Take Your Power Back: Creating Your Own Shows Outside of The Venues

house party sign

As it becomes more and more expensive to play venues (due to them charging high rental fees or forcing bands to sell presale tickets to play a show, taking percentages of their merch sales, or even not paying them at all in some cases, especially when it comes to opening for a larger act), many musicians are getting really frustrated about their lack of prospects to book gigs where they can make fair pay. This problem compounds itself when bands get out on the road, and expenses incur like food, gas, vehicle problems, places to sleep for the night, etc. The list goes on and on.

One solution that I feel is viable is having house concerts. I plan to have my first house concert in December, and there are many factors that make a house concert WAY more beneficial to bands than booking a gig at a venue.

  1. The bands aren’t liable for rental fees or ticket sales as the space is donated for the event. There is a flat door cover for guests, which is split equally between the bands at the end of the night. In our case, the door fee is $20. It covers a meal, an intimate experience with the bands, and a super relaxed environment. If we get 50 people to attend, that’s $1000. A small percentage goes to cover food, but the rest gets split between the bands. A WAY better money making opportunity for the bands and also it allows for a more relaxed experience for them. I am also going to allow these bands to borrow any gear of ours they need, including the use of our PA, amps, cables, and a drum set. That way, they don’t have to bring as much gear with them on their trip. It lightens their load by quite a lot. This is WAY more cost effective for the BANDS.
  2. Our parties are BYOB. I did a Q&A on Facebook asking how much people typically spend when they go out to see a live show. The answers varied slightly, but the average amount spent was around $50. Let’s say a music fan goes to a local show and he or she pays $10 to see some local bands. That same person also runs a bar tab. It’s a weekend show, so mixed drinks typically run about $7, beers about $5 (some places charge WAY more than that).  If you have four drinks, that’s anywhere from $20 to $28, plus tip,  and that doesn’t include the band merch factor. If the same person buys merch from the bands, they could be spending anywhere from $5-$20, sometimes more. If there is paid parking (this happens mostly in downtown spots but it can happen outside of downtown, too) that can run anywhere from $10-$20 (sometimes more, depending on where parking is available). Now, this person has spent a LOT of money going to a venue to see a show. However, if you go to the house party, There’s a $20 flat cover and you get to bring all the alcohol you want. No tip, no paid parking as parking on the street is ample, PLUS you get a meal included and comfy couches to chill on. In this case, it’s WAY more cost effective for the GUESTS.
  3. We will be live streaming the bands on Periscope and linking that feed to social media. I will also be creating a You Tube Channel that has video from these house parties and the bands playing them. There will be a person interviewing the bands and the guests, and those interviews will also be available on the live stream and the You Tube Channel. This will help get the word out that house concerts are fun, viable solutions to the problems that venues present to bands.

The harder the venues make it on the bands to play and make money, the more things like house concerts and DIY venues are going to pop up. There ARE actually people that give a damn about a vibrant local music scene, like myself, and we plan to revitalize it in every manner possible without using the venues, and the promoters, and the managers, and the labels, and the bookers. We will be strictly DIY and build a STRONG community of DIY artists. We are sick of paying high rental fees to venues to book shows there. We are sick of not getting paid at all. If we open for a larger act, even throwing bands $50 would be something, but some won’t even do that. Lots of these venues do nothing to promote their shows, yet we are expected to do all the pounding of the pavement to promote and bring in the people AND pay them a rental fee to play there? No. We are sick of this scheme. The house party solves all these issues, from the bands getting paid well, and the guests spending less money and getting more bang for their buck. It is my hope that more people will come up with their own creative DIY shows using their own formulas, to TRULY build a kick ass musical community the way it supposed to function… by everyone supporting and building up everyone else, via fun and new methods that go completely outside the norms and the system. By having radically different types of shows and even DIY small music festivals. If you have the space, help out the musical community by offering it for a show. Be creative and come up with your own ideas. Pay the bands well. Make the guests 100% happy. Get the word out about what you are doing . It is the dawn of a new age, and we must break free of the doldrums of traditional thinking. It is our time, people. Believe in your own personal power and use it to uplift the creative community. Together, we can make this happen.

Thank you for your support



How Much it Will Cost Local Bands to Play Different Venues in Houston, Texas

This document will allow you, the bands in Houston, Texas to view the various payment plans that some venues in our city have. I plan to build on this document as I receive more information from venue bookers, so this is list is only the beginning of  a constant and evolving process. Hopefully, this will allow you, the musicians, to weigh your options better when it comes to booking your shows. Please note that in each instance, I have directly spoken with the person that books shows at each of these venues and this information is verbatim, direct from them. I hope to add more venues to this list over time, and also add any information that any of you may have on venues that are out of Houston and even out of Texas. I’d like this to be a work in progress, so we can all easily access information that helps us to make more informed decisions about where we want to book our shows. Also, please note that contacting the person booking the venue and discussing your own ideas for shows can never hurt… they might be willing to work with you in certain instances and make exceptions to some of these payment plans. I hope all of you find this informative and I wish you the best of luck in all of your musical endeavors!



