By: CHRISTINA CLARK
Three houses in three neighborhoods, three shows in three days. The concept for Homebody: A House Concert Festival in South Bend is an expansion upon the house shows that Myles Robertson hopes to bring more of to the area.
Robertson is an IU South Bend alumnus from the first round of graduates of the Sustainability program. He is the general manager of the Purple Porch Co-Op, working with local and regional farmers and vendors. He is also a co-founder of The Birdsell Project, which repurposes unique and under-utilized spaces in the South Bend area and transforms them into creative spaces, often with artists’ installations on display.
After doing house concerts personally for about two and a half years, Robertson decided last fall to start planning the festival.
“Initially the inspiration was just that it seemed like a cool way to grow what I’m doing with house concerts. Now organizing it, I realize it’s a good way to build the network of house concert venues in South Bend so that touring musicians who do house concerts might have more locations to choose from,” Robertson said.
He also added that he hoped to “broaden the audience that comes to house concerts. Hopefully at the end of this there is a couple hundred new people interested in going to house concerts.”
He felt a frustration when he would go to local shows and hang out for a couple hours and hear about an hour of music between the short set times, and long breakdown and set up times the bands required. Giving more control to the artist with longer set times in a more intimate environment made sense to Robertson.
“I have one musician with 75-minutes in a single set, so you really get a chance to get a feel for what they do,” he said. “It’s easier to pay a single musician well, so as a result people that play in my house tend to get paid better than they’d get paid anywhere else in South Bend,” he said.
He also believes that the more intimate environment “allows for a dialogue between the musician and audience.”
For those who have never been to a house concert before, Robertson volunteers the etiquette surrounding it, according to how he’s hosted shows in the past.
“I’d expect doors usually open an hour before the show. Come hang out. It’s B.Y.O.B. [bring your own bottle]. We usually have some records playing beforehand that kind of complement what the live performance will be. I guess expect a crowd of, like, roughly 30 people who are really interested in intently listening to the music,” he said.
Depending on the climate of the evening, expect some time to speak with the artists and get to know the people in the room.
The talent featured in the lineup over the three day concert series highlights music that works in the intimate environment of a house show. Robertson describes the talent as folk singers/songwriters, jazz, classical, indie with some electronic elements. The acts come from around the States from right here in Indiana, to Maine and Alaska. One act, Sara and Kenny, resides in Wisconsin but has roots in Italy as well. Michael Howard, Caroline Cotter, Humbird, V. Soul, Chris Dupont, Adam Shead, Sara and Kenny, and local artists Woolen Lover and Eli Kahn will be serenading and interacting through their sets.
The three neighborhoods featured in the Homebody Concert Series are all in South Bend: the Near Northwest Neighborhood on Friday, the Near West Neighborhood on Saturday and Monroe Park Neighborhood on Sunday. The exact locations are made known after tickets are purchased, and the single shows cost $10 ahead of time, $25 for a day pass, and $50 for a full weekend pass to get into all nine of the shows. Each set will be 75-minutes in length, and the locations have self-transportation built in with “walkability and bikeability” at their core. For those interested in learning more and in purchasing tickets, there is information available at homebodyhouseconcertfest.com.