Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Etiquette at Blackboard & Open Mic

NigelParry 06 Nov 13 - 01:28 AM
Amergin 06 Nov 13 - 01:37 AM
MartinRyan 06 Nov 13 - 04:43 AM
Phil Edwards 06 Nov 13 - 05:52 AM
NigelParry 07 Nov 13 - 09:53 PM
Vic Smith 08 Nov 13 - 02:29 PM
Bonzo3legs 08 Nov 13 - 04:44 PM
Doug Chadwick 08 Nov 13 - 06:16 PM
McGrath of Harlow 08 Nov 13 - 10:14 PM
Roger the Skiffler 09 Nov 13 - 06:20 AM
WindhoverWeaver 09 Nov 13 - 06:45 AM
Dave Hanson 09 Nov 13 - 07:54 AM
Vic Smith 09 Nov 13 - 09:36 AM
Phil Edwards 09 Nov 13 - 10:24 AM
Vic Smith 09 Nov 13 - 10:55 AM
Doug Chadwick 09 Nov 13 - 12:06 PM
GUEST,John Foxen 09 Nov 13 - 12:52 PM
GUEST 09 Nov 13 - 01:04 PM
Amos 09 Nov 13 - 02:19 PM
NigelParry 09 Nov 13 - 02:33 PM
GUEST,Murray Kilpatrick. 09 Nov 13 - 06:11 PM
Phil Edwards 09 Nov 13 - 06:37 PM
Howard Jones 10 Nov 13 - 04:29 AM
Bonzo3legs 10 Nov 13 - 10:05 AM
NigelParry 11 Nov 13 - 02:55 AM
NigelParry 28 Nov 13 - 04:30 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Etiquette at Blackboard & Open Mic
From: NigelParry
Date: 06 Nov 13 - 01:28 AM

Hi Mudcatters.
I was just curious. What is the etiquette about Blackboard or Open Mic session and people arriving / leaving / playing at the clubs / events you attend?

I cut my folky teeth in the UK and the clubs I went to, normally people stayed for the whole evening and listened to everyone.

I am now living in New Zealand and, for the most part, that is still true. However there are some people who are only really there to perform, and often arrive late (sometimes arranging for someone else to put their name down) or leave early. Not many, but there are one or two serial offenders and, as it happens, the organisers are too shy / polite to say anything, or don't think anything needs to be said.

Do you have any rules (expressed or unspoken) and how are they enforced?

Thanks


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Etiquette at Blackboard & Open Mic
From: Amergin
Date: 06 Nov 13 - 01:37 AM

It depends. I live in Portland, Oregon. One defunct open mic I use to go to on a semi regular basis, was a mixed bag, but mostly music...and it went on and on literally til almost closing time, which around here is about 130 to 2 am. So people would generally do their thing and then leave after a while...but at this open mic that was accepted and expected. Sometimes, I'd get up and do my thing at a fairly empty bar....because my name was written too far down...and that would be disappointing...because all the pretty girls would be gone, too. Other times, it was still a full house, and those were my best performances there.

I usually go to poetry open mics, and because generally they have a shorter time frame, and a featured reader (some one who's been booked to read for fifteen minutes to a half hour, usually some one locally admired, or on tour), people tend to stay the whole time.

Like I said, though...it depends on the open mic, who's running it, and the venue.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Etiquette at Blackboard & Open Mic
From: MartinRyan
Date: 06 Nov 13 - 04:43 AM

A few years ago, my wife and I spent a week in Madeira (a Portuguese island well off the coast of Africa, for the geographically challenged!). Around midweek, we found a small bar in Funchal, the capital, which had regular 'fado' sessions. The first, midweek session we attended was fairly quiet, with the owner's family and a resident (Portuguese) guitarist playing. On the Saturday night, however, it was very different. The family still kept the continuity but every so often, an individual or group would arrive in, sing a song or two, have a drink or two and a chat - then head off somewhere else. This kept up till "closing time" (1 a.m. or so?) when the blinds were drawn and the session kept on till ofter 3! Wonderful music, wonderful people and just great fun! Great, appreciative attention during performances and cheerful chaos in between.

Regards


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Etiquette at Blackboard & Open Mic
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 06 Nov 13 - 05:52 AM

Scene: a Dylan night (I may have mentioned this particular occasion here before). Advertised start time: 9:00

9:20. MC: "OK, let's get going. We've got a lot to get on tonight, so let's have some short ones, OK? No Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands or Desolation Row, right? Right!"
10:30. Young lad I'd never seen before takes the stage and sings... Desolation Row. Every word of every verse, taken at the same leisurely pace Bob uses on the album. Time passes. Springtime turns rapidly into Autumn, then Autumn into Spring. Empires rise and fall. As the song reaches its close we see Morlocks, capering and hooting in the blood-red light of a dying sun.
10:40 or so. Young lad leaves the stage. He then leaves the club, taking his four friends with him.

