HouseConcertsAustralia’s Founder On Building A House Concert Network & Indie Music Touring

Lisa-j-astonHaving previously written about ConcertsInYourHome and Slowbizz.com, I was interested in finding out more about HouseConcertsAustralia. I interviewed founder Lisa J. Aston by email and, in addition to sharing more about the network, she also included some tips for folks interested in starting their own house concert network and for artists interested in arranging tours through such networks.

HouseConcertsAustralia was founded in late 2009 after Lisa J. Aston spoke with a musician friend who had performed some house concerts in the UK. Though there was no formal network for organizing such shows in Australia, there was a long-standing tradition of house concerts with a special relationship to folk music.

In fact, when she launched her site she received some criticism from purists who felt that such venues should be reserved for folk music. Since Aston felt like it was a great opportunity for artists across genres, she continued ahead with that in mind.

HouseConcertsAustralia is hosted on the Ning platform and, as you'll see on the site, you have to register to get past the front page. There's plenty of introductory info available but Aston feels it's important to protect people's privacy and also to filter membership so she screens each membership by hand.

There is an annual fee for artists and for listening rooms, small commercial venues that are focused on the concert experience rather than a night at the bar or dinner with music in the background. Hosts and concert goers can join for free.

Over the last three years approximately 60 concerts have been organized through HouseConcertsAustralia with over 300 members including around 90 hosts, 200 artists and the rest concert goers that she views as potential hosts.

Aston spoke with both Fran Snyder of ConcertsInYourHome, based in the U.S., and Rob Ellen of The House Concert European Hub who were both quite helpful. She took what she considered the best of both networks into account when organizing HouseConcertsAustralia but feels that the basic concepts are the same. In face, she offers a download of Snyder's House Concert Guide on her homepage where she shares introductory info.

In addition to the network site, news is shared via MySpace, Twitter and on not just one but two Facebook pages.

When asked if she had advice for folks setting up a house concert network in her area, Aston stated:

"Hook up with myself, Fran and Rob and pick our brains for how to get started. I found that Fran and Rob’s experience was invaluable and being the student saved me a lot of time and heartache. And most importantly, regulate your membership base. Keep it honest, professional and clean. A solid reputation is everything."

She also encouraged international artists to check things out:

"We have quite a healthy handful of international artists who come to our shores to play the bigger festivals and book house concerts in between. You will also see on our site that I make mention of both Fran and Rob’s touring circuits. We all want to see an international house concert circuit."

And suggested:

"Join our network! Make yourself known to our hosts and to our other artists. A couple of artists have hooked up through HCA, created a tour of the East Coast of Australia which attracted the attention of a label in the U.S. They are now setting off on a U.S. tour in June! (Trysette and Fiona Joy Hawkins)"

So if you're thinking about going international, it sounds like house concert networks might be a great place to start or be positive vehicles for expanding your options.


Hypebot Features Writer Clyde Smith blogs about business at Flux Research: Business & Revenue Models and about dance at All World Dance: News. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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1 Comment

  1. Ha, that’s funny that some people think that these shows should be limited to folk artists. I’m glad that Lisa did not listen to that and has reached out to other genres. It’s very nice to see more and more of these networks pop up. You should also check out Sofar (Songs From A Room), which is a similar movement and video series. We have more than 15 cities around the world that host secret living room shows.

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