Late last year I came up with the crazy idea to host gigs in my front room. Our daughter is off to Zambia with her school in the summer of 2014 to do voluntary work, and she needs to raise what seems like an impossibly huge sum of money to fund the trip. House gigs are not a new concept – while they are still rare in the UK, there is a long tradition of musicians playing in people’s homes in the US. Giving my friends an unforgettable experience in exchange for their donation seemed a very agreeable way to fundraise.
To put this all into context I should say that I am fanatical about music, especially live music. Very few of my friends, however, share my almost geekish love of it and I really wasn’t sure many people would ‘get it’ when it came to taking a punt on coming to see someone they’d never heard of play in my front room.
And I definitely wasn’t sure that we could persuade quality musicians to play here.
When Gideon Conn agreed to come and play for us in January this year, we really had no idea where this would lead. (As a total aside, if you have never seen Gideon play, please make sure you make a point of doing so – I can guarantee this talented singer/songwriter will leave you beaming from ear to ear).
I’ve been thrilled and staggered by just how completely my friends, and the artists who have played here, have embraced the concept.
Since Gideon graced our front room in January 2013, we’ve played host to an incredible array of talent: Skunk Boy Project, Billy Lockett, Gabby Young and Fiona Bevan. They will be followed by some equally wonderful artists over the coming months (see the events calendar for more details).
Every artist who has played has committed wholeheartedly to the event, giving heart and soul to stunning performances and often treating us to exclusive first plays of new songs.
We all feel honoured and privileged to see these musicians in such an intimate setting, and I have a sneaky feeling they feel the same way.
There is nothing quite like experiencing music this close and personal, and everyone who has come has taken away a memory they will treasure for ever, and an investment in an emerging musician’s career.
I take an almost maternal pride in watching the careers of the musicians who play here develop – it’s a thrill to see them get press coverage, radio play, slots in big festivals and venues and even record deals.
My front room gigs are all private, and you can only come if you know me or one of my friends. But I know that there are many artists out there who would be love to play more front room shows. If you think you could be a front room host and would like to know more about what’s involved, please drop me a line.
And if you are a musician looking for places to play, please feel free to get in touch. I always love to hear new music.