By Tori Templet | Staff Writer
Open mic night is back at Common Grounds, signaling the transformation from old traditions into new visions for the well-known, local coffee shop.
Store manager Connor Shoults said Common Grounds pressed pause on open mic night two years ago when it underwent staff and position transitions.
“I think a lot of the old traditions we used to do kind of got lost in those transitions,” Shoults said. “A lot of what the owner, Blake Batson, and the team have been wanting to do was to bring back those old traditions and combine them with the new experience we have inside the bar and the changes that we have made.”
Katy senior Kat Mills, a shift lead manager, said as a student it is super integral to have the live performances at Common Grounds.
“It’s really cool since it’s basically [only] on campus that you get that element when you’re a student,” Mills said. “You can just walk over here and see a lot of culture and talent that you would miss out on otherwise. We also have a lot of events for sorority fundraisers and concerts. Not having that element felt like a huge piece of [the] culture, that’s part of Waco, Baylor and Common Grounds, was kind of missing.”
As the company had renovations done over the summer, it allowed for new possibilities.
Shoults said he and Liam Stevenson, his assistant manager, have been big proponents of getting back to the old ways of using the Common Grounds back yard for artists in Waco to share their talent.
The first open mic night resumed Aug. 25, with every slot filled by enthusiastic artists. Mills said because Common Grounds is so unique and eclectic, the artists that perform reflect that same culture.
“It is really special to experience people doing their own unique music,” Mills said. “Getting to see that character and see people become confident on stage is really cool.”
Shoults said that as a manager, he is excited for Common Grounds to have people come in for more than just a quick coffee before class.
“I think this space is very well utilized in that scenario, and it is fun to see people we haven’t seen in a long time coming back and doing their performances,” Shoults said. “The community that comes is super supportive of everyone that performs. Now that we’ve picked open mic night back up, it feels like a really cool connection between old Common Grounds and new Common Grounds.”