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Songwriters Welcome! Nashville-style Open Stage in Guelph

There is no lack of places to share music in the Guelph area, all with their own personality and focus, and it is always nice to see one that showcases original songwriting.

This fall, the Guelph Chapter of the Songwriters Association of Canada (SAC) hosted a Nashville-style “in the round” open mic, where three songwriters at a time share the stage and take turns performing their own tunes. It’s a chance to enjoy a variety of styles and to connect with other songwriters. Listeners welcome, too! Put February 23, 2020 at 4 pm in your calendar for the next Songwriters Open Stage at the ANAF in Guelph.

Peter Light, prolific songwriter and our host for the evening, also runs a SAC regional songwriters group in Guelph where musicians can try out new songs, ask for and give feedback in a supportive environment. The group usually meets the second Monday of the month from 7-9 pm but check the  group’s FB page to confirm.



Venue: The Red Brick Café, Guelph ON

There has been a music-shaped empty space in Guelph for a while now. Once filled by the Magnolia Café and then by the Joint, the Red Brick Café took its turn last week hosting musicians on a Tuesday evening.


There was a very enthusiastic turnout, both performers and listeners.  Original songwriting, old standards, spoken word all had their time at the mic. I know I am not alone in hoping that they invite the acoustic open mic folks back again – maybe once a month? It is a lovely venue for music (the Café presents many live music events), the snacks are good, the service is friendly. And the people who came out to play… a fine group of people!



[Red Brick Café, 8 Douglas Street, Guelph; licensed – stay tuned for further Tuesday night developments…]


Event: Waterside Park Open Mic, Rockwood ON

Ian at WS PkRockwood has a tradition of kicking off the Pioneer Days Festival with an outdoor open mic. With Ian Reid as host, a beautiful riverside setting and perfect weather, this year’s Waterside Park Open Mic was a great success.   There was a full, all-ages list of participants and delicious treats just across the street provided by the Goodfellow Bakery.

The open mic was also something of a send-off for Ian as he heads west on tour with a new CD to share. We wish him a safe and fruitful journey!

WS Pk2 Banjo Julie Bev at WS

IMG_20160610_202404 IMG_20160610_201406

Hunter trio Don at WS Pk

WS Pk4 Dewy at WS Pk Dan at WS Pk


Fergus Tuesday Night Jam Moving to Elora

The Fergus Tuesday night jam is on the move. After nine years at the Old Copper Kettle (see interview with Nonie Crete, August 2010) and three years at Delainey’s (see July 7, 2010 post), the Tuesday night jam will have its final night in Fergus on November 15th. As of November 22nd, the Tuesday night jam has a new home at the Creperie in Elora. Thanks to Delainey for opening up her establishment to the Tuesday night musicians and listeners – and thanks to Jacques for providing a place to keep the music happening.

Welcome To The Open Stage Adventure

Looking for a place to play music in public for the first time?


Hoping to share old standards or new songs with other musicians?


Do you have a suggestion for a great jam, open stage, or song circle to visit?

Welcome to the first installment of the Open Stage Adventure.  It is my intention to explore how and why music brings us together as well as to celebrate the musical communities that are thriving all around the country.  I will start close to home (southern Ontario), and as my schedule and budget allow I will explore musical events further a field.  I will share my own experiences visiting open stages, song circles, acoustic jams, and other events where people share music.  I will also talk to hosts and founders to learn more about how the various clubs and venues came to be, and what keeps them going.

Look to this space for regular posts on making and sharing music. I look forward to your input and ideas. Summaries of events (host, venue, format, etc) will be posted under Stages, Circles & Jams.  Under Musical Musings you will find thoughts and opinions on making music and the place music has in our lives.  See the side bar for links to venues, musicians I meet along the way, and other musical resources like folk clubs, organizations, festivals.

“Take the mic” asks you to respond with your own experiences, suggestions and stories.

If you have a suggestion for an open stage, jam or song circle I should visit, please send me the details: Or post it as a comment if you would like other readers to know about it.