We’re nothing if not fair
Following last nights spleen vent of an article, just like the BBC we have produced the opposite view for 'balance'.
Do Open Mic Nights provide a vital service for both musician and venue alike?
Read on dear friend (or ex-friend if you run an open mic night)
Reason 1 – They are a great place to get experience
Experience is important. You don't go from being a bedroom wannabee to Freddie Mercury in one easy leap.
Open Mic Nights give young and inexperienced performers the chance to hone their skills in front of a real life audience.
Maybe it'll work, maybe not but the spot gives them valuable experience for later on in their career.
This isn't just confined to the newcomer either, established acts can play new material in a live setting, adjusting and cocking up as they like. They aren't being paid anyway and the supportive atmosphere will provide constructive feedback
Reason 2 – they keep the venue open
It's a rainy Sunday in November. The publican knows that they will lose money that they can ill afford to kiss goodbye to. Many more of these and he'll have to close the doors.
An average open mic night gets enough people in through the doors to make opening for the night worthwhile. A really good open mic will give the hard pressed licensee a little profit that they can plow back into live music and if they see how successful a small OMN is then maybe they will start putting on proper paid gigs.
If we don't turn up to our local live music venues then they'll close. Goodbye both paid and free gigs
3 – Exposure darling, exposure
Stories of singers and bands getting paid gigs from an open mic night are legion.
If the place is a genuine music venue and they like your stuff then you may get asked back.
This is especially useful if you don't have the big following or professional demo discs that venues ask for before booking.
If they don't usually put on music and don't have many contacts then the obvious place for them to find talent is at the OMN.
and after all you never know who's in the crowd right?
7 – Networking
It can be a lonely old business and the chance to have a good old chinwag with some fellow musos is a wonderful way to round off the week.
Find out who the bad payers are, get news of festivals booking, hear about a piece of kit for sale and much more.
You never know when that guy who you met at open mic could lend you a lead when you're working just down the road
BEsdies this every profession needs to have a friendly ear to bend occasionally. Being a musician can be a lonely place. Having a support network is vital if you are to make a living in the game.
9 – people just like to play
Why the hell shouldn't people just enjoy playing their harmonium in a nice environment surrounded by their friends?
Some people aren't interested in being paid, they do it for the love. Some aren't good enough to be paid but they relish the opportunity to perform in front of a crowd.
Who are you to tell them they can't? You're not the boss of them.
And as for the compere - well sure they get some money for the night but it's nothing like minimum wage and probably doesn't pay for the wear and tear on the expensive PA they bring or the broken strings or the phone calls trying to get their mates along. They deserve at least something for their efforts.
Often the organiser is a working musician and when there aren't enough gigs around they can supplement a little income from what they make from an open mic. That having been said many of these are free for both performer and organiser.
Love and Peace friends, Love and Peace