About House Concerts

Steve BellAs a result of recent blogs mentioning house concerts I’ve performed of late, there have been a flood of requests to my manager from folks who would like to host a concert in their home. Sadly, several people have become almost indignant when Dave has had to turn down the requests. So here is a brief note about why and when I perform house concerts, and why, in most situations, I can’t.

House concerts are wonderful and are becoming quite the trend in North America. I love to do them for many reasons: they are informal and personal –  one tends to connect more with individuals and so friendships often develop, they return live music to the home from which it springs in the first place, they serve to counter-act the cult of celebrity which has dogged music in the last century.

The only problem with house concerts is that they don’t generate enough money to sustain a musician who carries more than just his or herself.  In my case, I have family, an office and some support staff, so house concerts are generally not practical.

However, from time to time, I’ll donate a house concert to a charity for a fundraising event (usually a charity or cause I am personally connected to  in Winnipeg.) Also, from time to time, a house concert becomes part of a greater strategy for making inroads into a particular community.   These are decisions Dave and I make on an individual basis, and ones we can’t do often. Occasionally someone has a special event they want to put on, and have the means to compensate what a normal concert would generate for my work. These, of course, we can consider more readily.

So, please don’t be offended if I can’t come do a house concert at your home. The costs of touring, recording and keeping necessary support staff are higher than are generated through concert tickets and CD sales alone. Already this work has to be subsidized by donations from people who believe in it and want to see it continue. None of us are living costly lifestyles.  We make decisions based on a balance of opportunities which offer me the opportunity to share the gifts entrusted to me with  some  sense of fiscal practicality. Feel free to request, but in most cases it is not possible to accommodate.

Thanks for understanding.


Steve Bell