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How would you like to host concerts in your home? Home Routes is looking for hosts

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Ian Tamblyn performing a house concert with Anne Lindsay. Photo by Elizabeth Szekeres.

Home Routes/Chemin Chez Nous, the Winnipeg-based house concert network, is seeking hosts from coast to coast in Canada to join their network of volunteer hosts . If you love music and community, then Home Routes may be for you! For the upcoming Fall 2019 season, Home Routes is seeking volunteers to host world class artists in their homes and/or other community venues. There is no cost involved except your time and some extra food. Interested parties are encouraged to contact Home Routes to learn more, or to call them toll free at 1-866-925-6889.

Home Routes focuses its volunteer recruitment mostly in smaller communities, but concerts also work well in urban centres. All interested parties are welcome, regardless of experience, as Home Routes assists all volunteer hosts with the entire process, from setting up the event to seeking promotional support. The impact creates new opportunities both for the musicians and the audience by increasing access to professional performances.

The Home Routes/Chemin Chez Nous circuit helps artists to overcome the cost barriers of traveling long distances, while introducing communities to artists and performances that otherwise might not happen in that area. In this way, the Home Routes model offers a viable and lasting alternative to the traditional relationship between artist and volunteer hosts because it marries the needs of both into one dynamic program. Artists pay their own transportation costs and the hosts put them up and feed them all along the circuits. It’s a win win!

How Does It Work?

Home Routes produces tours for French and English-speaking musicians and audiences in rural, remote and urban communities across Canada, hosted by volunteers in their homes and other community venues.

The musicians receive a block of typically 12 shows in 14 days on one of the routes. Tours are routed so that the artists only have to travel from one to four hours between communities. The host curates the audience, which is made up of friends, family, and other community members.

Home Routes identifies and selects artists for its projects by attending conferences and industry showcases across Canada. They then coordinate tours in volunteer hosts’ homes and give both parties the tools they need to fulfill their obligations. Home Routes provides the artist with a detailed itinerary that has directions to the presenters homes and all the contact info required for the tour. Home Routes provides the host with digital and printed promotional materials as well as recordings, in order to help promote the event. Once the hosts are familiar with the artists, they can be more prepared to talk about them when inviting their friends and neighbors.

Each volunteer house concert host presents six shows over the course of a season, which runs October to May, with a break for the winter holidays. Hosts can either present them all or split with a friend or neighbor, and all of the communities on the route rotate through the days of the week so one doesn’t get stuck with one particular day of the week all the time. The host provides an extra plate of food at dinnertime and provides a clean, comfortable and private room for the artist to sleep overnight in an extra room in the house. Because of this, Home Routes only engages solos, duos and trios.

When highly talented, professional musicians frequently come from all over North America and beyond to perform in your neighborhood, it’s only a matter of time before a regular crowd develops. It’s a true “if you build it, they will come” model. There are some volunteer house concert hosts that have been presenting Home Routes concerts since our first season in 2007. Others are brand new and are developing the audience in their community.

House concerts have a triple function: they support artists’ ability to make a living, they make music accessible on a grassroots level to all corners of Canada, and they connect people — a social engine that builds community.

If you would like to become a house concert host and present live music in your town, please contact them. There is no cost involved except your time and some extra food.

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