Now that was rude.

Trouble is, you're asking two questions in one: do other people think this is acceptable? and should I/we/they/somebody do something about it?

I think turning up for your spot is generally seen as quite rude, and hanging on for your spot and leaving straight afterwards may be rude as well (depending how late it is - sometimes staying until your name is called is above and beyond the call of duty, let alone staying on afterwards). But as to whether the organisers should have a word - I think probably not. Maybe a jokey remark in the right place - "you've missed some excellent material"/"going so soon?" - but no more than that. It's not as if anyone's under a duty to be there, after all.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Etiquette at Blackboard & Open Mic
From: NigelParry
Date: 07 Nov 13 - 09:53 PM

Thanks for the comments. An interesting mix of open mic versions. And yes, if the session goes on for many hours, I wouldn't expect everyone to sit through everything. But would an couple of hours be too much to ask?

Apparently so for a few.

On further contemplation of the local offenders, they seem to fall mainly into 2 camps.
1. Those who haven't been there much (if at all) and don't really feel part of the community yet, or haven't yet got into good habits.

2. One of two old hands, who feel they have 'paid their dues' so don't need to show any respect or support for newer musicians.

As this had come up in discussion with a few friends, I even penned a blog post about it.
Blog here


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Etiquette at Blackboard & Open Mic
From: Vic Smith
Date: 08 Nov 13 - 02:29 PM

Is setting the time in advance for a performance a necessity?

When we have the occasional Open Night at out folk club, nobody knows when they are going to perform their two items until the compere tells them. Nobody arrives late as they might miss their chance. If anyone left straight after performing (which, in fact, does not happen) they would not be considered in future, Some are looking for a gig which means that that they try to perform their best and are polite so as not to spoil their chances.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Etiquette at Blackboard & Open Mic
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 08 Nov 13 - 04:44 PM

Which is all why I would never endure an open mic night!!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Etiquette at Blackboard & Open Mic
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 08 Nov 13 - 06:16 PM

…… nobody knows when they are going to perform their two items until the compere tells them.

I don't like that idea. An unscrupulous MC could give all the best spots to his cronies and banish all those not in the in-crowd to the graveyard slots, either early or late, when there is not much of an audience. Personally, I like to sing early on so that I can relax, have a drink or two and enjoy the other performances for the rest of the evening.

DC


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Etiquette at Blackboard & Open Mic
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Nov 13 - 10:14 PM

It all sounds a grotesque perversion of what should be a social evening where people exchange songs and share each others music.

I wouldn't want to go to an evening like that, whether I was hoping to sing a song or two, or just to listen. The very thought leaves a nasty taste in my mouth.

All right, there are times people can't get there until late, and times people have to slope off early, but that's something entirely other.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Etiquette at Blackboard & Open Mic
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 09 Nov 13 - 06:20 AM

As a non-performing (I've offered but they know me too well...) regular at an Open Mike I have observed all these things: the one who turns up at 10 pm and goes on last, having missed everyone else- but often ends up performing for the bar staff and the sound man only. The ones who arrive with friends, talk loudly through everyone else, rearrange the seating so their friends can record/film them and then go after their own slot, taking their friends with them. Those who turn up at the last minute and expect to be slotted in though 6 or 7 others have come on time and haven't finished. The ones on a busy night who wait till the previous act has left the mike to unpack their instrument, tune it, go to the loo, order a drink etc, dither about what to perform. The ones who always do the same 2 or 3 songs. Despite which there is often a great night where everything gells, where a new young talent emerges, when an impromptu jam is magic.
Perhaps we're unrealistic to expect perfection every time.

RtS
(Have kazoo, will keep quiet)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Etiquette at Blackboard & Open Mic
From: WindhoverWeaver
Date: 09 Nov 13 - 06:45 AM

I guess this is why I prefer the sing-around format to an open mike. You can come, stay as long as you like (must admit, I tend to come early and stay 'til the bitter end), and sing as many times as the turn comes round. You cannot just show up, sing a few and leave, which I agree is rude and obnoxious.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Etiquette at Blackboard & Open Mic
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 09 Nov 13 - 07:54 AM

What's a ' blackboard night ' then ? I've been going to folk clubs, sessions and open mic's for 40 years and never heard of it.

