Hosting open mic nights has been aboslutely critical to my personal musical success. Here I’ll give you three reasons why you should consider adding an open mic night to your musical portfolio:
Make Steady Money on a Weeknight
The performance business is primarily a weekend business. We all know how hard it is to get a decent paying gig on a weeknight. That’s where the open mic night format comes in to play.
Monday thru Wednesday is the prime window for open mic nights so, if you host a successful one, you’ll be earning money on an “off” night. And, since open mics are recurring events (usually weekly) you’ll be consistently creating income on an otherwise dead night.
This can make a big difference in the overall scheme of your musical income. Here’s a personal example:
I hosted a weekly open mic night for almost three years in my hometown of St. Louis, MO. I was paid $100 a night plus a meal and a couple of drinks. That’s $5,200 a year that I earned gigging on what is arguably the worst night of the week for performers.
Gain Fans and Contacts
Another invaluable benefit of hosting an open mic night is the opportunity to meet new music lovers and musicians. You can gain a significant amount of friends, fans, and business contacts as a result of your hosting a weekly open mic. I used to have a column on my sign up sheet for registrants to include their email. With these emails I created a mailing list. I would send messages to the list to remind patrons to come and participate in that week’s open mic or to inform them of any special goings on.
Ocassionally, I would send out an email to the list encouraging them to sign up on my personal email list. Nobody minded the solicitations(I only did this every once and a while) and I gained quite a few new names on my master list using this method. You could do the same!
Hone Your Performance Skills
It is tradition that the host open each open mic with a small set of their own music. This serves to break the ice and also gives the late-comers a little more time to straggle in before you start inviting the visiting musicians up onto the stage.
This has great benefit for you in that it makes for great, weekly practice in keeping your performance skills sharp. It’s also a great time to try out new songs and ideas and to present your music to a crowd that wouldn’t necessarily have been exposed to you otherwise.
Well, there’s the why of the matter…read my article, Hosting an Open Mic, A Practical Guide, for instruction on starting your own open mic event.