When Beans-N-Cream, a coffee shop in Cedarville, moved to its current location in 2008, manager Mindy Pergram and her husband, Tony (known as “The Barber of the ‘Ville”), made sure music would be a part of the new location.
“He’s always been into music,” said Pergram, referring to her husband. “When Beans moved to this spot, we said, ‘We have to have a stage.’”
And so in the corner of the coffee shop, there’s a stage designed for performers to play in open mic nights every Saturday from 8-10 p.m., Pergram said.
This event is open for all ages to attend, and any artist is allowed to play. About half the performers are college students, Pergram said.
Each week’s performance is different: sometimes it’s a packed house and other times it’s a sparse crowd. A local named Eddie Grey typically runs the show, and any artist who’s interested in performing just shows up.
“We have a little signup sheet,” Pergram said. “You put your name and then have at it.”
The number of performers varies each week, said barista Kyle Daily.
“Could be anywhere from two to three performers to a list of eight or nine,” Daily said. “I think the most I’ve ever seen was probably eight.”
Attendance is another thing that varies, but Daily said he tends to see some customers consistently – some who are friends of the performers and some who just like the music.
“We call them our regulars, the Saturday night people,” Daily said.
Some people really enjoy mic nights, but others don’t like them because the music gets loud, Daily said.
The musicians enjoy having a place to perform in town, Pergram said, so most have been on board to help with logistics of the open mic nights.
One example she gave was of a Cedarville student, Alex DeLange, who helped raise money for Beans-N-Creams’s current sound system.
And the event has certainly paid off in more than just money.
“A girl that used to work here actually met her husband at an open mic night,” Daily said.
The Spirited Goat
If you walk past the Spirited Goat, a little coffee shop in Yellow Springs, you’ll hear live music five nights a week.
The Spirited Goat hosts three different kinds of music events. Wednesday is Jazz Night, Thursday is Open Mic Night, and Friday, Saturday and Sunday are nights for more established artists.
The owner, Michael Herington, books all the shows, and he said he welcomes a variety of performers – a lot of singer-songwriters as well as small bands, poets, karaoke singers, comedians, magicians, and many other types of musicians.
Many of the bands he books, including some of the professional bands, play for “tips and drinks,” Herington said.
“The nice thing about the vibe and the acceptance here is that I get people that get paid – they travel the country but they feel the situation,” Herington said. “They’re willing to work for tips just because we treat them well and they get good reception from the audience. So we get some high level artists.”
Though many of the bands return to perform, Herington said he’s always on the lookout for good new performers to play at The Spirited Goat.
“I’m always asking people, ‘Do you play music, do you want to come play?’” he said.
The open mic night provides a positive and accepting atmosphere for all types of artists, Herington said.
“Some people are getting on the stage for the first time,” he said. “Others are nervous. Our audiences are very good to them. When that happens it’s just a good vibe.”
And that’s what Herington said he ultimately strives for – an open and accepting atmosphere.
“We definitely try not to censor anything,” Herington said. “The only thing I do censor is anything to do with violence. I like the freedom of expression.”
And the uplifting atmosphere pays off.
“I get some fantastic artists here,” Herington said.
Michael Shawn Carbaugh II is a freshman music composition major and arts and entertainment writer for Cedars. He likes to write music in nearly every genre and enjoys listening to new genres as well.