Dave H


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Etiquette at Blackboard & Open Mic
From: Vic Smith
Date: 09 Nov 13 - 09:36 AM

Performing times are set up on a blackboard, usually in 15 minute slots and you fill in the times that you would like to perform on the blackboard. Much more common in the USA than over here.
In New Orleans, I saw a man trying surreptitiously to rub out the name on the board and enter his own band's name.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Etiquette at Blackboard & Open Mic
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 09 Nov 13 - 10:24 AM

An unscrupulous MC could give all the best spots to his cronies and banish all those not in the in-crowd to the graveyard slots

In a strange town on business, I visited a folk club which shall be nameless, having phoned the organiser beforehand to make myself known). It was an 8.30 start; my bus dropped me at 8.25, and - being used to late starts - I took a couple of minutes to locate the return bus stop and check the time of the last bus (which was 10.30ish). I went and got a pint, asked directions for the club and got to the room at 8.32 (approx.) To my surprise, the room was already packed - 50-60 people on rows of seats, hardly an empty seat in the place; to my even greater surprise, the first performer was already in the middle of his second number. I managed to work out who the organiser was and make myself known; he told me he'd fit me in later. I spent the next hour wondering what I should sing, when he was going to call me and if I was ever going to get a seat; then somebody left and I spent the next half hour just wondering about the first two. At 10.00 or so a rather professional duo did three numbers rather than two; "don't fancy following that," I thought to myself. I needn't have worried, as this was the pre-interval act: the lights went up and the organisers promptly started circulating (with some difficulty, given how full the room was) with raffle tickets and plates of sandwiches. Then somebody started setting up the stage for the next act. My last bus was looming, and I realised that I basically had three choices:

1. Buy a raffle ticket, have a sandwich and hang on until the first act, hoping that (despite evidence to the contrary) it might turn out to be me they were planning to call first. Then get my bus.
2. Buy a raffle ticket, have a sandwich and hang on until the end of the first act, and maybe if necessary the end of the second act - (they've got to call me some time!)... and walk back into town.
3. Cut my losses and leave.

I went for 3. I wasn't too bothered about not singing (although I did regret not having a sandwich), but I do think it would have been a nice gesture to get the visitor on reasonably early in the evening. Then again, it would have been a nice gesture on my part to turn up before it started. But then, how was I to know they started on time?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Etiquette at Blackboard & Open Mic
From: Vic Smith
Date: 09 Nov 13 - 10:55 AM

Doug Chadwick wrote
"I don't like that idea. An unscrupulous MC could give all the best spots to his cronies and banish all those not in the in-crowd to the graveyard slots."

I have been the compere at my own weekly club for probably 99% of the evenings that we have run over the last (gulp) 47 years. Our regulars know that if there are newcomers that they will be preferred for floor spots even if it means that regulars are squeezed out. However, if they are rubbish or try to read their words from a music stand they are highly unlikely to be asked to perform again. My first responsibility is to the people that have paid their money on the door and to provide an evening where the evening is as varied and the standard is as high as I can manage from the performers available. Virtually every week we have more singers than time for floor performers, even at one item each.
On the rare occasions when we have an Open Night - 3 or 4 times a year - then we don't charge on the door and don't collect so on those nights it is more of a case of 'anything goes'.

Phil Edwards wrote:-
"But then, how was I to know they started on time?"

We always start on time with a tune session. If it gets to a minute past 8 and we haven't started, I get twitchy and herd the other residents to join me in playing tunes. This happens even if the room only has a few people in the room. We say we start at 8 so we start at 8.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Etiquette at Blackboard & Open Mic
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 09 Nov 13 - 12:06 PM

I'm not accusing anyone Vic. I'm sure you run your events well but Phil's post shows that things may be different elsewhere.

The blackboard system is the one I'm used to; you pick your own slot on a first come first served basis. Everyone can see who's coming up next and you get a chance to prepare yourself, mentally, as your turn approaches. It's not perfect – I normally aim for slot 3 but, on a quiet night, slots 1 & 2 may remain empty and I end up going on first – but at least everything is open and above board.

DC


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Etiquette at Blackboard & Open Mic
From: GUEST,John Foxen
Date: 09 Nov 13 - 12:52 PM

Doug Chadwick wrote: I'm not accusing anyone Vic. I'm sure you run your events well but Phil's post shows that things may be different elsewhere.

What Phil's post showed was that on an unexpectedly busy night at a club the MC might have to start proceedings early and make sure that those who turned up early got on and even more importantly, that the audience enjoyed themselves (as Vic Smith emphasises).
I'm sorry for Phil but he could well have been edged out at my club if he'd turned up late on an open evening and not made it plain to the MC that he had to catch a bus by whatever time it was.
I can understand why Doug likes the blackboard system because he can pick his spot but it has its drawbacks. For example, you might get half a dozen singer-songwriter guitarists one after the other followed by half a dozen long unaccompanied ballad singers.
It's fairer on the audience to mix them up a bit.
Doug's remark about cronies is unpleasant. The MC may indeed have favourite acts because he knows they can be relied upon for a rousing opening song or to provide a bit of light relief after a heavy murder ballad or to give a good finish (Phil's story shows that the MC at the club did well to give the polished group a spot that brought the first half to a good close -- and no one else had to follow them).
I've been bumped off the singers list many times because I was late or there wasn't room and I'm sure it will happen again.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Etiquette at Blackboard & Open Mic
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Nov 13 - 01:04 PM

