The musical showcases dividing public opinion

With the upsurge of open mic nights popping up in pubs around Worthing, Lancing and Shoreham, almost every night of the week musicians of any standard can find a place to perform.

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Open mic night in Lancing 9l1wGd26J520Nj1yU7Wa

Some musicians think these nights are a great opportunity to network and find paid gigs but others have been critical of the fact musicians do not get paid and find it quite a dilemma.

Geoff Cleasby, 66, of Livesay Crescent, Worthing, has been singing and playing guitar for the last 50 years.

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He said: “I would get few opportunities to sing in public if I had to rely on paid gigs, but on the other hand, to some extent open mic nights take away possible paid gig opportunities. Especially in the current climate of closing venues, where fewer and fewer pubs will pay for bands.”

Open mic nights bring together new and established musicians who would not otherwise get to meet. These same people then support their friends who are doing paid gigs in the area. It also demonstrates to local venues the benefits of live music which helps keep music alive.

Zoe Larks, 42, of Madeira Avenue, Worthing, has been gigging on and off for 20 years. She said: “I think they are needed to have a sense of community for musicians and singers, however, it is a double-edged sword. We need a platform to show our music but you don’t always get a paid gig from it.”

Ken Pumphrey, 61, of Foxdale Drive, Angmering, takes part in open mic nights as often as he can. He said: “Open mics are great for trying new material or for building up your confidence, whilst meeting friends with the same interest. These nights bring in much needed revenue and probably in turn help to keep the pubs going.”

Ray Johnson, 65, landlord of the Castle Ale House on Newland Road, Worthing, loves live music and defended open mic nights.

He said: “How many Open Mic performers could honestly put together a professional two set act, of professional quality to cover two hours?

“They would ideally have a vast extra repertoire of other material to be able to do requests, have their own high quality equipment, have the ability to play at an appropriate volume to suit the venue, and have the ability and temperament to be able to cope with pub customers.

“Open mics in contrast, provide so many opportunities for non commercial, non mainstream performers that would only otherwise be able to play in folk clubs, jazz clubs and other specialist venues.”

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