Red Deer’s Open Mics – Get on the List

The Red Deer Scene is bursting with open mics. Not only is there at least one open jam every night of the week, the variety is astounding. There are solo singer-songwriter showcases, all-ages events, full-band jams, blues jams, out-of-town open mics, comedy open mics, a Broadway open mic, a poetry and spoken word open mic… There’s even an open mic hosted by a guy named Mike! What more can you ask for?

Attend enough of these and it is evident that a community has been built in Red Deer’s music scene. There are dozens of musicians making the rounds and performing each night. They catch up with each other and welcome newcomers into the fold. With unparalleled access to stage-time, each level of musician is able to find their own function. First-time performers can dip a toe in the water. They’re likely to be greeted by a welcoming crowd, “You came out, you got up, you gave it a shot. Thanks for joining us.” Amateurs are able to develop performance skills that can’t be exercised at home on the couch. Seeing the progression of skill and comfort in these performers on-stage is a testament to the power of hours of dedication. Veterans of the music scene can play with their friends, promote events, and offer advice and encouragement to those just starting out. The local talent on display at these informal shows is consistently strong; so much that going to an open mic in Calgary or Edmonton can feel like a strange amateur-hour by comparison.

Despite this celebration of this facet of our musical town, we need to be aware of the point of over-saturation. With so many options to pick from, attendance at open mics can become sparse. More concerning, with so many options for free entertainment, the abundance of open-mics in Red Deer potentially cuts into the attendance of concerts by both local and touring artists. Access to stage-time and an exposure to an audience is appreciated by all artists, but open mics are not the one’s that put food on the table and gas in the tank. If we don’t support our local artists, we run the risk of losing them to bigger markets and more reliable pastimes.

Personally, the most inspiring part of these events is seeing someone unfamiliar get onstage and being blown away by the talent of another person who has made Red Deer their home. It means that, within the hidden gem that is our music scene, there are even more hidden gems that just need a nudge out of their front door and onto the stage.


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