Archive for the ‘concert booking’ Category

h1

Seth Horan Fall Tour HQ – aka “The Bite Map”

June 16, 2012

I sent out the message to my email list that I’m booking my Fall 2012 Tour based on Bites.

The idea is that although folks all over are interested in having me perform a house concert for them, they can’t afford to spring for my gas or my plane ticket.  But if they knew that someone else not too far away was ALSO interested, and that the costs would be split up, it would work better for everyone.

So I will update this map regularly (I hope)!  If you see a pin, it means that someone in that general vicinity has expressed interest in booking me, and so the chances of booking something else within a 3 hour drive is VERY GOOD.

UPDATE (June 30): Many have mentioned that it’s not easy to figure out what “a 3 hour drive” means when looking at this map, so here it is in a nutshell:

Without zooming in, if you see two “bites” that overlap each other, those gigs are close enough to make happen.  If a “bite” is sitting by itself with nothing touching it, it is NOT a definite thing, and could easily disappear if nobody else puts a “bite” up nearby.

(Again, this is all being planned for this fall and early winter – September through early December.)

HOW TO PUT A “BITE” UP THERE:

Just send me an email at sethhoran@yahoo.com — there’s no commitment, and if nobody else in your vicinity bites, I won’t expect you to follow through.

(As well as bites, I’m also getting a lot of “please come play my town” notes. While I always love enthusiasm, as the saying goes: “You can’t live on love”. 
So I hope it’s not too harsh-sounding when I say that this is really just for folks who have a room to offer.  Thanks for understanding!)

CURRENT BITES

(as of Saturday, June 16th)
BALTIMORE, MD
BOSTON, MA
DALLAS, TX
PHOENIX, AZ

(additional bites as of Monday, June 18th)
ST LOUIS, MO

(additional bites as of Wednesday, June 20th)
BUFFALO, NY

(additional bites as of Thursday, June 21st)
CHICAGO, IL
KALAMAZOO, MI
COLUMBIA, MO

(additional bites as of Saturday, June 23rd)
CASTLE ROCK, CO
CHARLOTTE, NC

(new bites as of Saturday, June 30th)
ROCHESTER, NY
NEWARK, DE

(new bites as of Tuesday, July 3rd)
NEWPORT BEACH, CA

(new bite as of Friday, July 20th)
BERLIN, MD

(new bite as of Thursday, August 16th)
REHOBOTH BEACH, DE

WE ALSO LOSE “BITES” OCCASIONALLY — TO DATE WE HAVE LOST (AND NOT REPLACED):
-ALBUQUERQUE, NM
-RENO, NV
-NEW YORK, NY
-TUCSON, AZ
-EASTON, MD

and, while probably not on the docket for fall, we now have bites overseas!
OXFORD, UK
BRIGHTON, UK

Advertisements
h1

PARTY PEOPLE IN THE HOUSE… …please, um… leave.

August 20, 2010

….annnd we’re back.

I’ve just gotten home after slightly more than five weeks of cross-country travel.  It was an on-and-off-again tour that amounted to one week West-to-East, one week visiting my folks, one week visiting my in-laws, about a week to tour the upper east coast, and then a week back across; East-to-West.  In this economy, that’s how we do it now, I guess.

The thing that had excited me most about this jaunt before I left was that over half the shows were HOUSE CONCERTS.  I’ve been singing the praises of the house concert for a long time now, and with good reason:  I have a long history of successful house concerts behind me, and I believe with all my heart that when they’re done right, there is no better way to experience what I do as an artist-performer-yadda.

I’m not changing my tune.  I’ve got more house concerts coming up this year, and will continue to encourage you to host them if your situation permits for ever-and-ever-amen.

But I’m running into a recurring situation, and it occurred to me that I may need to be a little less subtle about some common misconceptions.  I’ve touched on this before, but the message isn’t getting all the way through.

Here’s the idea in a nutshell:

A House Concert is NOT a “House party”.

A simple statement, and one that people say they understand, but experience has shown that this requires a little more explanation.