I too like the singaround format. However I get irritated at festivals by the few who always arrive part way through and then sit as near to the last singer as possible. Having sung ahead of many who came earlier they then leave.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Etiquette at Blackboard & Open Mic
From: Amos
Date: 09 Nov 13 - 02:19 PM

Our local draws rhe order out of a pot full of scraps of paper with names on. They assign fifteen-minute slots in the order they are drawn. You're free to swap if others are willing. The advantage is there's no favoritism; the drawback, that you have to be there at he very start to get your name into the pot. The other open mic I go to uses advance requests from performers via Facebook but the final list is in the trusted hands of an organizer who is very fair-minded.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Etiquette at Blackboard & Open Mic
From: NigelParry
Date: 09 Nov 13 - 02:33 PM

Thanks, some interesting comments and experiences.

@Bonzo3Legs, you really should get along to open mic / backboard nights if you fancy variety and some quality music. I have been to some that were very high quality, and the 2 songs each variety adds extra anticipation and tension. I have gone along to some of these and actually not performed, just listened (even when asked if I would like to perform on several occasions).

Which begs the question - do we all need to perform to have a good night?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Etiquette at Blackboard & Open Mic
From: GUEST,Murray Kilpatrick.
Date: 09 Nov 13 - 06:11 PM

Hi Nigel. Funny to go so far, electronically to make contact. was just browsing. By the way the song you and julian performed on Thursday night was absolutely wonderful.
I have always felt that as a sometimes, performer, If I expect people to listen to me, then I've got to be prepared to listen to other's. We have both done a lot of the latter. For me, it's generally what I do by far the most. Unfortunately all performers have an ego, or a desire to be appreciated, which means, what they do is far more important to them than anything anyone else does. In fact I've learnt far more from watching and listening to other's than I have ever learn't just doing it myself. I have also mostly enjoyed being an audience.
Never the less, like all of us, I'm part of the folk scene, because I like to play music myself.
Thanks for bring this up . All power to you. Cheers Murray


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Etiquette at Blackboard & Open Mic
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 09 Nov 13 - 06:37 PM

if he'd turned up late on an open evening

"Late"! 8.32 it was, 8.33 at the very outside (and I had phoned beforehand). What really struck me was that the room was packed - regulars at that particular club obviously know that it starts bang on 8.30 & turn up ten minutes or so before that. Not that that's a bad thing, it's just unlike any other club I've known.

But I agree, "out of towner gets bumped" isn't the crime of the century - and it was a good, well-structured evening's music.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Etiquette at Blackboard & Open Mic
From: Howard Jones
Date: 10 Nov 13 - 04:29 AM

I haven't been to an 'open mic' event, but from the description it appears to me to have a slightly different dynamic to the traditional UK folk club such as Vic describes.

An open mic event seems to be promoted as an opportunity for performers to play in front of an audience. If the performers can choose their own time slots the MC is giving up any responsibility for providing a balanced evening's entertainment for the audience. The event simply offers performers a showcase; for the audience I guess the deal is a cheap night out and the hope that they might hear some good music - it's pot luck. In this environment it is unsurprising that some performers and any supporters they bring with them are only interested in their own slot. They don't regard their own performance as being part of a bigger programme.

In the folk club format which Vic describes, and which I am more familiar with, the floor spot is an opportunity for members of the audience to be involved in providing the entertainment for the evening. The MC decides who will play and when, and is able to provide a more balanced programme. Each floor spot is part of a bigger whole, and most people instinctively understand this.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Etiquette at Blackboard & Open Mic
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 10 Nov 13 - 10:05 AM

"@Bonzo3Legs, you really should get along to open mic / backboard nights if you fancy variety and some quality music."

No, last night we saw James Delarre & Saul Rose - that, is the standard of music we prefer!!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Etiquette at Blackboard & Open Mic
From: NigelParry
Date: 11 Nov 13 - 02:55 AM

Good to hear from you Murray.

The love of music was probably sparked by listening, before playing. While we all love to perform, I guess we love to listen as well.

You are a great supporter of people who need encouragement and are more fragile than they appear, and for that the music community owes you a great deal.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Etiquette at Blackboard & Open Mic
From: NigelParry
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 04:30 PM

"Each floor spot is part of a bigger whole, and most people instinctively understand this."
True @Howard_Jones.

Most people.

Most people show respect to their fellow musos at open mic / blackboard events as well.

Most people.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 21 June 3:00 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.