10 Open Mic Commandments


1.      The Host is always rightFollow the host's rules. When you run the show you can make up your own rules. The host is there to hopefully ensure that everyone has a good time. He or she does not want to be Music Cop.  Unforeseen situations can arise, and as such, the host may have to bend the rules as he sees fit.


2.      Order of performance will be random from now on.  Names will be pulled out of the hat at 7:45.  Acts can trade spots if they want.  If you show up after that, you go on the back of the list.  If someone leaves before their turn, all acts move up a spot.  No one will be inserted into the open spot.  Host can change order of the acts at his/her discretion. You can only sign up for yourself, not anybody else.


3.      An “act” gets 3 songs or 15 minutes maximum as the featured performer. A band is “an act”, not the sum of the individuals in the band.  The time starts when the previous performer leaves the stage.  If you’re practicing, tuning, talking or in the bathroom, it counts against your time. You will be faded out!  If you need time to set up gear, be there before the Open Mic starts and do it then.


4.      An individual performer may be on stage a maximum of 5 times; 3 times as a lead performer and 2 times as a backup to the featured performer.  A backup must be invited to go on stage.  They cannot just “jump in”.  There is no limit for “backline” performers such as drummers, bass, sax, etc., but they too must be invited.  The “backline” is there to support everyone; be sure to thank them.


5.      Be Prepared.  We’re all amateurs, but even amateurs should be professional in their performance. This includes being totally prepared when on stage.  Spend a few minutes making sure you have all you need, strap, picks, wires, etc.  Performers should be in tune before getting on stage and have all of their equipment set up by the beginning of their time slot. Performers should also know exactly what they are going to be performing, having chosen a set list beforehand.  Know when you're scheduled to play and be ready to go, get on and off the stage.


6.      Be supportive, polite and respectful.  Be a good audience member. If you want other people in the room to not be distracting you, don’t distract them with loud talking, laughing, etc. It’s inexcusable to put down others because they don't meet your standards!  This may be a first time appearance for some participants, so please be supportive and encourage them. . It is NOT ok to sit and strum your acoustic guitar 5 feet from the person playing the song. It is distracting and rude.  Applaud. Applaud like you mean it. Mean it. 


7.      Don't play and fly. Hang out and support your fellow musicians. 


8.       Buy something.  Support the venue by buying a drink or a meal. If you don't they'll find something else to do with the time and you won't have a place to play anymore. Tip the servers; they’re working very hard and have a lot of influence.


9.      Be Patient. It is a bar, not a theater or coffee house. Patrons can be and are rude at times.  Try to have a thick skin. Open mic's are a sideshow attraction not a main event. If you're good, people will stop what they're doing and listen. If you're not entertaining then the audience is not the problem. Pay attention to what others do and how the audience reacts to them.


10.  Have fun. Our Open Mic are a great way to try out new material in front of an audience, and a great way to meet and jam with other musicians. You should leave your attitudes and egos at home and come out to make music and have a great time. No Protests, no whining.  Follow the rules.  Failure to comply will result in the loss of future performance privileges.