ST. PETERSBURG — An annual weeklong music festival that celebrates house concerts gets under way Tuesday night and runs through Sunday, featuring more than 50 concerts, mostly in private homes throughout the state, and three public performances in Pinellas County.
The Listening Room Festival will have more than a dozen performers at more than 30 events in the Tampa Bay area, including opening night at the Hideaway Cafe at 1756 Central Ave., St. Petersburg; a closing night concert at the Palladium; and Saturday night public performance at the City of Imagination Playhouse in Gulfport.
Performing at the Palladium on Sunday are singer/songwriter Rebecca Loeb from Texas who was featured on NBC’s “The Voice;” Florida-based guitar player Shaun Hopper; Carli and Julie Kennedy, award-winning twins from Canada; singer/songwriter Mieka Pauley from New York; Florida acoustic folk trio The Currys; and Tennessee songbird Kira Small, the 2012 Independent Music Award VoxPop Winner. Admission is $18.
Small, Pauley and the Kennedy sisters will perform at the kick-off party Tuesday night at the Hideaway. Admission is $10 at the door. For more information on all events check the website.
“This is our third year and it just keeps growing; this year we have added office concerts, too,” says festival founder Fran Snyder, a St. Petersburg-based singer/songwriter.
Snyder also runs the Concerts in Your Home website which helps match traveling musical acts with music lovers who agree to host concerts in their homes. “House concerts have become vital for traveling artists; especially independent acts; last year there were more than 2,000 events worldwide,” says Snyder.
He says he found house concerts rewarding because the audience comes to listen and gets to know the performer. The audience can be as small as 10 people or more than 30, depending on the size of the room.
“House concerts have been bringing communities and neighborhoods together for decades,” he adds. “What better way to enjoy live music than in a cozy living room with good friends?”
Snyder has built up a network of more than 30 people in the area who open up their living rooms, dens, patios or backyards for musical entertainment. Those interested in attending house concerts can apply through the website.
Snyder says the expansion into office concerts is gaining in popularity with several scheduled this week. “We present it as a wellness opportunity, a 35-minute concert that offers a stress-relieving break, or morale boost during the day,” he says. The company covers the cost ($350 and up). With the festival, Snyder is launching a new site.