Friday, 5 September 2014

How to Start an Open Mic Night

Note: These tips are to help you get started with an open mic night. There is a separate list of tips on how to host one once it is up and running.
  1. Talk to your musician friends and acquaintances to let them know about your idea for an open mic night.
  2. Ask your musician friends A LOT of question about what THEY would like to see in an open mic night. Don't assume their answers will be the same as yours. Some may want very relaxed events, others may want something a little more professional and even competitive. The styles of music they want to play may also be quite diverse. 
  3. Listen to what they have to say and take notes.
  4. Get commitment in principle from your friends to play at the planned open mic. Follow up with your friends who have already committed once the venue, time and other details are established.
  5. Find a venue that meets the needs of the potential performers as well as your own. Search around for the best option by visiting several places BEFORE asking to hold the event there. Remember in addition to pubs, bars and cafes, church halls, community centers, and clubs may also be open to hosting an open mic night.
  6. If the venue does not already have audio equipment, find it from another source and plan how you will get it there. If you do not know how to operate the audio equipment learn how, or ensure that you have someone else who can do it for you. Good sound can make or break your evening.
  7. Approach the venue operator letting them know the advantages to them that holding an open mic night would bring. Let the venue owner know you've already gathered several musicians and will be advertising to keep a fresh stream of great talent (and new customers) flowing.
  8. Once you have a venue establish, ADVERTISE, ADVERTISE, ADVERTISE. Word of mouth advertising is still the best form, so chat up the idea with your friends and ask them to do the same. Remember even non-musicians may want to know about it. In addition to performers, you will need an audience, especially one that is supportive of the musician and the venue hosting the event. Use all social media available to you and keep it updated regularly. If using a facebook group, consider encouraging members to post photos and links to their recordings. Make this a platform for emerging musicians to get a bit of extra press...they will help you get the word out about the open mic if they know their music is being promoted along with it. Monitor all social media and remember to keep discussions clean, encouraging and friendly.
  9. Establish the House Rules and stick with them. How do people sign up? How long does each performer have? What type of music can they play? Are other things like comedy acts and poetry readings also allowed? Be sure musicians know thee rules in advance so they can prepare accordingly.
  10. Most importantly, HAVE FUN and ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO ENJOY THE NIGHT TOO!!!! We live in a world that craves social connection, music and art. Hosting an open mic night takes work, but it can be  A LOT of fun that fills a deep human need. 
In case you have any other questions about hosting an Open Mic or songwriting, feel free to contact me at katrinaboguski (at) All the best to you in hosting your own Open Mic...You can do it!

Check back to read Top 10 tips for hosting an established open mic night! Please also remember to follow the blog for updates.

If you're already hosting an Open Mic Night, 
please check here to see if it's on the list....if not, let me know why it should be!

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