These days, those stages are virtual or largely nonexistent, and all are under threat as independent venues and businesses struggle to survive. The genre of music varies depending on the night and the place, and occasionally spoken-word poets or comedians take the stage.
Luke and Nikki Tredinnick, hosts of the open mic at Woods Boss Brewery, recall once asking a room full of performers for a guitar to borrow; turns out there were three cellos, a trumpet and a violin in the crowd, but not one musician had brought a guitar. The Tredinnicks, both trained horn players, love accompanying acts on stage with their assortment of instruments.
While social distancing has made sitting in with musicians challenging, the couple is still finding connection through the Woods Boss Your Time Virtual Open Mic that they started hosting on Facebook and Zoom when Denver first went into lockdown. Safety was the main reason that Uptake put the Syntax Songwriters Open Mic on hiatus indefinitely, even though the Broadway Roxy, where it’s held, reopened.
And hosting reminds him of how much open mics meant to his own beginnings as a musician, how much he relied on that safety net and that community. In the meantime, Uptake is convinced that the performers will be able to weather the times and re-emerge not only with new creations, but with a greater understanding of themselves and appreciation of the music communities they’re a part of.
The National Independent Venue Association estimates that 90 percent of its members will be forced to close without government aid by the end of the year. The Broadway Roxy, which opened a little over a year ago in the Syntax Physic Opera space, is one of those members whose future hangs in the balance.
While most venues and bars are eager for aid, open mics are less about revenue and more about building a grassroots music scene. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture.
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