When you take on the “job” of hosting an open mic, you know it’s going to be an uphill climb. You create an event on Facebook, send out emails, post updates, and hope for the best. Each week you hope enough people show up to satisfy the owner or manager of the venue. You live with the fact that it can be canceled at any moment.
You also know that there will be a night when no one shows up. Hopefully, again, the owner/manager will overlook it for now. Then there is that nightmare open mic. I know, because it happened to me this past month. I am the Showcase Director for the Dallas Songwriters Association. I was at Sons of Hermann Hall for the third Tuesday open mic.
The month before was less than well attended. This past third Tuesday, there was a meeting of the Dallas Historical Society from 6 – 8 p.m. in the bar, and the open mic was to start in the bowling alley ballroom at 7:30. I sat in the ballroom, eating a sandwich, tuning my guitar, and having conversations with myself in my head. The nightmare had begun.
No one showed up. Every so often someone in the DHS meeting would wander into the bowling alley seeking a quiet place to talk on their phone. They would look at me and turn around and go back toward the bar area. I played a few songs for practice. After an hour and a half, I packed up. I talked to the manager of the hall and we agreed to meet and brainstorm new ideas.
I put my stuff in the car. As I was loading my guitar, a guy walked out of the hall and came toward me.
“Do you need any help loading anything? I was coming back to play with you.”
My heart sank. I sat alone for an hour and a half wishing someone would show up and when I hung it up and packed up, someone shows up. We could have gone back in, but the Hall was winding down and would not be open much longer. And I was packed.
“I’m sorry. I sat there for an hour and a half and nobody came.”
“No worries. Are there other open mics around?”
“There are two other open mics in Deep Ellum on Tuesday. I’m not exactly sure where but they should still be going on for a while.”
I handed him my card and apologized again. As I went around to the driver’s side, I watched him turn right out of the gate and head down the street.
We’ll work things out, make some changes, and try again – or something else. But that doesn’t clear the memory of my host’s nightmare open mic.
Peace be with you.