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Old 02-15-2018, 06:39 AM
rmsstrider rmsstrider is offline
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Default First Time Hosting Open Mic- advise?

Please move post if i am in the wrong area.Thanks. I will be hosting an Open Mic at my work ( a Retail store in which we clear space on a carpeted area about 60 x40 square) High ceilings. we will have tables and chairs set up and wine and beer tasting from some local vendors. as well as appetizers from a local restaurant.
we start at 7 pm and will go to 9 or 10 pm latest.
what I am providing.:
Bose L1compact
2 mics Shenheiser E835's . one stand set up with stool for sitting. one stand for stand up. Both stands have attachments for music or Ipad.
pedal board with my Aura 16 imaging pedal with 16 presets to cover most brands(can easily turn off)TC Helcion Harmony singer ( used mostly for the tone button) Di box out to 6 channel mixer with a little bit of reverb dialed in.
I also will have on hand a K&K meridian condenser Mic for those that do not have pick ups.
I will have a sign up sheet at the front door. I would start people off with 2-3 song limit and see how many we get.

Ok , ready for the experienced advise i always find here.
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Last edited by rmsstrider; 02-15-2018 at 06:40 AM. Reason: added sentence
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Old 02-15-2018, 06:51 AM
troystory92 troystory92 is offline
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Sounds like you've got better equipment and set up than 99% of open mics I've played at

I'm not super familiar with everything you listed, so idk how it sounds, but I always think the best open mics have a monitor. It's more for the players but I think it helps my playing, and enjoyment vastly.

Good luck! Hope you get some talent.
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Old 02-15-2018, 07:14 AM
Wistah Wistah is offline
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Sounds good to me!

The performers and the venue are both your customers. Without either, you are out of the gig. So be supportive and encouraging of the performers who come out. Positive feedback. Listen to them.

For the venue, you mentioned this was a retail space, not a restaurant / bar. So I'm not sure what to do here, but volume management and sound quality seem important. You don't want to drive off customers that are casually browsing. Your goal is to draw them in.

Good luck, have fun
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Old 02-15-2018, 07:21 AM
ChrisE ChrisE is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by troystory92 View Post
Sounds like you've got better equipment and set up than 99% of open mics I've played at

I'm not super familiar with everything you listed, so idk how it sounds, but I always think the best open mics have a monitor. It's more for the players but I think it helps my playing, and enjoyment vastly.

Good luck! Hope you get some talent.
Better than 100% of the ones I've been to.

I'm not sure of your gigging/performing experience, but be prepared to play a lot just in case there aren't many participants. Be sure to keep things moving and play some recorded music in between performers so there isn't any dead air.
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Old 02-15-2018, 07:41 AM
MikeBmusic MikeBmusic is offline
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You don't want to scare off the beginners - have a separate music stand (with a clip-on light, unless the room is exceptionally well-lit). I'm not sure how a holder to hold music on a mic stand would work, but probably not well. People who use tablets for their music/lyrics are used to the weird angles needed, but not those who use a stand - note that often they bring their big notebook with a lot of music in it, the stand needs to be secure.

Be ready to:
Mute the guitar when the performer finishes (inexperienced players will often pull the cable out before checking that its muted).

Greet every person coming in (whether they have an instrument with them or not) and get them signed in. For the ones without an instrument, you can ask if they are there for the open mic - some may come to check things out the first time.

Introduce players to each other - specially those who come in by themselves. Try to get them involved, don't ignore them after getting them signed in.

Before and after a player plays, introduce them: "Next up we've got John", "Let's have a big hand for John - great songs, John!"

You've got food and drink there, don't expect the room to be silent for every player. If there are people making an inordinate amount of noise, you can ask them to 'keep it down' politely.

Give the players a 'heads up' so they can get ready ("you're on after Mary, she's only playing 2 songs").

Get people changed over as quickly as you can. The 'empty space' between players is when the audience gets restless and starts making more noise. Don't be too concerned with the player's overall sound when you set them up, just get the volume levels of guitar and vocal tweaked, then you make small adjustments when they're playing.

Your experience may have been to open mics where a lot of these things were not done, take it from someone who has hosted OMs and gone to many others and sees what works, what doesn't, and which ones last for years because they successfully bring people in.
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Old 02-15-2018, 08:41 AM
rmsstrider rmsstrider is offline
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"Mute the guitar when the performer finishes (inexperienced players will often pull the cable out before checking that its muted)."

