Open Mic amateur nights showcase local, student talent in off-campus spotlight

Waco Common Grounds August 22, 2013 Robby Hirst | Lariat Photographer
Waco Common Grounds August 22, 2013
Robby Hirst | Lariat Photographer
By Haley Davis

Exposure: This is what artists can gain by performing at Open Mic.

This event takes place every Wednesday evening at a local coffee shop near Baylor’s campus, Common Grounds. It is free to attend and to perform.

“Open Mic is a long-standing tradition,” said Wes Butler, live event coordinator at Common Grounds.

From students to faculty to visitors, this weekly event is open to anyone and everyone.

“We have several people who even come from out of town just to perform at our Open Mic,” Butler said.

The sign-up list is posted inside the coffee shop every Thursday. Single and duo performers can sign up for a 15-minute slot to perform anything they wish.

“We really like it when artists perform original music, but cover songs are welcomed as well,” Butler said.

However, performers are not limited to only performing music. Daring amateurs can also perform poetry or comedy, to name a few.

Kingwood senior David Stevenson has performed at Open Mic several times since his freshman year at Baylor and said it’s a great place to explore talent without the pressure of a booked gig.

“Open Mic offers a medium for artists to be themselves and express themselves as they see fit, without constraints or expectations,” Stevenson said.

Over the last four semesters since Butler began as live event coordinator, Open Mic has added a featured “Artist of the Week” where hand-picked artists headline Open Mic with a 30-minute full-band performance.

“These are people who are serious about doing music for their career,” Butler said. “ We can’t give them money, but we can give them exposure. We want to find local talent.”

Anyone can be an “Artist of the Week” at Open Mic, and after proving his or her talent, only the best of the best get chosen for this honor.

Upcoming featured artists this semester include Dreamboat, Daniel Gonzales from College Station, Andrew Sullivan, Bob Johns and many more. Past artists include Trannie Stevens, Savion Wright and Aprilemade.

“We really recognize the artists who put in the legwork to put on a good show,” Butler said.

On Sept. 25, artists Tye Barrett and Haley Barnes will perform all original songs and explain the inspiration behind them at the event, “Songwriters in the Round.”

“You leave those nights wanting to write music,” Butler said about the event.

On the Common Grounds website, Butler says his goal is to book relevant artists that interest both Baylor students and community members, and he feels that local art is one of the many things that defines a community.

To learn more about upcoming shows, visit the Common Grounds website at, Facebook page or blog.