Hosts FAQ


“…this Home Routes Concert Series is all we thought it would be and more.  Everyone (performers and guests) has left our home very happy and satisfied with the experience.  It has been a pleasure to open up our home and share a meal and fellowship with these wonderful musicians, Canadians, and friends.” ~ Lawrence & Betty, Porcupine Plain, SK

Q. What expenses are involved in hosting Home Routes concerts?

A. The time it takes you to invite your friends, neighbours and family to a concert, an extra plate of food at dinner and a comfy bed for the artists at night.

Q: How many people are expected to attend?

A. Generally, we like to average about 30 once you’re established.

Q. How much money will I make doing this?

A. Nothing, not a red cent, zip, double zip, nada, guernischt, bupkas, rien or zilch.

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

A. For love of music and for community service to strengthen the kinship among your family, friends, neighbours, and their friends; to bring live music to your community; to support the artists; to have an astonishing amount of fun.

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

A. Over time you will be exposed at close range to some of the finest professional folk-roots musicians from North America and around the world. If you love music, this is the perfect way to hear it. You will make lifetime friendships and the experience will be life altering and fun.

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

A. All things being perfect, each home on a circuit is provided with six shows, three in the fall and three in the late winter.

Q. Do I have to present all six?

A. We’ve seen that our format works very well when a host does all six shows. However it works equally as well when two families in the same community share the six shows. There are many duel host combination that share the six concerts between them and also share their audience. That way not only is the work load divided in half but each home creates its own unique experience within the community and that relationship really helps to build the overall community audience.

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

A. House concerts are promoted by word of mouth, email and the good ol’ telephone. Start by inviting your friends, family and neighbours. Once you’ve got a core audience word of mouth will help it grow. It’s also a good idea to reach out to community organizations and newspapers to help spread the word as well.  There are some basic rules and techniques that we pass on to new volunteer concert hosts in the form of a comprehensive booklet and by utilizing our team, by phone or email, at your convenience. We are here to help you succeed. Before you know it you will be a grassroots living room impresario of no small skill!

Q. Will Home Routes accept everybody that applies to be a volunteer concert host?

A. No. The home has to work as a space and we have to be confident that Home Routes can work for your particular circumstances. Artists, even the toughest of them, are artists. They are brilliant and sensitive which is why they can perform and we will want to know that you understand the human part of caring for an artist and staging a show.

Q. Do I get to pick the artists?

A. The Home Routes Artistic Director plans an entertaining and diverse concert series for hundreds of volunteer concert hosts across the country. Audiences have come to trust our artistic approach. Decisions are made with the help of regularly convened juries, however we also value your suggestions.

Q. How does the artist make money?

A. These are professional artists doing professional concerts and admission is charged at the door. The artist keeps the admission of the shows as well as money from their record sales. All revenue from ticket and product sales from every concert goes directly to the performers. Home Routes takes a 15% commission from the artist once the tour is over, which makes up about 24% of our operating budget.  Also songwriters are eligible to receive performance royalties from their professional rights organization.

Q. Is my house suitable?

A. Organizing your home as a performance space is easier than most people imagine. Volunteer concert hosts have come up with ingenious solutions over the years utilizing everything from barns to basements. We’re quite experienced at doing this now that we’re into our 5th season and we will work with you to determine whether your home is appropriate and which configuration works best. Here are some basic considerations:

  • House concerts are almost always a solo performer or a duo. Occasionally you will see a trio but that would be a rare exception.
  • The performers will need a performance area of some kind – maybe just a throw rug, maybe something more elaborate. A space of approximately 4′ by 6′ should do. When they’re performing they’ll need to be seen and heard by the audience. Some performers like to stand and some like to sit and the space needs to be able to accommodate both of those things.
  • You’ll need adequate space and chairs for the audience. They need some access to be able to get to and from those seats, not just at the beginning and end but sometimes, given the nature of nature, during the show.
  •  Round up all of your chairs: kitchen, dining room and office chairs are fine. If you don’t have enough chairs at home, you may find that your neighbours won’t mind bringing a few, or that the local hall or church has some folding chairs they could lend out. This will give you a good idea of the number of people you can fit. It makes perfect sense to do a dry run just to see how it fits and also to measure your capacity.
  • Make sure people can reach your room and move around in it. You might be able to cram 40 chairs into your den, but without space for the performers to get to and from the stage, and for listeners to get to and from their seats, it could be unworkable. Ideally, you would like the audience to enter towards the back of the room (away from where you put the performance area) so guests won’t cross in front of the performance once it’s underway.
  • Parking: If parking areas are not obvious, ensure directions to your home include the location(s) people could/should park their vehicles.

Q. How do I sign up?

A. Right on! Call us at our toll free number 1-866-925-6889 or email and we’ll be happy to hear from you and we’ll do our best to answer all your questions and get you signed up. If we’re not in when you call, leave a message and we’ll call you back.

For more Frequently Asked Questions, click here.