Taking the stage: open mic events around USF
Published: Thursday, May 31, 2012
Updated: Thursday, May 31, 2012 01:05
In a city like Tampa,where large music venues cater mainly to established artists, it can be hard for emerging musicians to find a place to express themselves.
The USF area, however, hosts a surprising number of opportunities for budding artists to let their voices be heard through open mic nights. These events help sharpen artistic skills while providing a relaxing and friendly environment.
The Oracle offers a guide to local open mic hot spots, so USF performers won’t have to go far to get on stage.
Sacred Grounds Coffee House
4819 E Busch Blvd.
Sacred Grounds is an oasis for anyone trying to make Monday nights less mundane. Open mic starts at 9:00 p.m., and though it doesn’t end until 2:00 a.m., spots fill up quick, so sign up early.
With DIY classes on topics such as alternative medicine and soap making held every week,Sacred Grounds is constantly involved in teaching the Tampa community about being self-sufficient. This may explain why the café encourages original performances, with the material coming from within the participant rather than from the latest hit song.
While enjoying the friendly atmosphere and unique entertainment of Monday night open mic, be sure to stay energized with the café’s fair trade coffees and teas.
10008 North 30th St.
Pegasus Lounge could be considered the black sheep of this list of open mic locations, as its large stage and full PA system allow for a much louder group of performers. This bar is located across the street from Busch Gardens and less than two miles from campus, making it an easy-to-find destination.
Open mic goes from 10:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. on Tuesday nights, and signup sheets are provided at the entrance. There is no cover charge and the laid-back atmosphere makes it impossible to feel tense before getting on stage.
The music performed at Pegasus Lounge generally leans toward the hard rock category, but there is no limit to what you can do once on stage.
Felicitous Coffee House
11706 North 51st St.
Just a short walk from campus, this pleasantly secluded café can be found, right off Fowler Avenue. While Felicitous only hosts open mic nights from 7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of every month, the turnout is always great.
The event is held outside,where you can enjoy the melding of music and poetry with warm night air. The exceptionally helpful staff will make sure you are comfortable during the event, providing blankets and mats when all of the usual seats are taken.
All types of performances are welcome at Felicitous’ open mic nights. If you don’t want to get on stage, you can always sit back, cradle a warm cup of tea and enjoy the artistic expression that is bound to surround the café.
5731 East Fowler Ave.
Located off Fowler Avenue just a few minutes from campus, Café Kili encourages family nights. Every Thursday, the open mic event starts at 7:00 p.m. and is staged in the front of the café.
The warm ambience of the café is enhanced by the owners, who are incredibly supportive of performers. While the open mic is full of friendly people, the tables are spread far enough apart so that you can enjoy the event without feeling claustrophobic.
Cafe Kili offers a wide selection of coffees, from a powerful Ethiopian blend to a subtle Costa Rican roast. If the adrenaline of being in front of a group of strangers doesn’t reach you, the aroma of freshly ground coffee sure will.
International Boba House and Internet Café
2764 University Square Dr.
If you have a song stuck in your head and a taste for something out of the ordinary, Boba is the place to go. The sign up time for open mic is 8:00 p.m. every Friday, and performances start soon after.
Boba is located right next to a USF Bull Runner D route bus stop on Unversity Square Dr. Going to the open mic event will not only save money on gas, but also on Boba drinks. These blended sweet drinks will satisfy anyone looking for a unique alternative to café beverages. Anyone who gets on stage and expresses themselves in front of an audience gets half off any drink.
The staff is interested in making everyone feel comfortable and will often pick up instruments to play with the bands on stage.