Home Made Jam Guide for Halls and other communal spaces.

Overview

A concert in your local hall is a wonderful experience, is easy, and will enrich the life of your community. Music artists work diligently on their craft and you hosting them in your hall gives them a listening audience to appreciate their music.  Many hall committees and local councils will waive or reduce the hiring fees for events that benefit the community. Apartment buildings and other shared dwelling communities often have a common or recreation room that may also be suitable.

Organising a concert is well worth the effort. Fix the date with the artist, gather 10 or more for the audience, and you are away!

Main things to consider

Tintenbar Up Front

Your community hall can attract the best local, touring and international artists. Get a few like minded people to help and it is little work. The main things to do include contact and publicity so enough people come along, ensuring everything is organised for the event, setting up chairs, performance area and a place for CD sales, a little bit of decoration, collecting $, an introduction, tidying up, and celebrating the wonderful event you just experienced.

Alternatively, you can just list your hall to hire. But you need to make this clear on your listing page. Artists are busy people and organising an audience in an unfamiliar town is a difficult task. This approach is less likely to attract great touring musicians.

The advantages of a Home Made Jam page

You get to hear great live music at your place
You can find and contact 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

Create Your Listing Page

What should I put in my HMJ listing?

Take a look at one hall listing page.

Set up and keep your HMJ page up to date. What you put on your page is mostly self explanatory, but images of the space you use, of a concert, can be useful. A description of yourself, your music tastes, your hall team,  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! Include whatever you want, but list months you are taking bookings and add the tags for the genres of music you like. This saves wasted time from artists contacting you about dates you are not hosting, or playing genres of music you are not interested in. How often you host is always up to you. Once a year, every month, whatever…     We have included space for a list of future and past concerts so artists know that you are active. For privacy reasons, only enter your suburb or town as your address.  If you are willing to offer accommodation to an artist, tick the “Accommodation Possible” checkbox. You can make the decision about this once you have communicated with the artist.

Listing Image is the image that will be your face to the world. Choose a good quality image. The best ratio is height 1 to 2.5 width. Also, keep the most important part of the image centred both top to bottom and left to right. Only use images labelled .jpg .gif or .png (NOT .jpeg)

Is there something else you would like to add, but don’t seem to be able to? Contact us.

You will be prompted once a year to confirm you still want to be a host. 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. It can be frustrating for you to be receiving communications from artists when you are unavailable. (It is a time waster for them too.)

How do I find artists to play?

Search Home Made Jam 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 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? Might any of their material be offensive to your audience? 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, you could let them know you would like to host them when they come your way.

Arrange the concert with the artist via Home Made Jam well in advance so you have time to gather the audience. Choose a high quality artist so your audience will 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 Home Made Jam. If users know our network is making connections, it will encourage them to use it and HMJ will get stronger with more choice for all.

How do I attract the best artists?

Musicians and other artists will be less likely to choose your hall if you are charging an up front fee. They do not want to be out of pocket for their performance. If you can, give all the door proceeds to the artist and cover your overheads with sales of food and drink. If you are wanting to make some money from the venture, you could add some $ to the door price, then you and the artist will be both committed to getting a good sized audience along. Add $2, and if 100 people come, you have $200 in hand. If you are new to this, it may take a little time to build a regular audience (look at the next topic) but if you choose quality artists, people will come.

Good communication is vital

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”. Please add contact@homemadejam.net.au to your email address book so messages are delivered to you.

How do I get enough guests?

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 list by listing your event on Home Made Jam. The public can see your event, but you, and your contact details are not identified personally. Only registered users can ask to attend. There may be music clubs in your area through which you could find more guests. Home Made Jam has listings of some of these clubs and organisations.

As a hall host you may want to make your event public so you attract a larger audience. You can publicise with posters, signs, newspapers, local radio, council information services etc. Social Media are an important way to publicise. Many halls have Facebook pages and websites to promote their offerings. Have a look at one hall’s website,

Collect email addresses of attendees so you can invite them to future events. A number of halls now host open mic nights. This is a way to build audiences as well. For instance, go to the HMJ  Links page and check out Rous Unplugged, Tintenbar Up Front and Fifteen Minutes of Fame at Stokers Siding Hall (all in the Northern Rivers of NSW)

If you get a request from someone you don’t know through Home Made Jam to attend one of your private concerts, you can contact them and satisfy yourself that they are suitable for an invitation. Home Made Jam makes no assurances about the behaviour of any person on this network. 

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

How should I publicise on Home Made Jam?

Message your Facebook event or other publicity material to Home Made Jam Facebook page. We will publicise it and it will appear in our Facebook events and on our website “What’s On” page

Another way to publicise your concert or event is to post it on Home Made Jam Events on Facebook. This appears in calendar format, rather than based on location as the listing does. To protect your privacy, link back to your listing page like in the image below so people can email you (blind) to ask to attend. This is a place you can invite people directly too.

forum listing

What do I need to organise for the concert?

Seating. If you need more chairs, ask guests to bring them. 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. A concert in a hall sometimes feels more intimate if the artists are on floor level, rather than on stage, depending on the number of performers and audience.

How do I deal with money?

Paying musical artists is an important part of making hall 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, let alone pay them their hourly rate? negotiate the price beforehand. Many artists will accept a door deal, where they take a set amount of each entry fee. Others will want a set fee.

If this is a public event, you can charge entry. If private and you feel awkward asking for money, 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. 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.

Will I be out of pocket?

Many artists will play for the takings on the door, less your cost of hiring the hall. If $300 is a reasonable amount to pay an artist, you only need 15 at $20 a head + a couple more to cover hall hire. Once you have done this a few times, you can give an indication to them of how many people they might expect. If an artist asks for a guaranteed minimum, you can set the price according to the number of people you expect to come along. You can make some extra money by charging for cakes, tea and coffee. Some halls put on regular food and make more money that way as well. Of course, this takes a few people to volunteer to create those Gateaux and culinary masterpieces. Any extra you make can go to worthwhile causes.

Should I review the artist?

It 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 Home Made Jam community know. 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.

What about insurance?

We recommend you have public liability insurance. 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. Ensure it 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. If you are concerned about this, check with the insurance company. Most artists will have insurance that will cover their risk. It is your responsibility to satisfy yourself that you are covered for any eventuality. If you are hiring, many hall committees will allow you to be covered under their insurance for a small extra fee.

Do I need an Australian Performing Rights Association (APRA) licence?

An APRA licence is not needed if your event is a private function, by invitation only. If you are publicising it, and charging admittance, it is public and 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.

Should I offer accommodation to the artist?

You or someone else in the community 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 Home Made Jam.

Hosting live music is so rewarding. How can I share my enthusiasm?

Help build the network. The more hosts, artists and guests list on Home Made Jam, the more choice you, your fellow hosts, artists and guests have, making this an increasingly viable avenue for creating thriving musical communities. Recommend Home Made Jam to potential new hosts, artists and guests. 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.

Like our Facebook page.

Is there more info on hosting concerts?

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 here, as well as a number of other great resources.