Finding an Open MicBy
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Are you on the prowl for new gigs? You might consider open mic nights near you. They are an excellent way to test out new music or test your sound with a new crowd at a specific venue. There are many resources you can use to find open mic events, but you should do some research before deciding which opportunity is best for you.
Know Your Act and Your Venue
It goes without saying that death-metal bands and folk bands attract different crowds. The same goes with your local music venues. Don’t show up to a comedy venue ready to perform your rendition of the new Miley Cyrus song unless your goal is to knock the crowd off their bar stools in fits of laughter.
You know your music better than anybody else. The more you can scout the possible venues in the area, the better. Which venue has the right demographics? Where would you like your band to gig in the future?
Find Open Mic Nights
Start by picking up one of those free newspaper/magazines that your city might have sitting out at restaurants, coffee shops, art galleries, or music venues. Scour the listings for upcoming open mic nights. Or, visit websites like openmikes.org and search by your city or zip code. Contact the venues of interest to ensure the listings on this website are valid before you pack up your van.
Make a Good Impression
If you have a demo recorded, you can drop this off with the person who books the music at the venue. Do this a few days before the open mic, and let the music manager know that you will come to perform on open mic night.
Ask about the event. Clarify the types of acts the venue is looking for and who generally shows up to perform. Some open mic nights provide a drum kit or allow you to plug your guitar/bass into the overhead P.A. system. Coffee shops aren’t usually too keen on you turning your rig up to 11, but acoustic tunes are acceptable.
The night of, bring people that will help increase the drink sales at the venue while cheering and dancing (or moshing, if that’s your genre) for your band. Your friends are money in the bar manager’s pocket and is the first test to the marketability of your band at this venue.
Have you done open mic nights? How did you find out about the event? How did it go?
See also: 4 Steps to Getting Better Gigs.