Photo by Benjamin Wilson
[May 13, 2019] 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 toll free / direct 1-866-925-6889.
Home Routes focuses its volunteer recruitment mostly in smaller communities, but concerts also work well in urban communities. 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 and quantity of professional performances.
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 - 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 support. Home Routes provides the artist with a detailed itinerary that has directions 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 them 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. 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 us. There is no cost involved except your time and some extra food.
More about Home Routes
Home Routes has been pairing artists with rural hosts throughout Western Canada over the past decade, presenting more than 7000 performances at nearly 1500 locations in front of 207,000 fans to date, generating more than four million dollars in artist revenue and royalties since its beginnings in 2007.
Home Routes’ programming emphasizes artistic excellence, diverse and entertaining performances that leave audiences breathless and wanting more. “As an organization we are born from Folk Music, and we are very excited to expand our tours,” says Leonard Podolak, Executive Director. Historically, Home Routes sought out volunteer hosts in smaller communities, who simply loved music and could host 25 people or more in their home (or other non-traditional space). Today, the series grown to include hosts from private homeowners to larger venue owners. For the live music fan, attending a house concert offers a more intimate experience than a commercial venue as attendees get a chance to meet and talk one-on-one with the performers, and to meet other people who share their interest in music. Home Routes accomplishes this while creating new opportunities both for the musicians and for audiences by increasing access and quantity of professional performances available in often under-served areas.
What the artists say:
Artists, especially emerging performers, appreciate the opportunities developed by Home Routes as well, as it gives them a chance to hone their stagecraft and banter -- and you never know who you will catch before their career takes off. William Prince, winner of the 2017 JUNO for Contemporary Roots Album of the Year, has this to say about the Home Routes advantages for artists:
“Home Routes was my introduction to touring. The first times packing my car and venturing out to places where me and my music were unknown, I was always somewhat wary because so many of my friends came back from the road with stories of rough bars and not the best living conditions - sometimes no living conditions at all! The beauty of Home Routes is the audience is so appreciative and supportive. Playing two full sets for a house of people is incredible. You can feel the response without amplification and you’re not fighting anyone in the room for your place. The hospitality is the real treat. Time spent with music lovers who cook real meals and open their homes as a haven of rest. It’s a beautiful journey. Home Routes is a treasure and tremendous support in keeping live music thriving and artists driving!”
Fellow Home Routes PEI alumna Meaghan Blanchard adds: “I cannot say enough about the amazing Home Routes experiences that I have been so lucky to have over the years. The Home Routes team out of Winnipeg works so hard to put the artists and the music first, and that is such an incredible thing. Artists feel this love, and so do the audiences. These tours allow artists like myself to cultivate new fans and friends across the country during the typical ‘off season’, while visiting towns and areas we might not get to on a typical theatre tour. I have loved meeting the host families, and have kept in touch with a number of them over the years! It’s a beautiful way to experience music.”
What the hosts say:
The Maritime Trail is the most recent Home Routes concert route and the community has been very supportive of the project. Maritime Trail hosts are enthusiastic to share their experiences.
“We are really enjoying being part of Home Routes! Thank you for taking a chance on us.” Volunteer host Julia C. - Three Fathom Harbour, NS
“Red Moon Road was here last night and they were amazing! Great show and we're really happy with the turnout. I think the best part (there are many best parts) is that a lot of friends didn't really *get* what we were doing or what Home Routes is all about. Having such fabulous performers do such a professional show to start us off will really help spread the word for upcoming shows. The other best part was having the band play guitar with my 14-year-old, who only started lessons in April, until 1 a.m. Oh, and having both Daniels play my old piano for my mother after the show. She was thrilled!” Alison F. – Moncton, NB
Home Routes/ Chemin Chez Nous thanks our funders and partners for their support. This project is made possible in part by The Canada Council for the Arts, Manitoba Sport, Culture and Heritage, FACTOR, Manitoba Arts Council and SOCAN Foundation.
LISTEN to Home Routes Radio: https://www.homeroutes.ca/home-routes-radio/
HOME ROUTES/CHEMIN CHEZ NOUS:
Home Routes/Chemin Chez Nous was incorporated as a not-for-profit arts organization in February of 2007 to create new performance opportunities 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. Follow Home Routes on twitter @homeroutes or “like” on facebook.
Kimberly Sinclair | SpinCount