So here’s what’s supposed to happen:

#1) You book me.  You send invitations to the people you know who love music.

MISUNDERSTANDING #1: This doesn’t mean “invite everyone you know”.  You invite everyone you know to a PARTY.  This is not a party.  This is a concert; specifically a SOLO SINGER/SONGWRITER concert.

You should not invite your family unless they are avid fans of live music.  You should not invite everyone in your email address book unless you are a professional concert promoter.

You should invite the people you know who enjoy music, and who would come to your house for the PURPOSE of coming to the concert.   Don’t invite neighbors or work acquaintances just for the sake of “having a packed room”.   Quantity is not what we’re going for; QUALITY is.

If the “room is packed”, and it’s full of people who have no interest in sitting still and listening, we are going to have a miserable time.  I promise.

On a related note, make it abundantly clear in your invitation that the show will be PG-13.  Because it is.  I’m not Barney the Dinosaur, and almost everything I say or sing about will be above the heads of most pre-teens.  It is entirely inappropriate to bring young children to a house concert unless the performer is specifically promoted as “family friendly”.

It is not “rude” to make it clear to your friends that the night has an age restriction.  It IS “rude” to expect a performer to compete with unsupervised children.  Horribly rude.  If your friends with kids are too cheap to hire a sitter, they are probably also too cheap to pay the $10 donation to the performer, so don’t fret about appeasing them.

If you feel stuck because you have maybe ten friends who fit the bill, but that’s it, consider co-hosting with one of those ten friends, who may have another ten music-loving friends to invite (even though those folks may be strangers to you).  Then host it at the house with the more ideal set-up.

#2)  You transform your living room into a comfortable listening environment.

MISUNDERSTANDING #2: While there is a little flexibility on the “living room” requirement, a house concert should really be hosted INSIDE A HOUSE.

I have never said no to outdoor arrangements before, but I am considering banning them forever.  The problems with hosting a “house concert” in your backyard are obvious, though everyone feigns shock and surprise when the same problems happen over-and-over again:

Being outside takes away almost every bit of control over the environment.  Most outdoor shows are scheduled during daylight, and so there is unlimited visual stimuli for the performer to compete with.  
There are cars and trucks driving through the neighborhood; some with loud stereos.  There are people outside; strolling, talking, mowing their lawns, walking their dogs, playing with their children.  It’s LOUD.  
Being outdoors, many hosts think to set up the grill and have a cook-out.  The next logical step is a cooler or two for drinks.  Then it’s a keg of beer.

People have a tendency to sit further away from the performance space if they’re outdoors.  They have less of an inclination to check to make sure their phones are turned off; they may actually feel okay about ANSWERING a call during the performance.
People feel less punctual about outdoor events; they may stroll in casually halfway through the show, loudly greeting friends and family in their “outside voices”.  Some people may abruptly get up and leave early.  Outdoor settings just make everything feel like a picnic, and are almost always abysmal house concert circumstances.

(This past tour, I was actually playing outdoors one afternoon and cut my set short because a group of guests actually set off FIREWORKS while I was playing.  Not firecrackers, mind you; they set up and lit a ROMAN CANDLE.)

There’s also the weather to consider.  If you’ve set up your entire backyard for an outdoor event, and suddenly it rains…  well, unless you’ve provided for that possibility in your agreement with the performer, you’re still on the hook to pay them, so you probably want to have your house ready for an indoor show regardless.

#3)  You host the evening.  I do my utmost to give you the best show ever.

MISUNDERSTANDING #3: This means that First Priority for each of us is the concert.  All night.  It means acknowledging your guests, but it also means informing your guests what they are getting (both when inviting them and when greeting them at your door), and what is expected of them.

It does NOT mean leaving repeatedly to watch the kids, man the grill, pour the drinks, go to the store, or play games in another room/area.  It does NOT mean talking (even to family) during the performance, or otherwise setting a bad example for everyone else.  Tell everyone they should simply move to another room of the house (or outside) if they need to converse.

