Frequently Asked Questions About House Party Shows

Every fall since 2007, I’ve embarked on something that many of my wizardly colleagues feel is superfluous and/or risky: Fall Tour. While summer tours bring the promise of big crowds and successful shows, fall tours involve scary things like school nights and cold weather. Fall tours also involve increasing the frequency with which you play in certain cities, resulting in the fairly difficult task of convincing a financially-strapped public library to host you multiple times in a year. Some libraries have the budget and the staff to handle several wizard rock shows a year, but most of them are really only interested in hosting one big event during the summer.

So, every fall since 2007, I’ve accepted the inevitability of finding alternative venues for shows. Wizard rock is a tough sell for many clubs, and awesome DIY spaces like churches and community centers are relatively hard to find. And that’s why we occasionally resort to house party shows.

Personally, I love house party shows. Depending on the house and the group of attendees, house shows range from small, intimate gatherings to all-out dance parties, and all potential scenarios have their advantages. Some houses are so much fun that we actually prefer them to the local library. Regardless, there are some fans who just don’t feel comfortable attending a show at a stranger’s house, and we totally get that. This blog is an attempt to provide some reassurance for anyone who feels unsure about attending one of our house shows this fall.

Here are some questions and answers!

Q. I was so excited that you’re playing in my city this fall, but then I saw that you’re playing at someone’s house. Am I still allowed to come to the show, even though I don’t know the host?

A. YES! Anyone can attend the show! Unless we’ve specifically marked an event as a “private party,” the show is completely open to the public.

Q. I just googled “Bob’s House” and I didn’t come up with anything. Is this a real place?

A. Yes! It’s somebody’s house, not a proper venue, and that’s why it doesn’t come up in general searches. We’ve probably provided the address for you on our show calendar.

Q. There is no address for “Bob’s House” on your show calendar. Instead, you told me to email you for the address. Does this mean the show isn’t open to the public?

A. The show is open to the public! It just means that the host isn’t comfortable with us posting his address on the internet. Just email me as directed and I will send you the address ASAP!

Q. I feel really awkward showing up at a random stranger’s house. Should I allow my feelings of awkwardness to prevent me from attending this show?

A. No! You should just come to the show and have a great time like you would at a library show! The host is a fellow wizard rock fan and so are all the other attendees. If you feel weird about it, bring a friend! And remember, the bands are often also entering the house of a stranger, and our willingness to do this has led to many wonderful friendships throughout the country. Trust us — we would not invite you into a situation that’s unsafe.

Q. My parents are not cool with me attending this house party show. Is there anything I should say to them to convince them that it’s okay?

A. Sure! Tell them that we play house party shows all the time, and it’s just as safe as a public library show. If there are any problems whatsoever, we are responsible adults and we will take care of it! That said, if your parents still have doubts, you should just bring them to the show! Parents come to our house party shows all the time, and many of them end up becoming fans!

Q. Will there be alcohol at this party?

A. Sometimes. This all depends on what the host wants. We let the hosts know ahead of time that we do not want minors to consume alcohol at our shows. Beyond that, it’s really the responsibility of the host to regulate alcohol consumption in his or her own home. Nine times out of ten, there’s no alcohol at these shows.

Q. Why the hell can’t you just be normal and play at a public library?

A. Here, I’ll paste in some text from the library’s response to my booking inquiry: “We are poor. Please leave us alone until next summer.”

Q. Why are you charging admission to your house party show? I liked it better when your shows were free.

A. We’re real people who pay rent and bills, and we need to get paid for the work we do, just like everybody else who works. Libraries often pay us performance fees that cover our travel expenses and allow us to retain the money we make on merch sales so we can pay rent and bills when we get home. If we’re playing house party shows, we’re not getting paid by libraries, and that means we need to charge an admission fee to help cover travel costs. We believe our admission fees are incredibly cheap compared to what’s normal at mainstream and indie shows nowadays. We’re actually playing at an awesome indie venue in Hamden CT on November 12 and the admission fee is $10 — so one could argue that everyone at our house party shows is getting a sweet deal! Seriously, that $8 admission goes straight to our gas tank, and our ability to put gas in our gas tank is what makes it possible for us to play a show in your wonderful town! 😀

Q. Do I have to RSVP on Facebook?

A. No, but we’d love it if you did so we can get an idea of who’s coming to the show!

Q. I see you still haven’t secured a venue in my town! How do I go about booking you to play at MY house?

A. You’re awesome! Just send me an inquiry at thewhompingwillows@gmail.com and we’ll talk!

Q. I have a question that you haven’t answered in this blog. How can I go about asking you another question?

A. Leave your question in the comments and I’ll answer you ASAP! 😀

Love,
Matt

6 Comments

  • By Alli, September 27, 2010 @ 5:02 pm

    As a house party host, I want to say that house parties are amazing and I’m so happy to have opened my home to wrockers. It’s been a totally un-awkward and amazing experience every time.

    Looking forward to seeing you in a few weeks, Matt!

  • By matt, September 27, 2010 @ 6:00 pm

    Thanks, Alli! Your house is one of those that has become more desirable to me than libraries. And considering we already have 40+ RSVPs for our show at your house in October, I think the fans feel the same way. 😀 Can’t wait!!

  • By Nikki, September 28, 2010 @ 4:40 am

    I hosted an house party a few years ago and made some amazing friends that night. I’m so glad you guys came to my house! ^_^

  • By Cheryl, September 29, 2010 @ 3:37 am

    You can host a show at my house any time. I’d love to see you play again!

  • By Alexa, October 16, 2010 @ 12:14 am

    Hey guys I feel really confident about going to see whompy in December I’ve. Never seen whompy or Harry and the potters so I’m kind of nervous about going to it because it’s a big Yule ball and I’m really shy how do I pick up confidence to be there and want to be happy being there. I don’t know who Harry and the potters are or whompy that much how do I get prepared?

  • By Alexa, November 11, 2010 @ 1:48 am

    Hey Matt im thinking about a venue but if i meet you in december we can talk about the venue then 🙂 goodluck on the rest of tour and we will get to know each other

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