Home Routes is an exciting, new non-profit initiative creating music events that benefit musicians, consumers, communities, and the earth. Recently, Home Routes volunteer coordinator Ali Hancharyk took the time to answer some questions from Wanda Waterman St. Louis.
The response from musicians has been tremendous. One of our most successful tours was with Valdy last season on our Manitoba Yellow Diamond Circuit. The audience response was a sold-out tour; calls flooded our office for the chance to nab a ticket, some even willing to travel to neighbouring communities just for the chance to see the acclaimed performer. Many artists have had so much fun, they’ve asked to do a Home Routes tour again.
Artists? submissions are juried; we ask that they submit an acoustic recording of what they would sound like in a house concert setting, as well as a one-sheet biography. Submissions are juried every few months with no hard deadlines. The lineup for next season will be ready late June.
The artists we work with are wide-ranging in genre: you could be hosting a seasoned bluesman one month and an authentic Celtic musician the next. The only thing that stays the same is the quality of the performances; these are acclaimed musicians that make a living through their art practice, sharing their stories across the country.
The biggest benefit of being a volunteer host is that you can meet new people, make friends in your community, and have the opportunity to experience quality acoustic music. You get to hang out with artists, perhaps even get serenaded at breakfast time, and introduce new music to your community. This is especially valuable in places that do not get the chance to go to many concerts because of their remote locations. Hosts give communities this accessibility to artists, and are happy to be the cultural leaders of their city or town.
The Ideal Home Routes Venue
The ideal host would be one that loves folk music, who loves to entertain for friends and family, and who owns a home (or other non-traditional space) that can hold around 25 people or more. Volunteer hosts, or ?presenters,? hold intimate acoustic concerts in the comfort of their own living rooms. Home Routes books the acts, and presenters promote the show to friends, family, and community members. This is the chance to be a cultural impresario in your living room!
Each season features six shows: three in the fall and three in the winter and spring. The season can be taken on fully by one host or split between friends who’ll support each other’s concerts during the year.
Home Routes will make sure each host receives CDs from each artist and a performer program book complete with bios and pictures at least six weeks before the first show. Home Routes will also provide a ?How-to? guide for presenting house concerts. Home Routes is committed to providing support to the hosts and musicians throughout the season, 24/7, while shows are on!
Getting the Word Out
The thing that differentiates a house concert from a larger scale concert is that they’re publicized by word of mouth. Presenters invite their family and friends into their homes; as such, these concerts are not open to the public. The word of mouth is the most effective form of promotion and is essential to help create private listening room performances. One is more apt to attend a concert once they’ve received a personal invite to someone’s home, rather than just seeing a poster on a lamppost!