We love live music around here. We love concerts and plays and broadway. We love the arts. We play music and sing together as a hobby. And over the past year (maybe a little more) we have been hosting concerts in our basement.
And we get a lot of the same questions about it…. “Are you scared that the band might steal something or murder your family in their sleep? Ha ha, but really… So how do the artists make money? From grants? Do they sell merchandise and the concert is free? Do you advertise in the local paper or just have friends and family come?” So I was thinking I’d answer a lot of them. And share some pictures of all of the artists who have come (and i made them let me take their picture) and links to their websites and music.
1. “How did you get started doing this?” About a year ago Regan and I attended a concert in Lethbridge of a musician we both really love named Dan Mangan. (And if you haven’t heard of him, you’re welcome for introducing you to him. And go watch and listen to one of my fav songs of his) After the concert Regan was reading Dan’s website and found that he had an organisation where lesser known artists would travel around and do basement concerts in peoples homes. So Regan emailed and signed us up. I was a little unsure about the whole thing at first. But I love it. March 4, 2016 was our first one with The Crackling. And since then we’ve had Jessie Speed, Gabe Olsen, Barefoot Movement, Ben Bedford and this Thursday night we have Sweet Alibi coming. The first two artists were with one company, Gabe is a friend I grew up with and the last three are from an organisation called Home Roots. We’ve hosted most of them in our basement but a couple we’ve had at the red barn here in Raymond.
2. “How do the artists make money?” All the ticket money goes to the artists. We don’t keep any. And we provide meals for them and a place to stay. They usually show up in the afternoon the day of the concert and we have supper together. And then after the concert they stay over at our house and we feed them breakfast the next morning before they go on to the next home. They also all have sold CDs and some shirts.
3. “Do you advertise in the local paper or just have friends and family come?” We have a Facebook group for our concerts. That was a later addition. I post about it on Facebook and for this upcoming one my friend Stewart made posters that I hung up around town. We are still trying to figure out the best way to get people to know about the concerts. Many, many people say they want to come and support it and then don’t come. I understand that life gets busy, but I also think that if you love live music and you want to see it so up close and personal, there is no better way. I’m thinking of collecting an email list for the older generation that isn’t on Facebook but that would come and support live music.
4. “How do you do this with your kids?Are you scared that the band might steal something or murder your family in their sleep?”
Hahahah. A LOT of people have asked about if it’s weird to have them in our home. The very first time I was nervous – only because we had never done it before and I didn’t know if it’d be strange. Our kids actually mostly went and stayed at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. But i think it is so good for our kids to be exposed to others and musicians and every single person has been respectful and kind and we have welcomed them into our home and made new friends. A few of them all our kids have been up but lots we’ve just put them to bed first. Our older kids are usually up and listen to it. I am sure that our house is different than pretty much every other house they go to on their tours. No coffee for breakfast, no alcohol or smoking, Lots of kids running around, a blessing on the food before we eat. I’d like to think its a good experience for all of us involved. And never once have I ever felt unsafe doing it.
Regan and I have talked about it many times, that we’d love to fill the theatre one day with a band. Lots of great music goes to Fort Macleod. Lots of awesome artists go there and it’s For Macleod! I kept meaning to email the people who run it and talk to them. But then we started with Home routes and it arranges one a month. So now that is enough for our family. Maybe in the future we’ll pursue that more, but for now we love that we get to host and enjoy live music and support the arts in Raymond.