Open mic nights at Muddy Waters: a comfortable atmosphere for patrons, performers

Every Wednesday from 7-10 p.m., Muddy Waters Coffee House on Main Street hosts an open mic night. The tradition began in just the second week of Muddy Waters’ existence - the coffee house will be four years old in February.

Steve West, a professional guitarist from Livonia, N.Y. started open mic night. Jacob Kane, the owner of the coffee house contacted him because of his experience hosting similar events at other upstate New York venues. At the time, West said that he was hosting open mics at another local coffee shop, which has since closed down.

According to West, the open mic at Muddy Waters is a space for performers with all experiences.

“Open mic gives people that don’t have anywhere else to play a chance to get experience. It also gives people with more experience a chance to grow and try new material,” West said.

Many of the performers at open mic sing and play acoustic guitar. Some perform solo, while others perform in small groups. Other performers recite spoken word poetry and raps. West said he recalls that some have even tried their hands at comedy routines.

“The atmosphere reminds me of a small cafe I go to back home,” said freshman Louis Marzella. “It’s a really interesting and artsy environment.”

Students and Livingston County locals alike attend these Muddy Waters open mic events. Attendees enjoy food, beverages and music on the mismatched, worn-in couches.

“I’m really blown away by the talent of the performers,” Marzella said.

Freshman Kevin Callery regularly sings and plays guitar or ukulele at the open mic nights.

“Open mic is a lot of fun. There are a lot of talented people,” he said. “Everyone’s really accepting. If you make a mistake, there’s no judgment.”

While open mic nights provide a casual and relaxing environment for coffee house patrons, West said he is always encouraging them to support Muddy Waters by buying something from its wide selection of drinks and baked goods, adding that “It’s how they pay for the electricity.”