Tag: OSA

The Open Stage Adventure – a second fun-filled year!

It’s great to look back on a year of music when you know there’s more to look forward to . Since last June I have visited 25 events in 12 towns. It seems the more places I visit the more I hear about – for every gathering spot that has ended (sorry to hear of Alliston’s Groundswell Café closing its doors) several new initiatives spring up (for example, the Open Mic & Jam at the Ivy Arms, Milton and the Two Rivers Song Gathering, Guelph).

I appreciate the emails people have sent me with their own recommendations of a jam or open mic to check out. It’s great to get leads for new adventures and inspiring to hear about how much these places mean to people in their musical and personal journeys. Over 2700 of you dropped into the Open Stage Adventure last month and I hope to hear from more of you!

Some highlights:

The Hamilton Folk ClubFor longevity

The longest running open stage I visited this year has been going since 1982 (edged out the Free Times Café by one year).

 

 

The Cornerstone Campfire SessionsFor group participation

This venue stands out for having the most audience participation – so much so, that there wasn’t really a distinction between performers and audience. You’d be hard pressed to find someone in the establishment who wasn’t raising their voice, shaking a shaker or strumming an instrument.

Monday Night Deliverance – For high calibre music

Although I’m not a regular, the times I happened in on this event I was treated to songs by both up-and-coming and seasoned performers. I hear that one of the hosts, Christen Zuch, has started an open stage on Wednesday nights at the Embassy in Waterloo. I haven’t been there yet but it is definitely on the list for the next OSA season.

News Café, Niagara Falls – For youth talent

I was impressed with the songwriting and performing of the young people I saw at this venue (and it wasn’t just because two of them cheered when I took out my ukulele).

One Year Anniversary of the Open Stage Adventure

After one year of Open Stage Adventuring I have visited 23 musical events (some of them multiple times) in 16 cities/towns/hamlets. While some of those expeditions were solo ventures I also had musical/moral support at different times from: Peter Balka, Trish Brubacher and Genny Grier.

As part of my one year anniversary celebration I’d like to showcase some shining stars in the vast sky of open musical spaces.  Some pride themselves on attracting high calibre music, while others have created space for musical collaboration and expression that otherwise would not have happened.  Here are a few events that stand out. (Click on Stages, Circles & Jams and go to the city of the event to find the original post.)

Corktown Ukulele Jam, TorontoFor the most ukuleles I’ve ever seen together in one room and for providing multiple ways to participate.

In addition to the large group workshop to brush up on your uke skills and build some repertoire and the full house uke jam, uke players can sign up on-line to perform or lead a song. Beyond the weekly uke jam, host Steve McNie also offers workshops (ukulele high school 101) and promotes all manner of ukulele focussed happenings.

Groundswell, AllistonFor the impressive array of youth talent

(and the great snacks and micro-brews available)

A predominantly young crowd showcased an array of musical styles and instruments

Free F’all Sundays, TorontoFor the greatest number of musicians

Considering this event at the Supermarket is relatively new, the turn out is astounding: 50-70 performers each week keep the music going from 8 pm until the wee hours of the morning.

The Black Walnut Folk Club, Kitchener  – For the longest track record (1994)

This monthly club has a loyal following and has been going for 16 seasons.

The Elora Acoustic Café, Elora – For the high calibre of music at both the open stage and feature performance

In addition to featuring musicians ranging from Ian Reid to Kevin Breit to Sue Smith, the Elora Acoustic Café boasts an open stage full of talented regulars and delightful surprises.If you are reading this thinking “I go to an open stage that has been running longer than that” or “Why wasn’t [insert open stage here] mentioned? It’s the best!” then  go to the bottom of this post and click on the comment button (just to the right of “Read the whole story”) and suggest a venue that should be on my list for Year Two of the Open Stage Adventure. (The OSA FB page is another place to post info about your venue or event.)

June 2010, the first full month of theopenstageadventure.ca welcomed 152 visitors. This has climbed to 842 in the past month and some of those visitors have given me tips for new venues to explore and featured musicians that are not to be missed. I am looking forward to visiting some old favourites and discovering new gems in the year to come.