I have that covered with a PRS special mute cable . the cable mutes the system as soon as you unplug

"I'm not sure how a holder to hold music on a mic stand would work"

I use these myself, very sturdy and telescopes out enough from stand to be seen.

"For the venue, you mentioned this was a retail space, not a restaurant / bar. So I'm not sure what to do here, but volume management and sound quality seem important. You don't want to drive off customers that are casually browsing. "

This will happen after the store closes at 6pm. we have loyal customer following for evening seminars 2x week .


"I'm not sure of your gigging/performing experience, but be prepared to play a lot just in case there aren't many participants"

Yeah, kinda worried about that, but I have up to 65 songs I can perform if no shows. But I was hoping to only do a couple to get things started.
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Last edited by rmsstrider; 02-15-2018 at 08:41 AM. Reason: added sentence
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  #7  
Old 02-15-2018, 08:44 AM
rct rct is offline
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You got this. Have fun with it!

rct
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  #8  
Old 02-15-2018, 09:32 AM
Wistah Wistah is offline
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Sounds like you are pretty well covered. Last advice I'll give is to make sure your equipment is treated respectfully. I might leave the fancy preamps and harmony pedals at home, bring stuff that you wouldn't mind getting abused.
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  #9  
Old 02-15-2018, 10:40 AM
J Patrick J Patrick is offline
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...i would add that its wise to make slots 10 or 15 minutes long rather than a specific number of songs...i say this because back when i used to run open mics...(15 years ago)...some folks would get up and play 3 crazy long songs and kill the open mic vibe...believe me...it happens occasionally....other than that....always make the gig about the players and pump them up so they do their best...and limit the didgeridoo and fife players to five minute slots...yukyuk..
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Old 02-15-2018, 11:27 AM
Big Band Guitar Big Band Guitar is offline
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Default Bands

Watch out for the "band" that comes in and signs up every member for it's own 3 song slot then proceeds to chew up a hours time.

I have seen a 5 piece "band" do this. After the second member starts in I usually just pick up my guitar and leave.

To avoid this make it clear "bands" will be put on at the end of the allotted time if there is time.
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Old 02-15-2018, 12:20 PM
Billkwando Billkwando is offline
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I've been to an open mic night or 2. I assume you already thought of having one or more guitar stands on hand.

Maybe have a couple "loaner" items ready for the nervous folks who forget/come unprepared, like:
  • A sound hole cover (for acoustic players who may have never had to manage feedback)
  • A capo
  • A dish of picks
  • A clip on tuner
  • A string winder
  • A stool
  • 9-volt battery

Maybe a free bottled water for the performers, as some folks get dry when they're nervous.


One of those items might save some poor soul's night!

I remember having to borrow something, my first open mic night (can't remember what it was, probably a patch cord or one of the things above). I was the bass player/singer in an impromptu Primus cover band! (it was the 90's)

Last edited by Billkwando; 02-15-2018 at 12:34 PM.
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Old 02-15-2018, 01:36 PM
Judson Judson is offline
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Pay attention!! ... don't leave things unattended and don't yak while people are playing.

As the host, you can't be outside grabbing a smoke when something goes wrong on stage, and you owe it to your performers to be an attentive audience ... sadly, sometimes you may be the ONLY one who is listening.

You should absolutely NEVER be the one who is laughing and talking loudly while a performance is going on.


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Old 02-15-2018, 01:43 PM
Warren01 Warren01 is offline
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Always start off with a joke.

"I just flew in from ??????, and boy, are my arms tired." Works everytime!
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Old 02-15-2018, 02:38 PM
1Charlie 1Charlie is offline
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I have hosted an open mic for the past two years, and I always bring a "beater" guitar (in my case a heavily abused, cosmetic basket-case 1971 Guild F-20) for participants to use, if they fail to bring a guitar with a pickup, or if their battery has died, or perhaps they came straight from work or another event.

My Guild gets used by at least a couple of performers at every open mic.
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  #15  
Old 02-15-2018, 02:57 PM
Billkwando Billkwando is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1Charlie View Post
I have hosted an open mic for the past two years, and I always bring a "beater" guitar (in my case a heavily abused, cosmetic basket-case 1971 Guild F-20) for participants to use, if they fail to bring a guitar with a pickup, or if their battery has died, or perhaps they came straight from work or another event.

My Guild gets used by at least a couple of performers at every open mic.
I was thinking my suggestions might seem too over the top, but bringing a whole guitar? Now THAT'S going the extra mile!
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