Rudyard’s British Pub

*Cost to the bands to play there: (updated 11/8/15) $60 ($45 to sound person, $15 to door person)

*How payment works: The entire door to split however they would like, door cover is decided by the bands booking the show.

*Capacity: 200 for the upstairs room (this is where the bands play)

*Age limit for shows: 21+

*Booking Contact: Stacy (Punk Rock Stacy) or email at: rudyards@hotmail.com

*Venue Phone Number: (713) 521-0521

*Venue Address: 2010 Waugh Drive Houston, Texas

*Website: www.rudyardspub.com

Union Tavern

*Cost to the bands to play there: None, and there is never a door cover

*How payment works: (Updated 11/6/15) For Mike BBQ’s shows, which are the first 2 Fridays of each month: 3 band shows per show, $100 to the headliner, $50 to the middle band, $50 to the opener, PLUS THE PA IS PROVIDED.

* If the bar makes $3000, there is an additional $200 payout and then $200 for every thousand the bar sells after that.

* The headlining band is given the additional money, if any is made, and that headlining band decides how to split that extra money with the other bands.


*Capacity: 80-100

*Booking contact: (Updated 11/6/15) For the first 2 Fridays of each month: Mike BBQ themikebbq@gmail.com

*Venue Phone Number: (281) 486-6644

*Venue Address: 435 El Dorado Street Houston, Texas 77598

*Website: http://www.uniontavernhouston.com/

Fitzgerald’s UPDATE 8/11/2016: Fitzgerald’s is open for operation, but I’m not exactly sure how they are paying the bands at this time. I know Sara Fitzgerald is overseeing the operations there, but I do not know who is in charge of booking right now. Last I heard Sara was to begin her focus on booking more bluegrass, blues, and country acts, but on social media I have seen rock acts still being booked there. You might want to contact the venue or stop by and talk to them to find out exactly what kind of payment and booking options they have going right now.


*Cost to the bands to play there: *(Updated 11/14/15): Rental fee, starting at $300. In rare instances, a door split can be worked out, but a rental agreement is typical and encouraged there.

*(Update 11/14/15): Zack mentioned to me today that if the BAR does well at a show there he will likely take LESS in rental fees from the door. *He also mentioned that he would never find it appropriate to decide to take any additional money from an artist after any previous arrangement has been made with them. He also mentioned to me that that he has never and would never have any interest in charging a touring band a rental fee.* So, touring bands are paid directly and never charged a rental fee.

*How payment works: (Updated 11/14/15): Bands keep 100% of the door profits after the rental fee has been made from the door covers. If the bands do not achieve their agreed upon rental fee from the door covers, then the venue will not charge you the portion you didn’t make. Also, if local bands book an out of town act on their bill, and the local bands can’t meet the agreed  rental fee via door covers, then Walter’s will spot the out of town band gas money.

*Capacity: 500

*Booking Contact: Zack or John, email at: booking@waltersdowntown.com

*Venue Phone Number: 713.222.2679

*Venue Address: 1120 Naylor Street Houston, TX 77002

*Website: http://www.waltersdowntown.com

Alley Kat

*Cost to the bands to play there:  $150 fee, which is negotiable (covers sound and door person) for upstairs room where the bands play. Also, bands can negotiate for a % of bar sales too, but they will need to speak to the GM about that.

*How payment works: Bands keep all the door covers after the $150 fee (or whatever fee is negotiated)  is met, or if they negotiate for a percentage of bar sales, they will receive that percentage.

*Capacity: 120 upstairs (where the bands play)

*Booking Contact: AR*V booking (contact them through Facebook), or email at: pephoutx@yahoo.com

*Age limit for shows: 21+

*Room/ PA specs: Stage is 25 feet square, and PA includes a Yamaha 16 channel (12 xlr) board, onboard effects, yamaha mains, three monitors (on two mixes).

*Venue Phone Number: (713) 874-0722

*Venue Address: 3718 Main Street Houston, TX 77002

*Website: None yet, but here is their Facebook page link: http://www.facebook.com/TheAlleyKatHouston


*Cost to the bands to play there: $500 for the PA, which must be brought in and set up by the sound crew. $140 for the setup of lighting and for the light person. Please also note the following information from their website for booking shows there: “We DO schedule, support & seek local bands/artists & other *large events such as self `promoted & *equipped local showcases, sponsored shows/events, record release parties, fashion shows, Private parties, Birthday/Anniversary/Holiday parties etc. *PLEASE BE ADVISED that unless expected attendance exceeds 150-300 or more, because of expense for both you & us, we generally recommend a smaller venue that would suit you better.”

*How payment works: You can charge whatever cover you want at the door. If the bar sells $2500 in alcohol, then the bands get to keep the entire door. If the bar does not sell $2500 in alcohol, then whatever money the bar did not make will be taken from the door covers and the bands get the remainder of the door covers.

*Capacity: 800

*Booking contact: Rudi Bunch@ rudi@numbersnightclub.com or 713-825-7641. 

*Age limit for shows: Varies.

*Venue Phone Number: (713)521-1121

*Venue Address: 300 Westheimer Houston, Texas 77006

*Website: numbersnightclub.com  Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/numbersnightclub