Greetings NUVO readers,

I’m beginning to formulate another communal music piece that specifically looks at open mics in Indianapolis, and how they play a part in the city’s music scene. Throughout my local music reporting, I’ve found many artists that became connected to Indy’s music community through open mic events. Taking this into consideration, I think it’d be beneficial to have a full story highlighting every open mic in the city, with key information for new artists that are looking to have their voice heard.

If you have any open mic experiences you’d like to share with me, please leave them in the comments below. Any and all information you can provide me with will ultimately help in directing this story and its overall impact on the community.

I look forward to hearing from you!


Seth Johnson

Music Editor

Seth Johnson, Music Editor at NUVO, can be reached by email at sjohnson@nuvo.net, by phone at 317-254-2400 or on Twitter @sethvthem

Writer - Music, Comedy & Sports

An Indianapolis native, I love all things music, especially of the local variety. My other passions also include comedy, social justice, and the Indiana Pacers.

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(10) comments


[thumbup] Look for the FB Group: Indy Open Stage Page. That's where most Open Mic Hosts will post there info.
There is also a list in the Files area that shows all of the Open Mics in the Central Indiana Area.
As for me, my open mic experience goes back to the early 80's at places all over Indy and after a Hiatus from performing, I got my sea legs back by attending open mics hosted by Gary Wasson, Ralph Ed Jeffers and others.
The scene has really grown and it is very exciting to see the wide array of talent that attend open mics these days . . . thanks for asking!

Gary Wasson

Thank you, Seth, for shining a light on open mic nights, aka open stages, in the Indianapolis area. These events really are an essential part of the music community. I've enjoyed and learned a lot attending and hosting them for years.

In the early 2000s, the management at Barley Island in Noblesville asked me to host an acoustic music open stage. We were astounded by the response. The first night and for about five years we had full sign-up lists of players, ranging from novices to some of the best and best known musicians in the area. People came from all over greater Indianapolis & Hamilton County, Greenfield & Hancock County, Elwood & Madison and Tipton Counties, Greenwood & Johnson County. We had acoustic rock, folk, bluegrass and Celtic solo acts, duos and bands, classical and jazz musicians and one fellow who played Japanese folk music on a banjo-type instrument. We'd get touring musicians who were passing through. That open stage ran its course eventually and then we moved to the Old Town Ale House in Fishers and from there to the Corner Wine Bar in Broad Ripple. I say "we" moved because a good number of the folks who attended would move with me to the next venue. I hosted in Greenwood at a cajun/creole restaurant whose name has escaped my memory, at Patrick's Kitchen in Zionsville, cohosted at the Aristocrat and am now hosting at the Grand Junction Brewing Company Taproom in Westfield.

A few things I've seen and come to know in my time hosting open mic events:

Solo acts, duos and bands form and grow at these events.

People who aspire to perform music publicly learn their craft at these events. Some of these folks are literally trembling with anxiety and fear because the open mic is their first time in front of an audience. This is not easy to see, but then as they keep coming back, trying and working in spite of their fear they improve and performing becomes fun and fulfilling, at least most of the time.

Songwriters play their songs and try out unfinished ones. Performers try out songs they're learning.

People make new friends.

Audiences at open mic nights are unfailingly kind and supportive. People do talk, usually quietly, but my feeling is that open mics are social events as well as performances. I have at times suggested that folks who want to talk should move as far back from the stage as they can & keep their voices quiet.

Most of the events I've hosted are music oriented, but a couple, including the one I host now, welcome standup comedians and poets, and my limited experience with these folks has been great. They too just want to share their craft with a supportive audience, hone their work and have a good evening with like minded people.

Thanks again, Seth, for seeking feedback about open mic events. I look forward to reading more comments from your readers.

Gary Wasson

Seth Johnson Staff
Seth Johnson

Thanks so much for the insight Gary! I will be likely be getting in touch with you for an interview sometime next week.

Gary Wasson

You're welcome and thank you. Looking forward to hearing from you, Seth.

Daniel Murray

I’ve recently been getting back into the music scene, thanks to great friends, after a band break up. I’ve recently played at Irvington theatre and Black Circle. Irvington theatre was a little cold and dark (being the building that it is). I’m pretty sure it moves outside once it gets nice out. The open mic at black circle brewing was very well set up after a circle in the round hosted by Steve Fulton and friends. I’m looking to connect with more local musicians, write more original music, and get it out in the air. My band and I’s originals are available on Spotify under the name The Same Strangers. Very Americana influenced country blues music. Always looking for new opportunities throughout the city.

Seth Johnson Staff
Seth Johnson

Thanks for the feedback Daniel! Hoping the end result of my findings will end up helping everyone in the city find more opportunities that they weren't yet aware of.

Jeremiah Little

I think Michael Ray Durham puts a list together not sure if that is his above.
My experience in the open mic scene. I used to do a lot of open mics around the city. Things I did like, occasionally someone like Pete justice would show up with some harmonica's and just come up and start playing with me. It gave me a lot of incite to what my songs could sound like with other talented musicians playing along with me. Things I didn't like about most open stages, people are talking..carrying on..being loud. Fast forward to today where I have come to really love the open mic at the Square Cat vinyl! 30 musicians, one night every month, everyone gets one song! I love that idea. Not only that but there is such a variety of musicians, but ones that I have never seen at a regular open mic. It Might be a rapper then a guy with a bass guitar singing and playing his heart out. Some times people get up and do spoken word. I will say this, not only is there a ton of variety, but there is not a single soul in the audience talking during a performance. Brilliant! Well done Square Cat!

Seth Johnson Staff
Seth Johnson

Thanks Jeremiah! Appreciate the feedback.

Richard Sullivan

http://openmic.indianainternet.net/ - A local musician, I think, is author of this site.

Seth Johnson Staff
Seth Johnson

Awesome, thanks! This definitely seems like it will be a useful resource.