Open Mic Rome: performing live on a Roman stage

Open Mic Rome offers a refreshing alternative to Rome's karaoke bars.

Open Mic Rome provides singers and musicians with a weekly opportunity to perform in front of an audience, in a non-competitive environment, at two Roman bars: Rione XX in Testaccio and The Public House near Piazza Venezia.
Musicians can play two to three songs each, providing the audience with music from all over the world as well as an insight into the local music scene. The initiative was set up in 2006 by Irish musician Paul Staunton who alternates in organising the events with Rome-based musician Salvatore Benintende.

The Open Mic project attracts a regular and growing crowd and offers an authentic, refreshing alternative to Rome's karaoke bars. "Everybody is invited to sing, play or even read poetry in front of the audience", Benintende says. "Musicians can play covers, but we encourage them to sing songs they've written themselves. We provide two acoustic guitars, a piano, a bass and microphones. We also allow electric guitars, but we try to keep the atmosphere "unplugged".

Benintende says the events offer musicians a way to express themselves and meet other musicians while providing the audience with a diverse, fun and multicultural musical experience. The Open Mic attracts local musicians as well as foreign residents, while many tourists make contact before arriving in Rome. 

"The stage is really open to everybody — says Benintende — and while we host professional musicians on a regular basis we also have had six-year-old kids playing on stage, as well as musicians aged well over 70. It is not unusual that during a night we have over 20 musicians who cover genres from blues to jazz, from rock to swing to Irish folk!"

The Open Mic events start at 21.00 and people can sign up online during the preceding days, as well as on the night. For full details see the Open Mic website or Facebook page.