Editor's note: This post is half of a two-parter! Please read its companion post as well, Six Tips On How To Be an Awful House Guest: Musician Edition.
Musicians, much like regular humans, need sleep to survive. In unfamiliar cities, a stranger with a squishy place to nap for a night can help out tremendously. Bands with even the slightest DIY mindset can't afford hotels every night and will probably even enjoy your company! Most groups will be content with a semi-clean floor and come armed with sleeping bags, pillows and more, but there are plenty of things to make the experience easier for everyone involved. Throughout the years, we've hosted and been hosted innumerable times. Here's what we've learned.
First off, after the band/s have packed up post-show, provide an address and a phone number in case they lose their way. Before leaving, warn them about any pets that you have (long-haired cat? Lick-happy dog, perhaps? Overzealous ferret?). Chances are, someone in the group is allergic and would appreciate a heads-up. Above all, remember that anything helps. No matter what, they've probably seen worse sleeping situations.
1. Offer up a futon, air mattress or couch. Beanbags are a surprising plus (they're like giant dog beds for people). In a lot of cases, even a swept floor will do; however, avoid giving them the floor if you can by providing any of this stuff. If you have a couch, put down a clean sheet. You'll thank yourself later as far as easy cleanup, and they'll thank you too. After they've claimed a sleeping spot, give a quick tour -- point out the kitchen, bathroom and any places where they should or shouldn't be.
2. Sacrifice your shower. Showers are a scarce commodity on the road. Let them know when they can use it and when they shouldn't in case you have roommates, work, etc., and warn them about any wacky knobs. If you have some extra towels, keep 'em handy because chances are, their's reeks like day-old feet. Have some toilet paper.
3. Provide a Wi-Fi code if you have it. When did Internet become a necessity? If we had a F.A.Q. sheet, this would hold pretty high priority. Write it down on a piece of paper or hang it up if you want. Outlets are handy for charging juiced phones as well.
4. Don't wake everyone up at 7 a.m. with weight lifting, bad music, loud laundry or the sound of your insane roommate attempting to start their crappy car for ten minutes straight in the adjacent driveway (seriously, this has happened to us before, all at once). Give bands plenty of time to rest. If you can only host until 8 or 9 a.m., you're not really doing them any favors. Let them know when you're leaving and when they need to get out out of the house.
5. Provide them with nourishment. Tell them about late night places to dine if they're hungry after the show. If you're really nice, buy them some pizza and/or beer. Tell them where it's okay to smoke. Let them know where clean cups are because again, musicians, much like regular humans, need essentials to survive. If you like to cook, feed them some vegetables in the morning because chances are, they've been on a fast food diet all along.
6. Tell them to come back to your city. Missing creature comforts from temporary homelessness can be the hardest part of touring. Make bands feel appreciated and they'll feel less guilty about mooching off of you -- that is, of course, assuming that they haven't destroyed your house and you actually want them to see them again.
Bonus points: A washer and dryer. Super Nintendo. Snacks. Impressive pet tricks. Offer to fill up their iPods with new music for long drives. After all, they're musicians and they probably like music. Don't be shy about sharing what you love. Point out some awesome spots in town to check out before they leave. If you have time, take them there and you'll be friends for life.