It means reminding your guests why they are there and announcing the performer before the concert begins.  It does NOT mean sitting in a corner, or worse, disappearing just as the concert is about to start, or meekly gesturing for the performer to “just start playing”.  Take responsibility for your home and pride in your event, and show respect for the performer you have invited into your space.  This is a concert, and unless you have arranged for someone else to emcee, YOU ARE the emcee.

Be aware that if you do not take care of crowd control, I will.  From the stage.  Sometimes in the middle of a song.  And you probably won’t like my methods.
If you allow the atmosphere to decay into something that resembles a noisy bar, I will treat the patrons like hecklers, and it won’t bother me if they leave, upset about how I will single them out in front of the room…  that’s how you handle a heckler, actually;  you embarrass them so that they shut up or leave.  I probably won’t know the person affected, and it won’t bother me.  But you probably will, and you’ll have to deal with it after I’m gone.

#4)  You handle the finances and, at the end of the night, we square up accordingly.

MISUNDERSTANDING #4:
This does NOT mean “whatever happens, happens, and I just don’t have any control over it”.  Some of my recent experiences have me re-evaluating the way I work my financial arrangements for house concerts.

The bottom line is that people behave better at a show they invested their money in. If you buy your $40 to $75 ticket for Ben Harper/Rob Thomas/Coldplay/Whatever, you are NOT going to just “not go” because of work, or because you feel tired that night.  In fact, you’re going to reserve tickets immediately, mark your calendar, and put in notice at your job that you ABSOLUTELY cannot work that night.  You’re probably not going to get there late, and unless the show really sucks, you are probably not going to leave early. You will have higher expectations and pay more attention.

Also, with the ticket price that high, you are not going to go to the show unless you REALLY want to be there.  At a house concert, charging at least $10 admission keeps away most people who are not interested in the music, and keeps the folks that RSVP relatively committed.

I have always agreed to be paid according to attendance, with a minimum guarantee in case of a surprisingly sparse turnout.  This is done in the good faith that the host will inform the guests of the admission fee, and then enforce it.  Increasingly, hosts seem to be too embarrassed to charge admission, and so they put out a jar in an inconspicuous place with no supervision and “hope for the best”.

What happens in this case is that at least a third of the guests pay nothing, about a third throw in a pittance (some people actually have the nerve to throw in CHANGE), and I end up making my bare minimum to play a show to a room of too many unappreciative people.

As goes that saying about bad apples spoiling the whole bunch, I am no longer doing things this way (excepting, of course, a handful of hosts I’ve worked with in the past who know the deal, and who are probably laughing heartily as they read this).

____________________________________________________________________________________

Don’t get me wrong; I realize that we are conditioned creatures…  we have “settings” we default to in certain environments.  When in a movie theatre, most people settle down pretty quickly.  In someone’s house among a throng of people, most people’s closest association is: “Party”, and unless they are reminded, they may default to that setting.

If you volunteer to host a house concert, you need to be aware that the job involves teaching people about what house concerts are, and helping them to develop a “new setting”.

Some folks think they shouldn’t bother me by asking questions about how to do this stuff, but honestly: I’m happy to help.  It’s far more of a bother to book me for a house concert and let me walk into a situation that embarrasses both of us without warning.

There are already two house concerts booked in October, with a handful more getting ready to confirm.  If you’re up to the Host 2.0 Challenge, get in touch, and let’s make some history.

Grateful for the support; and so thankful for the love I’ve been shown

Seth  :]

P.S.   Because it probably bears mention:

MISUNDERSTANDING #5: At least fifty percent of the booking inquiries I have gotten in the past year have been asking me to perform as part of a birthday, graduation, or a wedding.

