Nov 142013
 

This is an open letter to the administrators of evvnt.com:

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Dear evvnt.com,

I am the administrator for a website which is currently being bombarded by your (probably automated) attempts to submit event details.

My website is www.findanopenmic.com.

In the last 24 hours you have made 37 unsuccessful attempts to upload event details to my website.

If you took even a moment to look at my site you would see your own events are totally inappropriate, and I can give you my personal guarantee that you are never going to get any of your event details on there.

Of course, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little flattered by your attention. However this situation leads me to suspect your business model tends more towards the “quantity not quality” side of things – the exact opposite of what I am trying to achieve with Find An Open Mic.

So please just do me a favour and stop submitting to my site. It’s REALLY annoying :-)

I’m sure you’re quite nice people, if perhaps a little misguided.

Cheers,

Matt

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Feel free to send me a response via my contact page.

Nov 022013
 

It’s been 8 months since I posted any news. During that time I have been working on totally revamping this site to make it what I always wanted it to be.

On the surface, not much appears to have changed. The front page looks a lot better, and the “profile pages” for each open mic now contain more information than they used to. But that’s just a cosmetic improvement.

The real changes have taken place behind the scenes – in the database.

All information you now see on this site is being pulled from something called a “mySQL database” – which is basically an extremely efficient Excel spreadsheet that lives on the internet. The data is pulled out in real time, every time somebody loads a page. What that means is that as soon as I make any edits to the master database, the page content automatically updates to reflect those changes. All content on this site can now be edited from one location. This means the time I spend working on general upkeep of the site has been massively reduced. It also means I have been able to automate many tedious tasks; further reducing my work load.

The most visual impact of this new database is the new “list view” showing recently confirmed open mic nights which is on the front page. This list updates itself automatically, as and when people respond to my (automatically generated) emails asking them to reconfirm the details of their open mic night.

Up until now, the only way to truly “search” for an open mic night on this site was by using the interactive map – but this has now been supplemented by the “list view”. The other great thing about the list view is that it is ideal for use on small screens such as smart phones (more ideal than an interactive map).

To achieve all this, I have taught myself – from scratch – how to write several different web programming languages. Which is totally awesome as far as I am concerned, and is the single reason why the work has taken 8 months to complete. A professional probably would have completed the work in about 6 weeks.

To be honest, the work is not totally complete, but is complete enough to be put into use. I’ll be continually tweaking it for the foreseeable future.

So there you have it. I hope you feel these changes are definite improvements. If you have any feedback, please use the contact form.

Matt

Apr 032013
 

Thanks to a tonne of promoting I did, sixty seven open mic nights were added to the website – more than any other month in the three-year history of the website. To put it into context, the total number of new open mic nights in January and February 2013 COMBINED was only fifty seven.

And I still haven’t even scratched the surface.

I really do wonder how many open mic nights are happening in the UK. I’ll almost certainly never know the true answer.

Apr 032013
 

At the beginning of the month, I was interviewed by Merge Music Magazine to contribute on an article regarding open mic nights titled “WHY EVERYONE SHOULD GIVE A FOX AND DUCK ABOUT OPEN MIC NIGHTS”.

My interview was combined with those of several other people to make the whole article. There wasn’t a great deal of my interview left in tact, so I thought it would be a nice idea to publish my interview in full here.

Q&A below:
 
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What gave you the idea for findanopenmic.com
 
It is pretty straight forward, I was eager to perform at open mic nights and wanted a reliable, detailed, and up-to-date database of open mic nights. I quickly came to the conclusion that such a thing didn’t exist. So I decided to make it myself.
 
Do you have requests to list from all round the UK or is there a particular area that you notice gets more listings than others?
 
The website covers the whole of the UK (and will eventually cover the entire world). I welcome anybody who wants to advertise on my site. Naturally, cities tend to be epicentres for open mic nights.
 
Have you traveled to play at any far away Open Mic’s you’ve listed? 
 
Absolutely. I realised that professional musicians tend to play the same small selection of songs every night, and as a result they get extremely good at playing those songs. They can afford to repeat themselves night after night because the audience is always different. I decided that if I was serious about playing guitar, I should do the same. So I selected two or three of my best songs, and played them at different open mic nights. This naturally required me to travel long distance to go to open mic nights that I hadn’t been to before. It was definitely the right decision, since I met some really amazing people, gave some really great performances, and have memories that will stay with me forever. It also made me much more confident as a person, not just a musician. Going outside your comfort zone is something we should all do regularly.
 
If so – where and how did it go?
 
