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Experience a concert in your home using HomeDitty

HomeDitty house concerts

Your next date can be booked with HomeDitty.

A site that functions like a dating website, HomeDitty pairs homeowners who are interested in hosting a house concert with musicians who are willing and able to perform in living rooms on their days off as they travel on their own tour.

Hosting house concerts was common in the twentieth century and is making a resurgence. HomeDitty aims to make it easier finding musicians for those wanting to host.

Katie Byers is the founder of the Des Moines-based HomeDitty and someone who has hosted her own house concert.

“I assumed people didn’t host house concerts because they didn’t know how and generally speaking when you hire an artist it’s kind of expensive,” Byers said. “I found out it’s only true half the time. The other time is people didn’t know where to find musicians and how to book one.

“So the site function pretty much like a dating website. You can just find and directly communicate with each other.”

HomeDitty launched into Beta testing in February. Over 215 hosts have signed up and over 60 shows have been booked using the site in over 20 states.

Byers said hosts can search for musicians geographically and see who and when someone is coming to town based on artists profiles on the site.

“So you have an artist traveling and doing a tour from Minnesota to New York,” Byers explains. “They’ve got venues and gigs usually Friday and Saturday nights, but during the week they have all this dead time and are traveling.”

Byers compares hosting a house concerts to hosting Tupperware parties but instead of buying containers, contribute to a crowdfund.

“To pay the artist,” Byers says.

Hosting House Concerts
The Cerny Brothers from Nashville perform at the home of Vanessa Johnson in Minnesota on March 10, 2017. Quinn Johnston/Special to C&M.

Enjoy a concert from the couch

Byers says she hosted her first house concert nearly three years ago after being asked from a friend.

“I had to Google it,” Byers said. “I did it for the first time and a smaller show. But it was great I just loved it. And I decided to do it every month for as long as I can.”

Byers offers touring musicians to stay in their home as well.

Vanessa Johnson knows about Byers parties but lives in Minnesota and unable to attend.

“We aren’t connected to the music scene where we live in a way that would allow us to find a band to play a house concert, so HomeDitty filled in that gap for us,” Johnson says. “it couldn’t have been easier to invite friends and set up the show for crowdfunding through the homeditty website.  The experience of having live music in our own living room was every bit as amazing as we had heard.”

Johnson said it was special seeing the passion the musicians play with up close.

“It was so interesting to have them talk about their music in between their songs and to hear about what inspired them,” Johnson said. “Our friends raved about the band as we socialized after the show.”

Johnson has hosted two shows and a third booked.

“It was not in the slightest bit taxing or messy,” Johnson said. “The show was BYOB, so we didn’t have to spend any of our own money.  Our guests brought chairs to sit in, and the band did their own set up and take down.  So we didn’t have to do a thing but open our front door to let the fun begin.”

Experience a concert in your home using HomeDitty | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
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