These three events are all PARTIES, even if they are not labeled as such.  The music is entirely secondary, and the dynamics of these events are such that the “guest of honor” is NOT the performer; it’s the birthday boy/girl, the graduate, or the happy couple.  This defeats the entire point of a house concert, and making the performer into the Guest of Honor would defeat the entire point of the birthday, graduation, or wedding.  It just. Doesn’t. Work.  If the only way you can conceive of inviting people into your home for music is by piggy-backing it onto another event, then hosting one of these very special evenings isn’t going to work out just yet.  Give it some time.  :)

h1

We would have such a very good time – Such a fine time; such a happy time…

November 3, 2009

It’s official:

I have played only 3 solo shows in the second half of this year.

For me, that is UNHEARD of.  My schedule hasn’t been this sparse since…  half a decade ago?  No… probably longer.  I mean, even back at the top of 2007 when I was near death and hospitalized twice, I had a more densely booked performance schedule in a shorter span of time.

This is VERY different for me.

So what’s going on?

I’ve been saying for a long while now that I’m going to play where people want to listen to me.  Pretty simple philosophy. :)

So I let it be known months ago that I was booking house concerts to support the release of *Clang & Chime*…    and I got six emails from interested parties.  Before long, I had five all-but-booked.

Two got cold feet along the way, but three confirmed, and I just got back from performing at the last of those three about a week ago.

It worked out that they were spaced out about a month apart from each other; I did one in Central New York at the end of August while I was in the area finishing the album mix at The Belfry.  The second worked out at the end of September in Castle Rock, Colorado, and the third one was here in Nevada… though at the opposite end of the state, down in Las Vegas.  With all the behind-the-scenes action that went into getting *Clang & Chime* ready for release, I wasn’t too upset about the sparse schedule…  and it worked out that I released the album on the internet as soon as I returned from Vegas.

To help get rid of the mystery surrounding house concerts, I’m doing a little round-up of my (great) experiences here…  enjoy!


AUGUST – CENTRAL NY

I won’t mention any more specific info about this location, as the hosts had asked that this be a private show.  In fact, I never even listed this on my calendar for that reason.  House concerts can be an awesome way to meet other folks in your area who like the same music… there’s a definite bond that forms between people who share an interest in independent music, and it makes for great community…   but comfort in one’s own home supersedes all else, and if the hosts want it to be “friends only”, it absolutely remains so.  :)

The couple that hosted this show have been hardcore Horanimals for years… I think they first saw me perform a college show back in 2002.  Now they’re out in the real world, married, and recently moved into their own place…  and what better way to enjoy one’s new house than by hosting one’s very first house concert?

It was a win-win…  the hosts got to share something with their friends that they’d only been able to describe in words for a long time, and I got to reach out to a whole new group of people.  The hosts also got to hear a bunch of the new record before it was even sent off to the mastering lab! :D

Overheard from wife-host to husband-host:   “We should do this all the time.”
:)


SEPTEMBER – CASTLE ROCK, CO

Denver HC 1

(taken from the nosebleed seats... look how far away I am! )

This was a different animal.  Charlene and Greg Johnson have been hosting house concerts for years now… they even have a name for their series (“Music on the Mesa”), and they get listed in local papers.  They take it very seriously, and being an ace musical duo themselves, they know how to pull off every aspect of the evening. From seating to sound to invitations to food & drinks to sectioning off a somewhat distant “KIDS ROOM”, there was nothing they hadn’t thought of.  It was brilliant.  They really transform their home into a venue for a night.

Having a track record like that isn’t just good for the performer; it’s great for the audience.  Many of the regular attendees at Mesa concerts are friends of the Johnsons… but they became friends because they showed up to so many house concerts on account of the consistently great shows.  The night I performed they had a packed house….  FIFTY people.

I met so many great people here, to say nothing of the Johnsons themselves, who are an amazing family.  They went far and above the call of duty with their hospitality.  One example out of a hundred: they heard what a coffee-snob I am, and so they went and got a coffee maker and a pound of gourmet beans…  just to make me comfortable.  That’s just the tip of the iceberg; I could go on all day, and I’m still trying hard to think of what I did to rack up enough karma points to receive this experience and these people in my life.  It was just awesome. :)


OCTOBER – LAS VEGAS, NV

Vegas HC 4

(You can't see the people hiding beind the plants... :)

This show was put on by another couple trying it for the first time, but their instincts proved to be right on-the-mark.  Marla and Andy made sure everything went off without a hitch, and if I hadn’t known that it was their first time trying to host, I’d think they did this all the time.