One of my favourite memories is my first time playing at The Sunset Lounge – behind The Cannon – in Newport Pagnell, which is over an hour drive from my home. Everybody there was so nice and I met some really great people. It’s just like one big happy family there and I was warmly welcomed. It was also probably the best performance I ever gave, and I was buzzing so much afterwards that I couldn’t sleep. Those experiences are what music is about for me.
 
Are there any ‘odd locations’ hosting Open Mic’s – i.e. non traditional venues? 
 
Can’t say I know of any that are particularly odd, but then again, I certainly don’t know every venue that exists in the UK. It would be really great to see some. Maybe on a moored boat or something. That would be cool.
 
Building this resource for musicians and for venues takes a lot of commitment and generosity – your site is free to list onto. Does this reflect your passion for finding suitable locations for musicians to play live? 
 
This is an important question. I have been intending to write a detailed blog post about why the website is free, and to discuss whether it will continue to be free. The short answer is: At first, the website definitely was a reflection of my passion. The website remains free today because it does not consume huge amounts of my time. But I would be naive to suggest this will always be the case. My ultimate goal is for the website to cover the entire world. When this happens, I doubt the website could remain free. Although I am confident that the fee will be trivial, perhaps $1 per month to advertise (but free for readers). If the website is consuming 40 hours per week of my time, then I believe that is completely fair. I suspect there would be a loud argument to pay for my time via third-party banner ads, but I have strong ethical objections to that sort of advertising, which I will discuss further in my blog post when I get around to writing it.
 
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Jan 282013
 

I have made a minor change to the website – until now, the details for each open mic night included the date when the open mic night was last confirmed (by “last confirmed”, I mean the last time I sent the organiser an email to get confirmation that their open mic night is still happening). The purpose behind this datum is to give the reader a sense of how up-to-date the associated information is. But then I realised; the entire website is supposed to be up-to-date – and in fact it is – no information goes unchecked for more than 6 months. So it doesn’t really add a tremendous amount of additional “trust” to provide an exact date of the last confirmation. Also, I always had to manually edit this piece of info with every (re)confirmation. So removing it altogether means it saves me a bit of work – which is awesome.

Matt

NOVEMBER 2013 UPDATE – The above news is no longer applicable due to significant database improvements which you can read about here. From now on, all profile pages show when that open mic night was last confirmed.

Jan 072013
 

Today (7th January 2013) is the third birthday of Find An Open Mic. Hooray!!!!!!

Here is a poem to celebrate:

If you don’t own the latest thing, it won’t go out of date.
If you don’t own much, you won’t have much to lose.
If you own next to nothing,you won’t worry about ending up with nothing.
If you own less than you want, you will still have more than you need.
If you spend less money on things, you can spend more time on you.
If you own less, you will value it more.
If you own only what you can carry, you will carry less baggage around with you.

http://www.howies.co.uk/brainfood/?p=1025

Matt

 

Jan 022013
 

At the end of December 2012 there was a large amount of spam messages being sent through the contact forms. Since then, I have enabled a spam-protection system on all contact forms. I do not know how well this will work so I guess I’ll just monitor it and see.

 

Matt

Nov 132012
 

Get full details by clicking on the venue names.

