Are you ready to show off your skills and perform in front of an audience?
If you want to start playing live shows, open mic nights are probably the best way to break the ice.
So in today’s post, we will tell you how to find open mic nights near you.
And in case you need some encouragement, we will tell you why performing at open mics is more important than you might think.
How Do Open Mic Nights Work?
Open mics are usually organized weekly or monthly in pubs, bars, and other venues, and they are sometimes hosted by a local singer or artist.
In most cases, you can just show up and perform a cover of your original song, so you just need to sign up and wait your turn.
However, every venue has different rules.
Some venues run on a first-come, first-served line-up and others require performers to sign up in advance.
That said, you should check with the host or search online for more details and make sure the venue and type of event meet your expectations.
Generally, open mic shows are hosted on a smaller scale and one of their purposes is to entertain the crowd.
But they are also a great opportunity for local musicians to showcase their talent and network.
Everyone is welcome to perform – from rappers and songwriters to guitar players and aspiring rock singers.
It’s a place where anything can happen.
And it’s a place where you can showcase your music and introduce yourself as an artist.
Open mic nights can also be quite fun.
However, they aren’t karaoke – you can’t just show up with the lyrics in your hand and sing 80s hits after a few drinks.
That’s not forbidden, but you’ll probably get some disapproving looks.
Open mic events are aimed at singer-songwriters, and many artists invest a lot of time and effort into preparing for their first performance.
So although pubs and bars organize them to entertain the crowd, open mics also help artists gain exposure and much-needed live experience.
How to Find Open Mic Nights
Finding open mic events near you is rather easy.
You can find most information online.
However, there are certain ways and tips you should keep in mind to get the best results.
1. Figure out what you want
First and foremost, you need to determine what type of open mic you want to attend.
And in order to do that, you need to know what you’re going to perform.
For instance, think about the following questions:
- What are your skills and strengths?
- What is your music genre?
- What is your performing style?
- What could be your target audience?
All of these questions will help you determine who you are as an artist.
Whether you’re a solo singer or a skilled songwriter, you need to know what you want to show your audience, and you need to find a venue accordingly.
If you write calm, acoustic songs, finding a local coffeehouse or a smaller bar might be a good idea.
And if you use instruments and play loud music, you should search for a pub, bar, or concert venue.
By figuring out what exactly you’re searching for, you’ll find the right event for you more easily.
2. Search online
Searching the internet is probably the easiest way to find open mic nights near you.
You can search by location, or you can check music-related websites or online magazines that usually mention events in your area.
Sites like Eventbrite could also be a nice tool to find open mic nights.
With Eventbrite, you can filter results by location, type of event, calendar, and so on.
Using Google is hands down the most efficient way to find open mics.
But it can also be quite daunting, especially if you can’t find the type of event you’re looking for.
Nevertheless, try to gather as much information as you can.
You can also consider checking a local open mic event that maybe isn’t exactly what you had in mind, but it might be a good start.
After all, most events allow people to just show up and perform, without signing up in advance.
You should make sure that is true though – some busy bars and clubs tend to have a lot of performers.
It all depends on the event and the venue, but you should be able to find that kind of info online.
3. Check social media
When searching for open mic nights online, don’t forget to check your social media.
Platforms like Facebook and Instagram can be great sources of information, especially if you follow some local musicians, artists, or venues.
Facebook groups can also be a good place to find nearby open mic opportunities.
All in all, there’s a plethora of information on social media platforms; you just need to find the right people and the right pages.
You can also reach out to local musicians or club owners and seek advice – they can tell you about some upcoming events or direct you toward other sources.
4. Call ahead
Once you find an open mic event that grabbed your attention, make sure that the information is up to date.
By calling ahead, you can also get other important information.
You can find out if you need to sign up in advance if their open mic nights are usually busy, and what kind of musicians and crowds they usually attract.
If you need to use equipment, check with the host if there is any equipment available at the venue.
And check with how long you are allowed to be onstage.
Finally, you’ll probably get an impression of what type of event this is going to be based on the information and attitude you get over the phone.
But the most important thing is that you get the right date, location, hours, and house rules.
5. Make connections
Open mic nights can help you improve your performance skills and gain experience.
If you’re just starting out, you can find out what it’s like to perform in front of an audience, and you can start working on your performance style.
But open mic nights can also help you make valuable connections.
Many performers get information about local hot spots through their musicians’ network.
So, if you don’t have any musician friends, open mic nights can be a great opportunity to meet new people and local artists.
Anyone who is performing regularly knows where the best open mic places are.
Plus, by expanding your network and making connections, you can come across new opportunities.
And you can even find out what’s going on in the music industry.