The atmosphere was fantastic, and packed, again.   Let me clarify about what it means to be “packed”…   in a club that holds hundreds of people, twenty-five attendees won’t feel like a lot… to the performer, or to those people themselves.  The seating can be spread out into “pockets” around the room, and the energy dissipates before it can ever really build up.

 But in your LIVING ROOM, twenty-five people (clarification: twenty-five MATURE people) all giving their attention to the same thing can be positively electric.  The space gets FULL, of both people and energy, and it just creates an amazing environment for music.  Marla and Andy’s living room was packed with that many people, and we just kept passing energy back and forth to each other for a couple hours.  It was a great time.

I was beyond flattered when I saw the feedback Marla collected from her guests after the show…  I was, actually, honored:


_______________________________________________________________________


* I have to admit having never been to a house concert and not really knowing what I was in for I was under the impression we were on our way to see “Yawnie” and instead I got to see one of the most ELECTRIC performers I have gotten to see play live since I saw the very first U2 concert in Los Angeles =)

* I admit whole heartedly that I was mesmerized by the entire performance … intelligent lyrics and rock your socks off music!

* We go to community concerts and shows all the time and have never seen anything as good as this!

* You talked him up pretty good so I was a bit skeptical. Turns out I was right and you were wrong. He was better than you said he was. Great show!

* I had a really rough week and this concert was the perfect thing to make it all go away. Seth was amazing!

* I had no idea what to expect. This exceeded everything I thought it might be like. Good stuff!

* What an absolute rockin out concert and Seth Horan was funky too!

* Great concert! We had a great time!

* We had a great time. And drove home listening to Seth’s new CD that we bought after the concert and continued the groove all the way home. Thanks!

* I had never heard of Seth before. But I’m sure glad I know who he is now. He was GREAT! Thanks for the invite!!!

* It was an absolutely wonderful evening … we talked about politics, we talked about community service, we talked about upcoming events and then the music started and all we could talk about was Seth Horan.

______________________________________________________________________

Sin City, you humble me.  :)

Anyway, like I was saying: even though it may seem like I’m “not doing anything” right now, I assure you…  this is the first spare moment I’ve had to take notice!

So, the album is finally out, and I’m not out doing a fall tour…  what AM I doing now?

Why, I’m booking the SPRING tour.

At this point, I’ll nip-in-the-bud the next question that always seems to arise when I make a statement like that.

Invariably, someone always asks:  “When are you going to play in MY town?”

If that question is forming in your mind, I can answer it with another question:

When am I playing at your place? ;)

Let me know.  Thanks for reading.

Be well,
Seth

(sethhoran@yahoo.com)

h1

All I wish is to be alone… Stay away; don’t you invade my home.

June 20, 2009

Let’s talk about House Concerts.

Aha! I just lost 80% of you right there, didn’t I?

I know… But by acknowledging that, I probably just piqued the interest of some who were about to stop reading.

I have been thinking about this, on and off, for a long time now; long enough that I think I can finally put my thoughts down in a way that makes a fair amount of sense.  Here goes.

House Concerts are something I bring up every time I book a tour, which has usually been once or twice a year, every year now since 2002.  I always get a decent number of responses each time I sound the call, but I would say that only one out of every five or six of those responses actually turns into a reality.

Now why is that?

There are lots of psychological barriers to get in the way of a house concert.  Most people are naturally anxious about letting groups of people into their home, and some people are very anxious about being in unfamiliar environments; more so when the place is someone else’s private property.

These feelings are completely understandable, and they’re completely easy to get over as long as you keep one very important thing in mind:

House Concerts aren’t supposed to be for everyone.
They’re not even supposed to be big.
They’re for the People Who Care About The Music.

