House Shows are amazing experiences. There is so much value presented to you and your guests. There is so much value to the band to be able to come and interact with you and your guests. What kind of price can you put on a valuable time like that?
A few things to keep in mind when thinking of the value of the show. Your guests see the band play for about an hour. You see the band show up a few hours earlier to get set up and sound check to be able to put on the best show possible. What you nor your guests see are the hours of driving to get from spot to spot, the hours of practice, the time spent writing and perfecting the songs you love to sing along with. They do it because they love it and want to share the experience with you. The majority of them will tell you it has nothing to do with money. Very few would do it if that were the case. That doesn’t mean that they don’t need or better said deserve to be well compensated for the time that they spend with you.
Most of them will hate talking or asking about money for the show. Make it comfortable for them and be honest with them on what you are prepared to give. Hosts shouldn’t feel bad if they’re not the right fit for a band, and bands shouldn’t feel bad if they aren’t the right fit for a host because of money. Hosts that are able should be more generous than asked because bands generally ask for less than they are worth. If you’re not comfortable asking your guests to bring a set amount, be prepared to make up the difference.
As someone who wants anyone and everyone who wants to come to a show, I’ve never set an amount on a show that a band hadn’t asked me to sell tickets. Sometimes I’ve had a little out of pocket and sometimes a lot, but I’ve never not gotten value for any amount it’s cost. Don’t forget the value of showing appreciation. If a band is willing to come play; and a host is willing to give them a space to play, they’ve both given something to each other of great value. Thanking someone for sharing their gift and an open space to use it goes a long way.
Guests, thank the host and the band by giving what you’re comfortable giving. One important thing to give other than money is your attention. Enjoy your friends, but more importantly enjoy the music. Recognize those things that you might not see that have gone into making the evening happen for you.
We’ve all had a lot taken from us over the last couple of years. Let’s recognize the things we still have. Let’s value the time that we have together. Let’s value the gift in others. A band values the host and listener. As hosts and listeners, let’s see the value and honor it.