TIPS FOR

Open Mic Performers

The first time someone steps up to the mic, it can take some encouragement. Or a dare. Or Dutch courage.

Some of us needed all three.

Early-stage poets and singers typically have jitters and doubts and questions, like what’s the best way to intro my poem? What do I do at the end of my set? How can I get more comfortable at the mic? Should I bring my mom/dad/friend/boss/neighbor?

Well, here’s some answers, gathered from open mics that span 10 years, nearly 3 dozen states, and countless performances—from the awkward to the honest, the magical, and the weird.

Don’t stress. You got this.

Finding the Right Open Mic For You

Open mics are like hair styles and lovers and garden art and…well, anything we choose based on what we like or what fits. While I certainly haven’t seen it all, I’ve seen a lot. So here, with the usual caveats: a reductive but well-meant description of some of the...

How to Find an Open Mic in Another Town

  The last two open mics I tried to attend found ways of not happening. One was on hiatus for December because its regular night fell too close to the holidays. The other seems to have lost its venue. So it goes sometimes with labor-of-love events. No one’s...

What to Expect at an Open Mic

So you're going to, have been invited to, or are being dragged by your new lover to an open mic—and you want to know what you're getting yourself into. Well, I haven't seen it all, but I've seen a lot. Based on more than 4 years of going to open mics, sometimes 4 in...