Venue: Calliope’s Nest @ Lola in Kensington Market, Toronto

In a tiny, unassuming bar in Kensington Market there is a fledgling all-woman open mic happening every Monday night. Since its first night, February 14th, the goal of this venture has been to create a welcoming, relaxed atmosphere for women to get out and play music. With so many places to play in Toronto, why host an event that showcases women performers only? Some of the participants have had experiences of being overlooked or sidelined at open mics and have found that jams aren’t always as inclusive as they could be.

In addition to musical offerings from our hosts (Shannon, Dominique & Margaret) Chloe dropped in for a couple of gorgeous a cappella gospel songs. Week 7 of Calliope’s Nest also featured Sunday Wilde – fresh from her CD release party at the Cameron the night before – who made a sorely out of tune piano sound great with several original songs and a couple of jazzy covers. To hear more from Sunday visit:

I should note: although the performers are all women, men are welcome at this event as listeners. In fact, there was a small but appreciative audience this week which included several men.

Calliope’s Nest is “a space for women of any ability to come out and share their musical dreams and talents”. If you are a woman and have been thinking of bringing your voice into the open but have felt intimidated by the world of open stages, here is a small, supportive venue where you will be welcome.

[Calliope’s Nest, Lola, 40 Kensington Ave, Toronto; every Monday 6-9 pm]


  1. Madame "X"

    I’m starting a squirrels-only open stage. Pigeons are allowed, but just as waitstaff, and please, no dogs.

  2. Julie

    Not sure if you are using satire to critique the “women only” concept for an open stage or if you just have a great sense of humour. Either way, your comment conjures up a very funny image – I can just picture it!

  3. denverbird

    You can Slag us if you want, but we are never going to stop doing what we are doing. Thanks for noticing Madame x, now get some rest! Ladies, it’s working! Thank you to all our participants. Our next event is booked for this Monday January 30th 6-9p.m. @ Lola. Lots of room in the Nest! Hope to see you there.

  4. Sugar-Plum Croxen

    I was one of the first acts/band that played at “Lola” when it was called> Kim’s Cafe, back in 1991. Mr. Kim still owns the place! (Sugar-Plum croxen, Ernest Lee.)
    Over the years I’ve had good times there playing with musicians like: Jimbo, Johnny Bootz, Danny Blue, Tom Detario, ted rusk, Chris Lord of Box Full Of Cash, Chris Hope, Gary 17, Ursala Hickey etc.

    [email protected]

  5. Global Sync

    Funny how only the musicians get credit for being there but the folks who think of and organize this stuff and invisible. Also, I believe Linda Shumas also played the first night. In fact I believe I have it on tape. And you are welcome. <3

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *