Putnam Smith House ConcertWhat is a House Concert?
A House Concert is a way to turn your living room into a live, casual – and unplugged! – music venue for one night. It is also the most viable way for folk music and musicians to survive! By hosting, you are supporting the arts and keeping the folk traditions alive and thriving. It’s both the past and the future of folk music!!

Click on these song titles to see Putnam performing LIVE at a house concert in Winnipeg, Canada (12/3/10):
Carlos the Mechanic

How Do I Host a House Concert?
It’s relatively easy! Just invite 25 or more friends, family, neighbors to a concert at your home.

Gather chairs, patio furniture, or ask your guest to bring a camp chair with them. Arrange the seating in concert style. Cozy is good!

How Much Does It Cost?
When inviting folks to come, let them know that there will be a suggested donation of $10-15 ($15-20 if I’m playing with another musician). If it seems weird to be charging your friends, simply place a jar with a sign that reads:

$15 suggested donation
All proceeds go to the musicians

House Concert or House Party?
A house concert is a sit-down, listening affair, usually in someone’s living room. If you want to hire me for an event (wedding, birthday party, outdoor Barbeque) — that is a totally different thing. I do both!  But please keep in mind, that they are VERY different experiences, for audience and performer alike. Moneywise, too, they’re different. I find people are quite happy to put in the $10 suggested donation, if they’re coming to listen to a concert. They’re supporting folk music! They buy CDs! On the other hand, if the music is background, people expect that the band is getting paid. Passing around a hat to pay for the ‘entertainment’ at your party gets a little embarrassing for…everyone. (If you want to know my fees for playing an event, just send me an email. I also play weddings and other events with my contradance band, Sassafras Stomp!)

Why Must a House Concert be Indoors?
As soon as things are outside, you need a PA system, and that encourages people to talk and hang out, rather than sit down and listen to a show. In other words, once outdoors, things invariably become a party — which is fine! — but it’s no longer a house concert (see above!).

Food and Drink?
That is up to you as host — some like to put out some snacks and drinks, but a BYOB works great too. Or, for a friendly gathering beforehand – potluck!

How long do you play?
Normally, I play a 45 minute set. Then I take a break to enjoy refreshments and sell CDs, and for folks to mingle. After a 15 minute intermission, I come back for a slightly shorter set. Typically they start at 7 P.M. and are over by 9 P.M. It ends up being not just a night of great music, but a fun social event too!

Additional Resources:

Where do I Sign Up?
I am looking forward to playing in your living room! To learn more about hosting, or to talk more about the possibility of setting up a concert in your home, you can email me at:

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