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Setting up your space for a house concert

Thanks for giving the gift of music to your community, friends, and family! We’re excited to help make your event the talk of the town and find that a few key elements can help make all the difference.

To create the “listening environment” signature of our best shows, we find it important to have all seating directed toward the “stage.” First step is to gather your chairs (maybe even pillows, back jacks, or benches), and arrange seating, with tallest chairs in back, towards the stage area of your room. If you need more seating, contact a rental service or ask guests to bring some folding or lawn chairs. If you expect guests to dine directly before or after the show, arrange your tables and chairs pointing towards the “stage.” This will create a center point and minimize distractions for everyone.

It is helpful to have an area near the entrance for donations, and enlisting a “door person” is often easier and more effective than remembering to remind everyone at some point during the concert. Another spot, away from the “stage” but centrally located where people will be mingling and enjoying food or drink is ideal for our “merch table” - CDs, mailing list, etc.

A small table or chair on stage for our amp and another for our water, Dan’s harmonicas, and other items we’ll need while performing is also helpful. We generally play standing, though we may occasionally choose to sit if the room feels more conducive to us being low and close. If we do sit, two armless chairs, or low stools are preferred.

Acoustics are always better indoors and we much prefer connecting with an audience in a comfortable, cozy room than fighting the elements (over 85 degrees F or under 65 F, rain/drizzle/mist/snow, wind, biting bugs, loud barking dogs, etc). However, for house concerts, private events such as weddings, and festivals of course, we will consider the idea of an outdoor show. If we do plan an outdoor event, it’s best to arrange a plan B that is indoors in case the weather doesn’t cooperate. Cool temperatures can dramatically decrease the quality of our performance due to stiff fingers, and cold, unresponsive instruments. Precipitation is also a big concern for our wooden instruments and we will not venture outdoors with them if there is any chance of them getting wet. Wind effects the sound in our mics and can make it hard for Laurel to literally keep her bow on the strings at times. Biting bugs also make it hard for us to stay focused and enjoy making music. Despite repellant, poor Laurel once sustained 42 mosquito bites after a short festival set in rural Manitoba. The audience and the bugs loved her, but she was very uncomfortable for many days afterwards.

If you have any questions not covered here, please drop us a note!


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