First Open Mic - The good, the bad and the ugly

So it’s been a whirlwind week!

I thought it was about time to venture out into the realm of reality :disappointed_relieved:

Thanks to this amazing community, I have been taking part in the online open mics on here and somehow wasn’t put off by the simply terrifying experience. It has changed my perspective on learning and I am loving the process, anyhow, the thought popped into my head that it would be a good idea to try and find some local open mics or at least other musicians to jam with, I didn’t think there would be much going on around my end as it’s quite rural and out of the way. How wrong I was!

A quick search online pointed me in the direction of an open mic night in the tourist town of Keswick in the nearby Lake District.

Monday: So following the fine advice on here I rocked up, just to get the craic and had a great evening watching the performers of which all were on another level. I mean, there was one girl singing in Hindi - I can only guess following many years of travel…

To say I was intimidated would be an understatement. I stuck around to the end though and awkwardly approached who I thought might be a regular performer. It turned out he does regularly perform there but also hosts his own open mic in another venue on another night. I spoke to the on the night event organiser and explained that I was a bit put off by the high standards. He just smiled but did let me know of another more low key venue in which he hosts an open mic weekly in yet another venue. I said I would pop along at which point he told me he hoped I would fetch the guitar.

Tuesday: “I’ve done the online open mics” I told myself, my pedal board is ready to go with the fx pedal, good just to plug in and go. “I’ll put it in the boot”. And spent the rest of the day hastily practicing.

Turned up at the Farmers Arms pub in Portinscale, a small village just outside of Keswick, it was full of customers tucking into their dinners…

Although my set itself was a bit of a car crash, I think I’ve done the absolute right thing getting out there. There are other open mics to discover on the back of this latest and invites to jam nights with locals in the area.

The nerves absolutely wiped me out, but as with everything there was so much I learned.
I said I would be back next week, the organiser just smiled…


Great stuff. I thoroughly enjoy the live open mic experience. I’ve had some shockers of experiences and some brilliant ones. Some have really good sound management, others leave you completely on your own. etc etc, so much to learn, so many variables and when it goes well such joy.

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Thanks Tony, the jury’s still out on whether I’ll be able to learn to enjoy these :slightly_smiling_face:.

I play for fun/chilling out, I wasn’t very chilled last night :sunglasses:


Great for getting out there Dave! you picked some “complicated” ones to start with lol…I’d have stuck to easy strummers for the first one. That bloody harmonica must have been distracting…I don’t mind that sort of thing now (at one of the ones we attend a guy often jumps in to do solos) but it can be distracting when you’ve just started.

The worst one I had was a guy who insisted on singing every line of the song straight after me…and he was like 2-3 foot away…it was like having a bad feedback loop.

As you’ve discovered most people are pretty supportive! second song sounded really good and some of those nerves will soon disappear. Brings a whole new meaning to one shot recording.

It was a good audience nice and supportive! good luck for the next one.


Way to go Dave :clap: :clap: :clap: I certainly wouldn’t describe your set as a bit of a car crash. For a first time performance at a live OM packed full of customers and other performers you don’t know I think you did very well indeed and should be extremely proud of yourself. Hey you even found a backing singer and a harmonica player to support you. Well done fella.

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Car crash?
If I’d wandered into a pub that had an open mic night and the performer was a car crash I’d probably just leave and try a different pub instead.
If I’d wandered into that pub during that performance I’d definately have settled down with a pint to listen, even during that false start at the beginning.
And actually, I really liked the way you looped back and did that one properly at the end, it rounded out the set nicely, you should do that deliberately! :slight_smile:


Good Job Dave, yes you may have had nerves, but you did it. Was not not a car crash. With a supportive crowd, I think you did great. Hoping if you keep at it that it can be enjoyable for you.

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They had a big jam-a-long at the end, which was cool but I guess some couldn’t wait. Yeah, at the time I remember thinking “that is so cool” - two seconds later… :slight_smile: :roll_eyes:

Definitely a supportive crowd, in the end I think there were more performers than ‘patrons’ in there.
The hardest bit was not singing with the headphones on, I couldn’t tell if I was in tune when I started, which adds to the hesitancy, which takes the confidence from your voice which…

@Socio Cheers James, yeah all in all it was great. Maybe a bit of imposter syndrome but I know that my nerves are my Achilles heel so determined to work on it.


Thanks Ross, aye, no car crash just I think most of the others were regulars so there was definitely a gap. But as they say there’s always someone bigger, better, stronger… … a good avenue for me to up my game, that’s for sure.

