What Is This Really About?

Q. What is Home Routes all about?

A. Home Routes is about creating a linked circuit of house concerts so musicians can work on sequential days thereby making the economics of touring work. Home Routes is about bringing music to where people live.

Q. What does Home Routes mean when we talk about Folk-Roots music?

A. Within the framework of folk-roots we are talking about contemporary singer-songwriters, blues artists, bluegrass players, old time players, world music artists, folk-revivalists, country-blues, Celtic and British players and singers, Cajun and French Canadian musicians, etc., a complete spectrum of music, a bit of everything.

Q. How much money is this going to cost me?

A. Its going to cost you whatever it would cost you to set another plate or two at your dinner table the night of the show.

Q. How much money can I make doing this?

A. Nothing. Not a red cent. Zip. Nada. Guernischt. Bupkas. Rien. Zilch.

Q. If I’m not making money doing this, why should I do it?

A. For community service, for social reasons, to strengthen the cultural experience for yourself and for your neighbours.

Q. Well that sounds high minded and all, but what’s in it for me?

A. You are going to be exposed at close range to some of the best professional folk-roots musicians from North America and from Europe and Australia. If you love music this is the perfect way hear it. You’re going to make some lifetime friendships, not with every musician that comes into your house, but occasionally you’ll hit it off big time with some folks and the experience will be life altering and fun. Occasionally somebody you host will become a star and you’ll be able to say “I knew them when…”

Q. When exactly is Home Routes planning to have musician’s tour?

A. Home Routes plans to operate between September and December and again between February and April. It’s a fall and winter season especially since this effort is beginning on the prairies and we’re keeping one strong eye on the farm schedules. We want to be done before planting and we don’t want to start until harvest is finished.

Q. All things being perfect, what is Homes Routes expectation about the number of shows per season per household?

A. All things being perfect, we would hope that it would work out to 6 shows per household, three in the fall and three in the winter.

Q. How do we know that our house is suitable for a concert?

A. If you join Home Routes, we’re going to send a charming and delightful young man, who is quite expert at these matters, to visit you and between him and yourself, we’re sure it can be worked out.

Q. Is there anything else that we should know about staging a house concert, are there more expectations?

A. There are a couple of things. We’d hope you would accommodate the artist in your spare room. We also expect that after doing a couple of these shows you’ll become quite expert at understanding how to set up the space to achieve the best possible artistic results.

Q. What is the best way to get an audience to show up?

A. Start by inviting your friends, neighbours and your family and make sure to tell them that are coming to a concert and they have to listen. The party is after the show. There are some basic rules and techniques that Home Routes will be happy to pass on to new house concert presenters in the form of a comprehensive booklet. Between the home visit and the booklet you will be ready to become an impresario of skill. The basic rule is word of mouth and the shows will grow over time. Brandon was not built in a day.

Q. Will Home Routes accept everybody that applies as a house concert presenter?

A. No. It has to work as a space and we have to be confident that we want to work with you. Artists, even the toughest of them, are artists. They are brilliant and sensitive which is why they can perform and we want to know that you understand the human part of staging a show.

Q. Is Home Routes going to send a rude self-centred loud mouth idiot to my house?

A. No. We have a no jerk policy.

Q. Tell us about the money...

A. As is traditional with house concerts in North America all the money collected goes to the artist with no "profit motive" on the presenter's part.

Q. How does Home Routes pay for its ongoing operations?

A. The organization is incorporating as a not-for-profit society and will be funded by a combination of government funding, individual donations, artist contributions and corporate sponsorships.

Q. Why is it necessary for the artist booking to be centralized?

A. There are two reasons why we have decided to organize Home Routes as a centralized house concert booking service: 1) It’s the only way that we can ensure sequential performances for artists. When artists go out on tour and they work for a day or two and then they have three days off before they work again, they spend the money they have earned surviving on the road instead of going home with money in their pockets. Restaurants and hotels cost a lot of money as compared to paying rent and buying groceries. We are going to ask everybody who joins Home Routes to agree to do shows on different nights of the week. So that over the year every house concert operator will get a Monday show, a Tuesday show, a Wednesday show etc. There will be no Sunday shows at all. This will enable us to send performers out six nights a week doing back-to-back shows. 2) Secondly we have the expertise and knowledge about the artists that has taken us years to learn. By booking centrally we understand who we are sending out on the road, what they are like as people, what they are like as musicians and we have a reasonable understanding about how they will do at your house. Its our way of making sure that you and them both have a great experience.

Q. Is Home Routes only about Folk-Roots Music?

A. Duke Ellington once said “There are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind” and we at Home Routes take that quote to heart. Clearly our expertise is with folk-roots music but both our sponsors and we are aware that this concept works well with jazz and classical music. Our plan is to start with folk-roots and then we’ll expand into separate circuits around different kinds of music. I’m sure in that we will also be creating a multi-genre circuit. Stay tuned.

We hope that this begins to answer your questions. We expect that everyone of you will have a lot more questions and we expect that we will answer everyone of them and if we can’t right away, we’ll figure it out.