Detailed Guide to Hosting A Home Show.


Living-Room-ConcertMusic where people listen is appreciated by artist and audience. A show at your place is a wonderful experience, is easy, and organising is well worth it. Set the date with the artist, gather 10 or more friends, and you are away! It doesn’t cost you more than a few dollars to have world class artists perform in your home. 

Musicians too are organising these, working together to support each other.

The advantages of a Music Collective profile

  • You can find and contact, then hear amazing local and touring world class artists.
  • You are visible. Artists can contact your for shows, but your privacy is maintained
  • You are in control of all your arrangements
  • You decide who comes to your shows.
  • You pay nothing

FAQ - house shows for hosts

Reading through these FAQs may answer many of your questions, but if you want to speak to someone experienced at them, send us a message through the contact form.

Joining Music Collective is free.

When you host a show, of course you want to pay the musician(s) a decent fee.

Entry for your guest is by donation. People are happy to donate. You may suggest the amount based on the number of people coming. 20 guests x $20 = $400…

Some artists may have a set minimum, but many will perform for the door donations, especially when you are starting out. 

You should make all the decisions about who is allowed to come to your private house show. Discuss with the musician what it is ok to reveal in publicity and who is allowed to be invited. Usually the address is kept secret and revealed only to new people you apporve of via message or email.

Often the audience is mostly invited by the you and the musician, but it is ok to publish a phone number or email address to contact (yours or the musician’s). Once they contact you, people can then be sent the address and other relevant details.

You might have a set of expectations that you forward to people wanting to attend e.g. bring only the people you have approved…

In order to pay the artist a reasonable amount (and some will have a minimum) you need to accommodate at least 10 people. Lounge rooms, large open plan spaces, outdoor rooms, backyards (backup plan if it rains), barns and sheds are all suitable. Maybe you have a friend who shares your passion that has a better space. Get involved with them in working to make it happen. Some people are teaming up and hosting regular concerts but in different people’s homes each time. Spread the love!

If you would like to host a concert, but don’t have a suitable space in your home, there are often community halls nearby who would love to bring more life to them by having them used.  Apartment buildings and other shared dwelling communities often have a common or recreation room that may be suitable. What about your work’s warehouse or other suitable space? Many hall committees and local councils will reduce the hiring fees for events that benefit the community. The cost is usually very minimal and covered by the first couple of entrance donations.



DSC_0826 croppedSet up and keep your Music Collective page up to date so artists can find and email you.

Ask to join the Music Collective Northern NSW network – message us. We often get performance requests from musicians that cannot be accommodated at one venue. We will share them among the others in the network for them to invite if they want to.

Search Music Collective for artists touring or living in your local area that suit your tastes. Sometimes you will get a communication from an artist asking to come for a home concert. Check out their videos and music samples. Visit their website if they have one. Send them an email. Sort out details of date, time and place. Does the artist require a minimum payment? Are you offering a meal, accommodation?  How much space do they require? Midweek concerts, afternoons on a weekend are often attractive to artists. You could arrange a shorter evening if need be, maybe by having the artist play just one set. If you spot an artist you would love to have perform but they are not in your area, let them know you would like to host them when they come your way.

Arrange the concert with the artist via Music Collective well in advance so you have time to gather the audience. Choose a high quality artist so your audience will want to come back. If you contact the artist by phone, their website or Facebook, and not using our contact form, let them know you found them on here. If users know our network is making connections, it will encourage them to use it and MC will get stronger with more choice for all.

Build your guest list by starting with friends, colleagues, acquaintances and friends of friends. Let them know who is booked, with links to their profile. Your social network sites could be a source of guests. If you are still short, you can potentially add to your guests by messaging your event to our Facebook page and we will post it. Music Collective – Northern NSW  on Facebook allows you to list events when you become a member. The public can see your event, but you, and your contact details are not identified personally. People contact you via the event.  There may be music clubs in your area through which you could find more guests. Music Collective has listings of some of these clubs and organisations.

If you get a request from someone you don’t know through MC to attend one of your private concerts, you can contact them and satisfy yourself that they are suitable for an invitation. MC makes no assurances about the behaviour of any person on this network. Be clear to them about your expectations. e.g. If a person has asked to attend, they may bring no one else. Some hosts ask to see photo ID they can record.

Keep a track of the guest list, send a reminder a few days before, requiring RSVPs. Add people to a waiting list if you have more than enough. You can add them to an email list for future events.


You may need a PA system. The musician can often provide this. If not, you may know someone who does, there are people on MC who hire  equipment. In the Northern Rivers of NSW we have access to some PA equipment. Send us a message.

Seating. If you need more chairs, ask guests or neighbours. Check with the artist if they have any requirements. If you are having a shared meal or supper, organise what people should bring, and what you need to provide. Think about what lighting would suit the occasion. Organise an introduction for the artist, it need not be long. If you don’t like doing this, a friend might step up for you.

Set up and get started, by putting out chairs, leaving plenty of room for the artist(s); a table for CDs and other merchandise; a place for the food etc; a container for the donations, with the donation amount. (This could be based on the $ agreement with the artist). Set up the lighting, though nothing fancy is needed here. Just ensure there is plenty of light for the artist and the room invitingly lit. Candles and small lamps can be good for mood. Work out a suitable time for the artist to arrive and help if necessary carry in and set up equipment.  Welcome the guests, give some notice the show is about to start, and once all are seated, introduce the artist, emphasising that this is a concert, not a party, and get underway. A set of music will usually be 40-45 minutes, after which when you’ll remind about paying donations if you are short and that you will have a break for 20 minutes or so.

