Category Archives: Open Mics

10 Ways to Supercharge Your Open Mic Night

Now that you’ve got your event off the ground, it’s time to take it to the next level.

In order to run a truly successful open mic, you’ll want to consider, ahead of time, the technical and emotional needs of everyone involved.

Below are a few essential tips:

Be Organized and Prepared

First of all, have a plan! Make sure you’ve decided on a format, a start and end time, etc. and that you properly communicate this to all of the folks who show up.

Also, make sure you get to the venue early enough to properly set up the sound system in a relaxed manner.

A lot of performers like to show up early to claim a spot on the sign up sheet. If your sound system is already set up and troubleshot, you’ll be less distracted and, as a result you’ll have the freedom to focus your energy and attention on the participants as they arrive. We’ll talk a little more about accommodating your guest further along in this post.

Start and Maintain an Email List

In order to generate the numbers that will keep your open mic afloat, you need to build a core group of returning performers and music lovers and the best way to do that is to keep in touch through the use of an email list. Make sure to have an email sign up sheet available in a prominent place and make sure to announce its presence regularly. Continue reading

Hosting an Open Mic, A Practical Guide

So you’ve decided to take my advice and host an open mic night of your own. Great! Let’s get started.

Below is a three step check list to get you off the ground in an informed way. Familiarize yourself with each idea and you’ll be well on your way to making your own event a reality.  

Step 1  Understand the format

Let’s start at the begining. What is an open mic night?

An open mic night is an event in which amateur performers are allowed the opportunity to share a short set of their material on a public stage. Open mic nights commonly feature music, comedy, or poetry. For our purposes, we will focus on the idea of an open mic featuring music. Here’s how a typical evening goes down:

  • The event is usually staged in a bar, coffee house, or other type of performance venue.

  • The host arrives early and provides a sign up sheet.

  • The sheet is placed in a prominent place and interested parties sign up on a first-come-first-serve basis.

  • At start time, the host kicks off the show by providing a short set of music.

  • Then the host starts inviting the registered performers to the stage to perform a short set of their music; usually just two or three songs.

  • The evening continues in this manner until all of the performers on the list have had a chance to perform.

Step 2  Understand the open mic from a business perspective

When you start your own open mic and enter into a partnership with a venue, you need to understand the business imperatives at work:

Open mics are generally conducted on “off” nights when sales are slow. Open mics can provide a major increase in traffic to paricipating venues on these otherwise unprofitable evenings.

Let’s say on a given night you attract ten performers and they all bring a friend or two to watch them play. Then you’ve got 25-30 new customers in the house.

The venue will likely be quite happy becuase they’ll have more customers and a whole night’s worth of entertainment for one low price.

The bottom line is you must be providing a consistent customer base to the venue if you expect them to keep handing over money to you on a weekly basis.

Never forget this reality and you’ll be well on your way to success.

Step 3  Procure a venue Continue reading

3 Reasons Why You Should Host an Open Mic

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. Continue reading