Open Mic Night at Fresh Brewed Coffee House in downtown Myrtle Beach ushered in its five-year anniversary Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m., as a group of acoustic musicians gathered to strum guitars and showcase their talents.
Show host and singer/songwriter, Brian Roessler, and Fresh Brewed Coffee House director, Kevin Turner, call the event an anomaly citing that such events don’t often have such longevity, especially outside a traditional bar setting where alcohol is served.
Roessler and Turner each cited consistency as the main reason the event has continued for five years. The show is always every Thursday evening, excluding holidays, and it continuously gives musicians a chance to display original work and be the focus of attention.
“The musicians have the best sound possible, and the audience is given the best show possible, so it’s a formula that works,” said Roessler.
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The show’s vibe was warm and welcoming as area amateurs were invited to perform in the coffee house’s listening room – a back area away from the noise of grinding coffee beans and hissing espresso machines. Musicians of all different ages and walks of life crossed paths as they took turns playing songs and encouraging one another on a small stage.
“I like coming here. It’s fun. It’s helped me with performing because everyone is so supportive,” said musician and Open Mic Night regular performer Anna Corley.
The event began because Turner was looking to give the music scene at Fresh Brewed Coffee House some consistency. Roessler had performed at the coffee house several times before, and was familiar with hosting open mic nights, so Turner invited him to hold a regular event.
Turner also wanted to add a new element to the art scene in Myrtle Beach.
“We’re really big on pushing art and music here, so Open Mic Night is the icing on the cake. It adds culture to Myrtle Beach,” said Turner.
“It gives people who want the spotlight the chance for the spotlight,” said Roessler.
Turner said social media has also played a part in perpetuating the show, thanks to high ratings for the coffee house and the event at websites like Yelp.com. He also said websites such as http://openmikes.org, which are specifically designed to help musicians find an open mic event near them, have helped to boost turnout, especially during tourist season.
“One thing you’re guaranteed here is to see great artist, from here [Myrtle Beach] and out of state,” said Open Mic Night attendee and poet Farrah Dickerson.
A nurturing atmosphere has also been a factor that has kept the event going strong, according to Roessler and Turner.
“This is such a great place for the novice. They get a lot of encouragement here,” said Turner.
The event starts promptly at 7:30 p.m. with Roessler opening up with a song or two.
It’s always “unplugged” because Roessler stated it’s too time-consuming to constantly switch out electrical equipment for musicians. He said the show would lose its momentum if there were long lulls between different acts, and performance time would have to be cut back as well to make up for the lost time.
The crowd ranges from high school and college students to people in their 60s. Roessler said there is an average of about 15 performers for each event. He said the crowd swells to average numbers in the 20s during the fall and winter seasons, because many area musicians’ regular gigs end after the tourist season.
Fresh Brewed Coffee House is a nonprofit organization and has been operating since 2002. It’s located at 933 Broadway St. in Myrtle Beach. For more information, about Open Mic Night call 251-8282.