An article published yesterday in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (aka the Strib locally) about house concerts caught my interest and I thought it'd be interesting to highlight. A St. Louis Park (a Minneapolis suburb) couple, Al Boyce and Beth Williams, have been hosting folk music concerts at their house for over ten years without incident until this year. Since they had been advertising the shows with flyers in their neighborhood and charging admission, the city ruled that this "constituted illegal commercial activity in a residential neighborhood." Boyce met with city officials and they said that they could continue to host concerts as long as they are not advertised and no admission is charged. "We will invite our friends and ask for donations to the artist," said Boyce. Read the full story here.
I have no idea what ordinances in other cities in the metro area say about house shows or noise restrictions that would more likely apply to metal or punk shows rather than folk music, but it's great to see that at least one local government is willing to let house concerts take place. Although I haven't been to one in a long time, house parties are important underground outlets for young bands.
This news comes on the heels of an article in the Strib last month about house concerts around the Twin Cities and St. Cloud. This article features Pat DiNizio, singer and guitarist for The Smithereens, and describes his experiences playing private house parties, including a recent one in St. Cloud. What I found most surprising is that there are nationally-known acts that are willing to do this; DiNizio will play 70-80 house parties this year alone.
Remember that it's important to check your city's ordinances and regulations on noise, promotion, and alcohol in advance of any planned house concert.