The thing is, music is a business, and the music industry generally works through a network of partnerships.
So if you want to enter the music industry and become a professional musician, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of networking.
6. Give away cards and CDs
Another great tip for attending open mic nights is to bring some CDs and merchandise with you.
You can meet people and offer them your CD for free.
Alternatively, you can try to sell your products.
But be careful – it’s important to make honest connections and not appear pushy.
Also, don’t forget to bring business cards with you – this way, you can easily share your contact and info with people who are interested in your music.
And you never know who is going to contact you.
You might even get a call from a bar or venue you performed at; it probably wouldn’t be the first time they heard someone interesting and decided to book a gig.
At the beginning of your career, you should try to perform live as much as you can.
Performing live is arguably the best way to promote your music and grow an audience.
That said, attend open mics regularly, bring your cards with you, make connections, and be patient.
Also, don’t forget to practice.
You need to prepare for each gig, even if it’s a small venue and a less popular open mic event.
It doesn’t matter how many people are listening to you play or sing – you need to do your best.
And to do that, you need to practice the songs you’re going to perform until you can play them comfortably and confidently.
Open mic performances usually entail one to three songs, so pick your best songs and polish them until they sound perfect.
You should also be ready with some spare songs.
Of course, you don’t need to have a perfect performance – but you need to be confident and prepared.
That said, try to determine what your weak spots are and try to improve them.
One of the best ways to improve your music is to record yourself.
You can also ask your friends or family what they think of your music or your cover song, and ask them to tell you exactly what they like and if there’s something they would change.
Constructive feedback is crucial – that’s the only way to make your music and performance even better.
And before the event, go through each song a number of times.
In other words, make sure your songs are ready for performance.
Also, don’t forget to warm up before your performance, especially if you picked a demanding song.
You need to take care of your voice, but you also need to make sure you’re in good shape for performing, both mentally and physically.
So, go through your standard warm-up exercises and do something relaxing to deal with potential stage fright.
Stage fright is completely normal, even for experienced musicians – this means you care about your music and your performance.
But there are also some ways to deal with stage fright; and if you perform a lot, you’ll eventually learn what works for you.
With all this in mind, you can hit the stage knowing that you’re about to do your best.
8. Take the next steps
Attending open mics can be very exciting, and you never know what might happen.
But it’s also important to reflect on the outcomes – you can think about the crowd’s response and their feedback.
If you had some friends in the audience, ask them about the general vibe during your performance.
It’s important to do a little evaluation – this way, you can prepare for the next show more efficiently.
And if you did get great reactions, and the host of the open mic is even interested in booking you a gig, you should start thinking about your next step.
Getting yourself noticed and building a fanbase isn’t easy.
In fact, promoting your music, growing an audience, and maybe even getting a record deal takes time.
And it’s true – sometimes, all you need is one relevant person in the audience.
But in many cases, it’s practice, practice, practice.
After all, what is luck other than when preparation meets opportunity?
If you want to make it in the music industry, you need to stand out from the crowd.
And there are many ways to get your music heard nowadays – you can promote it online, find a music distribution service, release it on large streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, reach out to music agents, and so on.
You should also build a strong online presence – be active on social media, create an appealing music website, and keep reaching out to people.
Keep exploring, performing, and improving your music, and you’ll achieve your goals sooner than you think.
Are Open Mics Worth It?
Performing at open mic nights can be intimidating, especially for newcomers.
You’ll see the audience, test your stage presence, and get immediate feedback from the audience.
And that can be scary.
But all the things we just mentioned can also be a huge advantage, especially if you want to gain experience and improve your performance skills.
And the more you perform, the easier it gets.
By the way, if you feel unsure of the type of open mic night you want to attend, you can attend it without performing anything – and if you like the atmosphere, sign up in advance and perform next week.
And once you gain more confidence and experience, try to perform as much as you can.
Work on some new songs, practice regularly, and experiment a little.
Find new gigs and reach out to club owners, pubs, or local cafes – if you’re regular at open mic nights, you probably have a lot of useful contacts.
From that perspective, open mics are definitely worth checking out.
They are ideal for up-and-coming musicians who want to make connections and enter the local music scene.
And they can help you boost your confidence and find your own unique performing style.
The live experience is essential for every musician, and this is arguably the easiest way to get started.
So all things considered, performing at open mic nights is a great way of gaining experience as well as building a good reputation.
Ways to Find Open Mic Nights – Final Thoughts
There are many good ways to find open mic nights in your area.
And if you want to enter the music industry, you should use this opportunity to make connections and promote your music.
But don’t forget to have a good time as well.
After all, open mic nights have a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere that will allow you to be comfortable and confident and truly connect with the audience.
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