Venue Name Town Frequency
The FountainLondon (Harringey)Irregular - check facebook page
The HurlinghamLondon (Fulham)Irregular - contact organiser
Walthamstow LibraryLondon (Walthamstow)Irregular - contact organiser
The George PubLondon (Tower Hamlets)Irregular - contact organiser
Bar KickLondon (Shoreditch)Irregular Mondays
Lock 17/DingwallsLondon (Camden)Every Monday
The White LionLondon (Streatham)Every Monday
Halfway HouseLondon (Richmond)Every Thursday
The EnterpriseLondon (Camden)Every Monday
Translate BarLondon (Shoreditch)Every Monday
Elixir BarLondon (Camden)Every Monday
The White HorseLondon (Richmond)Alternate Tuesday
Full Stop Bar (Girlfriend In A Comma)London (Spitalfields)Last Tuesday every month
ZebranoLondon (Soho)Every Tuesday
Filthy'sLondon (Islington)Every Tuesday
Earl Haig HallLondon (Crouch End)Every Tuesday
The Abbey TavernLondon (Camden)Every Tuesday
The Edinboro CastleLondon (Camden)Every Tuesday
The RavenLondon (Chiswick)Every Tuesday
New Cross InnLondon (Deptford)Every Tuesday
Caffe ConcertoLondon (Shepherd's Bush)Every Tuesday
GigalumLondon (Clapham)Every Tuesday
Bertie's Bar (Hidden Away Music)London (Merton)Every Tuesday
The British Oak (Blackheath Folk Club)London (Blackheath)Every Tuesday
Shaker and CompanyLondon (Camden)Every Tuesday
Tooting TramLondon (Tooting)Every Tuesday
The Joker of Penton StreetLondon (Angel)Every Wednesday
HOUSE Cafe and Gallery London (Camberwell)Last Wednesday every month
The MitreLondon (Richmond)Every Wednesday
The GrosvenorLondon (Pimlico)Last Wednesday every month
House Of WolfLondon (Islington)Every Tuesday and Wednesday
The Water PoetLondon (Spitalfields)Alternate Wednesdays
Ox WagonLondon (Fulham)Every Wednesday
The VictoriaLondon (Mile End)Alternate Wednesdays
The Library (Up All Night Music)London (Islington)Every Wednesday
The Silver BulletLondon (Finsbury Park)Every Wednesday
Electric SocialLondon (Brixton)Every Wednesday
MamuskaLondon (Elephant and Castle)Every Thursday
The Windmill HotelLondon (Brent)1st Thursday every month
Harrow Arts CentreLondon (Harrow)Irregular Thursdays
Old Hall TavernLondon (Chingford)3rd Thursday every month
The ChatsworthLondon (Acton)Every Thursday
The Larrik InnLondon (Hammersmith)Every Thursday
Richard Mully's Basement BarLondon (Euston)Alternate Thursdays during term time
The Rose PubLondon (East Dulwich)1st and 3rd Thursday every month
The Pilgrim PubLondon (Lambeth)Last Thursday every month
Hand in HandLondon (Brixton)Every Thursday
FloripaLondon (Shoreditch)2nd Thursday every month
Kobi Nazrul CentreLondon (Tower Hamlets)Last Friday every month
The King William IVLondon (Pimlico)Every Friday
Waltham Forest Corporation Sports and Social ClubLondon (Waltham Forest)Last Friday every month
Willoughby ArmsLondon (Kingston upon Thames)2nd Friday and last Friday every month
The Hornbeam CafeLondon (Walthamstow)2nd Friday every month
'The Sinbin' at Plough and Harrow PubLondon (Leytonstone)3rd Friday every month
Cool Cats' CafeLondon (Camberwell)Alternate Saturdays
The VictoriaLondon (Battersea)Every Saturday
The HideawayLondon (Islington)Every Sunday
The Old Queen's HeadLondon (Isligton)3rd Sunday every month
St Peter's CryptLondon (Hackney)1st Sunday every month
The Admiral HardyLondon (Greenwich)Every Sunday
White HorseLondon (Richmond)Every Sunday
inSpiral LoungeLondon (Camden)Every Sunday
The Railway TavernLondon (Lambeth)Every Sunday
The Fox InnLondon (Hanwell)3rd Sunday every month
The AnchorLondon (Battersea)Every Sunday
Princess Of WalesLondon (Stratford)Every Sunday
Ailsa TavernLondon (Twickenham)2nd Sunday and last Sunday every month
Costa Coffee London (Uxbridge)Last Sunday every month
Ruskin House ClubLondon (Croydon)Every Sunday
map of open mic nights
Oct 042012
 

List if differences between the old site and new site:

  1. No membership required to upload your details or use a contact form
  2. The interactive map no longer lists any future calendar dates for each open mic night. Although I believed this was a really great feature, keeping it accurate was more time consuming than any other part of managing this website. Since it is non-essential, I felt it had to go.
  3. Because I no longer maintain a list of dates for each open mic night, I have removed the page which gave a filtered list of open mic nights happening today. That is a bit of a shame because I thought it was quite useful. But as explained in point 2 above, I couldn’t sustain the level of effort required to maintain it.
  4. Messages sent through the contact forms are not private and can be read by the website administrator.
  5. The new messaging system means that people will be replying from their own inboxes rather than logging into the website first, and therefore their responses may very well be kicked to the recipients spam box :-(
  6. The interactive map info bubbles contain a lot less information than previously. I felt a lot of the information was just taking up room and did not serve any advantage being shown on the map. The info is still on the website, you just have to click where it says “click here to view full details and send a message to the organiser”.

That’s basically it. Hope you find the website to be a useful resource.

Matt Coston – website creator.

Sep 092012
 

OK so the new version of the website is almost finished.

I’m having a problem with the contact forms that visitors will use to send a message to the organisers of open mic nights – they just don’t seem to be very reliable (they are going to people’s spam folder). So I need to resolve that and then we should be set.