ve been hosting house concerts for two decades, having perfected the perfect mix of tasty receptions and even educational components, like adding a history professor to speak at their November 2016 Campaign Classics event.

On the next Hometown Alaska, we’ll speak with both musicians and hosts to find out what the draw is, and what the challenges and surprises are.

Whether you’ve hosted, performed or just attended a house concert, join our conversation. For musicians: Is performing this close to your audience intimidating or exhilarating? For hosts: What are the headaches and what are the rewards? For the audience: How is this different from a larger-venue concert? Do you go to both, but for different reasons?

And finally, how does this economic model work for musicians? Is it another example of Chris Anderson’s “The Long Tail: Selling Less of More,” where a musician or a writer does not need a blockbuster book or movie or record deal to survive, but instead, finds sustainability in a smaller but very loyal audience?

And as a special treat, we plan for some live music in the studio! So join us on the next Hometown Alaska.

LISTEN HERE

HOST: Kathleen McCoy

GUESTS:

  • Ingvil Vatn Guttu, musician, director Spenard Jazzfest
  • Elena Lukina, violinist
  • Tim Nixon, longtime house concert host
  • Jae Shin, newer house concert host (by phone)
  • Laura Koenig, Anchorage Festival of Music (by phone)
  • Additional hosts and musicians (by phone)

LINKS:


PARTICIPATE:

  • Call 550-8433 (Anchorage) or 1-888-353-5752  (statewide) during the live broadcast (2:00 – 3:00pm)
  • Send email to hometown@alaskapublic.org before, during or after the live broadcast (e-mails may be read on air) hometown@alaskapublic.org
  • Post your comment or question below (comments may be read on air)