In our experience, emphasizing a focus on the Artist is the most effective way to create a listening atmosphere at a show. This means that while the Artist is performing, they have the full attention of the audience and participants. Here are a few common ways of achieving this:
Have the Artist perform in a central location in the space, and create an inviting area for listening by the stage.
Consider getting up in front of the audience before a show to introduce yourself and the Artist. Simply asking for everyone’s attention and making proper introductions can be a great way to ensure that an audience is engaged from the start.
You can include a note in your Space’s description and/or message to guests that there is a quiet policy during performances. You might also encourage guests to arrive early when doors open, so they can get their socializing in before the show.
Sometimes you may have to gently remind talkative attendees to please be respectful, and/or provide an alternative space for them to socialize.
You might also consider having an intermission between sets, allowing guests a moment to fill their drink and go to the restroom, while hopefully preventing any other disruptions during the performance.
If your intent is to create more of a party atmosphere with live background music, please communicate this to the Artist before confirming the show. This may affect their decision to perform.