Aye, sometimes it’s good to just dive in and go for it. I know the nerves will ease the more I do, I got an invite to a regular local barn jam so will be popping along there at some point. Should be good with less of the pressure.

Will definitely be back


Looks like an awesome experience Dave! Thrilling. I hope to do the same one day.

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Well done Dave. That is still something I need to do at some point. Hats off to you!!! I can only imagine that the nerves will ease the more you do it. Keep going now that you have broken the :ice_cube: ice!

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Well done Dave ans congratz on finding a bravery within and getting out there! To be fair you picked really tricky songs, same as Jason I would probably go for a simple strum song just to get through the nerves. Glad you are planning to get back and try again I am sure with more sets you will get more confident and nerves will go away and you will be able to focus more on your playing and singing.

And your Nothing Else Matters was great just one moment with some hickups but barely anything disturbing or upsetting the crowd. And certainly they appreciated your play. And clearly you got a lot more relaxed with the second song!

Again congratz!


What a FANTASTIC achievement Dave. I hope you’re very, very proud of yourself. It takes so much courage to do what you’ve done. You sound good and have an engaging presence.

So proud of you :clap:

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Ive just been recently getting out there as well. My nerves go all to crap to sometimes lol. But i just try not to think about it and just try to perform like i do when im recording!! Im sure we will get use to it the more we do it!! :slight_smile: Good job! Its also nice that everyone is listening in unlike the bar i goto haha.

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Kudos to you Dave for getting out there and doing it. Hopefully the nerves will ease up a little the more you do.

What a great set of songs you did and you got the audience singing along and what could be better than that? I really enjoyed the guy joining in with his harmonica as well.

Superb stuff, I look forward to seeing more of your OM’s. :slight_smile:

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:clap: :clap: :clap:
Bravo, Dave, that was a great set and clearly the audience enjoyed it as well. I’d say the first one is the hardest, all the unknowns and new experiences. From a performance perspective, based on all you’ve played at our OMs, you’ve nothing to worry about. So just keep attending, performing, and you will develop confidence as you do.

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Wow Dave.
What a story, what an experience and what a first in-the-flesh open mic.
I was willing you on when it started unravelling after just a few seconds and felt your pain. What a brave and correct decision to give it up and try the next song. Especially given that it was not a 3-chord simple strummer.
Honestly, there is so much good and right in your performance. An object lesson for you and others facing similar in learning that performing live is an unpredictable and hair-raising ride, one in which winds will blow you off course, but you hang on, steer through and come out the other side with wide-eyed excitement and gratitude and a strange startled sensation.
Much applause from me too.


Thanks @jkahn JK, don’t think twice if you get the chance.

@Eddie_09 :+1: heading back next week Eddie, I had a look at one of the other venues last night, again a bit busy …but one day. The Farmers arms is just the job for now :slightly_smiling_face:

Cheers Adi @adi_mrok I just got swept along really, but glad I did.

Thank you Maggie @batwoman :relaxed:

I’ve seen your open mics too Byron @Bytron08 hopefully I can get to the point where I’m cool and collected :sunglasses:

@SgtColon They seem a decent group Stefan, hopefully they’ll tolerate a noob :grin:

Thanks, I hope so David @DavidP

I had hoped to give a warts and all review for everyone on here Richard @Richard_close2u
hopefully others can be encouraged too :+1:


Wow! Thanks so much for sharing this! It’s very inspiring! I think that playing in front of a public is a great challenge, but there’s so much to learn in the process, both while practicing for that particular occasion and performing for real. Lots of :clap::clap::clap: and again thanks for sharing, I really enjoyed it :blush:

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Bravo for getting out there and giving it a go and well done for getting over the initial start. I thought it went well after.

Very nicely done, and I greatly respect the courage it must have taken 1) just to get up there and 2) to keep going after the first song’s troubles (and I’d agree with others who suggest starting with an easy song that you know very well next time).

No need to downplay how you did. You had the crowd clapping with energy, singing along, and asking for more. You should be very proud!

I’ve never done an open mic, but I’ve performed in piano competitions before (that’s where I learned to start with the easiest piece). With the guitar, I’ve only played in front of people once, for about 20 extended family for Thanksgiving (and I made a similar mistake with starting with a tune that, while easy, was one I had just learned and so wasn’t solid).

One of these days I’ll try an open mic, and I sure hope I do as well as you did! Congrats!