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!
The Hamilton Folk Club – For 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 Sessions – For 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).