A life-changing article for me was written by Kevin Kelly, and it’s called “One Thousand True Fans”.  He puts forth the premise that a person who means to live by creating (artists, musicians, etc) need not kill themselves in the pursuit of “Having a Hit” — that a decent living can be achieved if you have 1,000 true fans; people who enjoy what you make enough to buy it from you every time you make it.  He clarifies this to suggest that because of the decreasing price of compact discs, that musicians in particular should consider both their albums and their CONCERTS under the heading of “what they make”.

The idea here is that a musician like me shouldn’t get caught up in the game of “How many people can I pack into the club?”, because if I concentrate my effort on that instead of on giving an incredible performance, it won’t matter how many people show up…  if I suck, they’re not going to become long-term fans; in fact, they might leave before I’m finished playing.

The idea is that the new breed of musician should have the goal to play to a “Quality Audience”; not a “quantity” audience.  Having done this enough times to gauge it, I wholeheartedly endorse this mindset.  I would much rather play an intimate show to twenty people who are feeding off my music and sending their own energy back to me than play to a noisy, moderately attentive group of 50 to 100 people, some of whom are there because they want to be, some of whom aren’t interested at all…  the energy in THAT room is a mess, and doesn’t make for a good experience for anyone.

Using the idea of a thousand true fans, it seems that those twenty quality listeners are going to be at the show anyway — it doesn’t matter if the ticket price is $5 or $15, and it doesn’t matter if there are 80 extra bodies in the room or not — so if that is true, why not improve life for everyone, raise the ticket price slightly and just play a better show to better people?

…because the Live Music BUSINESS doesn’t work that way.  A venue owner WANTS a hundred people at a singer-songwriter show.  To the venue owner, that’s a “good night”, and the quality of the music or the experience is absolutely secondary to the number of dollars made. You can’t be mad at a venue owner for wanting to do more business though; you just have to acknowledge that you’re not working towards a common goal, and consider alternate venues.

And that’s where House Concerts come in, because someone throwing a house concert isn’t trying to make money, and they don’t want a hundred half-interested people showing up, either.

Many first-time hosts have thought they should apologize to me because they “only” had a dozen to two dozen people show up.  What it takes awhile for them to realize is that it’s not embarrassing at all — and small crowds often have the best experiences.  The sound isn’t muddy or too loud, the vibe is comfortable, the audience members don’t gather in cliques; they sit in a group and get to know each other over drinks or snacks, and I get to meet and have genuine interactions with most people there during or after the show.  Even the larger house concert series I’ve played have always created great performances, great energy, and great friendships.

All it takes is the right kind of person to host a house concert:  The Person Who Cares.

This isn’t someone who says, “Oh, music would be cool, and um, whatever else and stuff… Just like, show up and I’m sure it’ll be fun!”   No; that person is not ready.

The Person Who Cares thinks, “I love this music…  but there’s no place in town that hosts this.  It would be amazing if I could just bring the show to my house and invite over other people who are into it for a night.”

This person acts like a host: they handle invitations, and sometimes even allow strangers to attend if they’re fans of the performer; they take RSVPs and hold the money for the performer, they coordinate drinks and a potluck spread if they want.  When people show up, they greet them, and when it’s time for the show, they address the audience and remind them to be respectful, and they introduce the artist.  This person doesn’t invite “everyone they know”, because they realize that not everyone they know would enjoy the music, but they invite other People Who Care, and that’s what makes for an easy-going, enjoyable evening.  These people get some of the greatest concerts they will ever see and hear right in their own living rooms, and they develop a group of friends that they know appreciates the same things they do, which is rewarding unto itself.

If any of this has sparked your curiosity and gotten you thinking past your initial anxiety about “PEOPLE IN MY HOUSE!”…  drop me a line and we can talk more about it.  I’m going to be playing wherever people will have me once this album comes out; it’s just a matter of saying you’ll have me.  :)

Thanks for reading.

Be well,

Seth

h1

Protected: A Horanimal’s Guide to Booking a Seth Show (street team info)

April 28, 2009

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below: