The First Ever Open Mic Night in Kodaikanal

Kodai has a lot of musical talent, but the only time we ever get to see it is at house parties or at school concerts. We’ve never had an event where anyone who wanted to perform, whether bathroom singers or shy guitarists, could do so. The idea to have an Open Mic nite just occurred to my sister and I one day, when we were lazing on the bed, eating Beef Chilli Fry from Tibs. I think the conversation went something like “Wouldn’t it be cool to have an Open Mic Night in Kodai” “Yeah, it would. We should do it” “Yeah, we should” “Okay then.” I don’t think it ever occurred to us that organizing it would be a problem. I mean, sure, we’d have to find a venue, but we already knew many people who would like to perform, and an even greater number who would love to listen. We just thought that it would be fun.

We had two venues in mind – Café Coffee Day and Cloud Street Café. Through a lucky circumstance, I met the lady who ran Cloud Street at an art exhibition, and as she was very enthusiastic about our idea to host the Open Mic at the café, the venue was set. My sister and I met her the next day and finalized the date, May 9th and decided to have the event from 7:00 – 8:30. We found more and more people who wanted to take part so that bit by bit, we finally had 10 performers.

We made a couple of flyers and put them up on Facebook and at a couple of places around town. Grandpa Open Mic Night Flyer

Batman Open Mic Night Flyer

Rajnikanth Open Mic Night Flyer

Startrooper Open Mic Night Flyer

The only snag in this best laid plan was the PA system. We had a performer who was going to sing along to backing tracks and needed a PA system for that, plus we figured that having a mike and speakers would be needed to hear the performers over the sound of everyone talking. The only thing is that we had no idea where to get it from. Forget getting it, I didn’t even know what it was. I just figured we needed a mike and a speaker set. Apparently, its a lottt more complicated than that. All questions to the boyfriend about it were met with deep, deeep sighs.

Then, deus ex machina. The head of music at K.I.S whose wife has just had a baby, graciously agreed to come to Open Mic Night and to let us use his equipment.

The Open Mic night experience itself was a bit surreal. The music was brilliant, but most of what I recall about the night was yelling at everyone to be quiet, worrying about the mic not working, making sure that everyone had a seat or a menu, running after children who were running away from their parents and shooting covetous looks at the men aside with cups of whiskey in their hands. AROUND 50 PEOPLE SHOWED UP. IT WAS CRAZZYYY. We were taken aback, but I guess we shouldn’t have been surprised. The Kodai community is small, but extremely supportive.

There were amazing performances for sure. One of best friends debuted her original composition, my sister sang a kick-ass cover of ‘Sunday Morning’, there was a man who played the kazoo during a karaoke rendition of ‘Piano Man’ and there were many lovely sing-alongs. Honestly, it felt like a house party.

The Open Mic Night was supposed to end at 8.30…instead it finished at 10:00. We had a couple of extra people who wanted to sing, one who wanted to rap, and sometimes the performers sang extra songs, but we didn’t have the heart to say ‘no’ to their enthusiasm.

I was exhausted by the end and cursing six ways to Sunday my tight-toed trendy blue boots and my mother for genetically gifting me stress-backaches, but it was so worth it. All through the night I had people telling me how much they appreciated the music, the performers and the fact that we had organized it. It was great to have the community realize how much talent this town has.

All that’s left to do now is make the Thank You note and treat for all the performers. Pictures and videos will be up soon.

Organizing the Open Mic Nite has been occasionally stressful, but overall, it’s been good for fueling happiness.

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