Paying musical artists is an important part of making home shows feasible. Musicians deserve to be paid for their skill, art and dedication. How much does it cost to have a plumber just turn up at your place, let alone pay them their hourly rate?

Many artists will play at your place for the money donated at the door. You can decide entry price with the musician based on anticipated audience numbers. You will not then be out of pocket.

It is important entry is by donation as you are not a commercial venue and you are holding a private event. This means you are not violating council regulations or your household insurance.

If you feel awkward asking for donations, you can have a container with a sign stating the donation amount. This can be based on the fee agreed with the artist. Some people have a door person to ask for the donations (children love this job). If it is clear the money is short, you may want to make up the shortfall, or just make a gentle reminder announcement before adjourning for tea and chat. At the end of the night, hand over the agreed amount, or more if extra was taken.

 Some hosts keep some extra to cover costs and future shortfalls.

We recommend you have public liability insurance. Your home insurance policy probably has public liability insurance that covers you for costs from legal action if you are found liable for death or injury, loss or damage of property, or economic loss resulting from your negligence. By only asking for a donation, your event should be covered under your household insurance as the attendees are visiting friends and it is not a commercial venture. If you are concerned about this, check your policy or your insurance company.  If you are using a public hall, you should check with the hall manager that you are covered by the hall’s insurance when holding your event. Most artists will have insurance that will cover their risk. It is your responsibility to satisfy yourself that you are covered for any eventuality.

What you put on your page is mostly self explanatory, but images of the space you use, of a concert, and even a floor diagram indicating dimensions of the space for the musician can be useful. A description of yourself, your music tastes, your own music making, and other details. How many audience members can you accommodate? Do you have PA equipment? A piano? What else might attract high quality musicians? Be creative! Have a look at what some other hosts have put in their listings.

Listing Image is the image that will be your face to the world. Choose a good quality image.

Add  tags for the all genres of music you like, so only artists who fit your tastes contact you.

For privacy reasons, we suggest you only enter your suburb or town as your address and do not have a photo of your house from the street. If you are willing to offer accommodation to an artist, tick the “Accommodation Possible” checkbox. You can make the decision once you have communicated with the artist.

You will be prompted once a year to confirm you still want a listing. Your page will be deleted if you do not respond. It is probably a good idea to check your page a few times a year to ensure it is in line with your needs. 

When artists contact you, even if you are not interested in hosting them, please reply to their request. Otherwise artists will be discouraged from using the site, and your listing may get negative reviews for “Communication”. 


shutterstock_256115590It is beneficial to the artist to have positive reviews, helping get them more work at homes, halls, venues and functions. If you loved their performance, let the Music Collective community know. Please read our Review Guidelines  to help keep comments constructive. Negative reviews are difficult, but honesty is important and helps artists improve and others make decisions about artists based on a wider range of information. You can just leave a star recommendation less than the maximum, writing a short comment. Some people leave writing negative reviews some time before submitting. 

An APRA licence is not needed as your events are private functions, by invitation only. If you are holding an event in a public hall and are publicising it, and charging admittance, you probably do need an APRA licence. A year will cost you from about $70. If you are a commercial venue host, you will need an APRA licence.

You may be willing to accommodate some performing artists. For some it would be appreciated. It is completely at your discretion to decide to do this. We make no assurances about any person you contact through Music Collective.


20150508-_MG_0898Help build the network. The more venues and artists  list on Music Collective, the more choice you, your fellow hosts and artists have, making this an increasingly viable avenue for creating thriving musical communities. 

Like the Facebook page, share posts, recommend MC to potential new members. Like us on Facebook, and become a member of Music Collective – Northern NSW group to be informed of events and other things of interest to you, or to post photos, videos, and enter discussions.

Is there an artist you would love to hear in your home? Let them know! Also let them know about this network. You might suggest others in your guest list host events as well, thus spreading the work, while increasing the benefit to all. You might have friends in other locations who you know would love to be involved.

Concerts In Your Home in the US is the gold standard for promoting this way of making music come to life in peoples’ homes. Fran Snyder and his team have worked for many years to build up an array of wonderful resources for running, attending and performing at house concerts.

Check them out in the links below, as well as a number of other great resources

FAQ - house shows for musicians

Many musicians are making a sizeable addition to their income doing house shows and gigs in other non-commercial spaces . Indeed there are a few who make most of their living this way.  You get to play to a relaxed audience that listens appreciatively and is willing to pay. There are more opportunities for selling CDs and building your fan base, no agent fees, no booking fees and you may get a meal and even a place to stay the night. Some hosts will organise events on weeknights or weekend afternoons, to help you fill your tour schedule.

Reach out to your fans through email and social media (including Music Collective Facebook page) asking who would like to host you at home.

As a co-operative venture, Music Collective relies on you and the music community to build this network of places to play.

Together we can

  • put on house shows for our own music and other musicians
  • encourage people who invite us to play a house show to list on MC. These hosts are completely in charge of how many shows they want to hold, and their privacy is assured, but every extra show is one more that wasn’t available before.

House shows, house concerts are usually private, held in a person’s home. Discuss with the host what it is ok to reveal in publicity and who is allowed to be invited.

Often the audience is mostly invited by the host and you, but it is ok to publish a phone number or email address to contact (yours or the host’s). People can then be sent the address and other relevant details.

Links to lots of other house concert information