There are several common misconceptions about Open Mic Nights that prevent musically-inclined people from participating.
The first misconception is that performers must have a wildly beautiful and breathtaking performance to wow the crowd of spectators. The second misconception is that if a performance is really bad, in the middle of it, rotten tomatoes will get thrown at the performer's face.
Let me be the first to tell you that no tomatoes were in attendance at the Student Center's Open Mic Night three Tuesdays ago.
With only 10 people in attendance, Open Mic Night was surprisingly lively. The atmosphere was not lacking at all; in fact, it was the complete opposite. With cheers and screams echoing throughout the Cats Den, there was no negativity in sight—only peers cheering other peers on.
“It's a really fun and supportive group," said Simon Deperima, who was there in support of one of her friends. "I think it’s a great opportunity for people to get out of their comfort zone in a safe space.”
To perform in front of people can indeed be nerve-racking, especially when a person who does not consider themselves to be any type of musical performer gets up on the stage all alone. Thomi Wenda was one such performer.
With his two friends in attendance, however, Wenda was able to make it through his performance of Kenny Rogers’ “Coward of the County.”
“I really wanted to quit from the first one," Wenda said. "But [my friends] kept cheering and even if I know it sounded bad I decided to push through."
To make things even sweeter, once Wenda was done with his performance both of his friends decided to go up on stage and perform their own song choices.
The tradition of Open Mic Night has been going on for about ten years at UK. The event was previously housed in Blazer Dining Hall before moving to the Cats Den at the Student Center. Max Blalock, Cat’s Den Programming Manager, thinks people should give Open Mic Night a chance.
“I encourage everyone to come out and try it because when you have a big crowd of people wanting to come up and perform it makes it more exciting for everyone,” Blalock said.
Open Mic Night is more than listening to the music that is being played and singing along with everyone in attendance. It's building a connection with people who you haven’t known long by supporting them on the stage.
Whether the song was Bruce Springsteen or Adele, everyone had a clear understanding that the audience wasn't there to judge but rather to be there for each other if any nervousness kicks in.
Follow @ukycatsden for more information about when the next Open Mic Night and other fun sponsored events through the Cats Den.