Every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. during the academic year, Western Washington University’s Underground Coffeehouse hosts an open mic night. This is an opportunity for students to flex their performing chops in a supportive environment of other creatives. Performers of all experience levels are welcome to show up and play music or do stand up.
Brody Hunt, a third-year Western student, has been organizing events for the Underground Coffeehouse this year for Associated Students Productions. These events have included film screenings, trivia nights, concerts and more, but the open mic nights are something Hunt especially looks forward to each week.
“It’s great, honestly, it’s wonderful. I’ve been going to these open mics for a while, they’ve been happening on campus in that space for a long time, since before me,” Hunt said. “It’s been nice to continue that tradition.”
There are new faces every week, but many students return each time to perform again.
“You get to see people get more comfortable performing, which is really cool,” Hunt said, “It’s always a good time to show up and support them and see them grow over the quarter.”
Kazmyn Zercher, a singer and songwriter who has been attending the open mics every week since she transferred to Western last year, enjoys the atmosphere that comes with performing at the Underground.
“I’ve built such a strong community of friends and people here that I know are so open to listening because they have no obligation to be here, they want to stay here,” Zercher said.
It can be difficult to get up on stage and present yourself to an audience. For many, singing is incredibly vulnerable and personal, but the environment at these open mics is welcoming.
“To be in a space where you know that these few hours are the best part of some people’s week, you can really go up there and do anything and people are going to be supportive of you,” Zercher said.
As the quarter comes to a close and summer starts, the Underground will only be hosting a few more open mics. However, Bellingham has a thriving local music scene, so there will be no shortage of opportunities to experience live music.
Honey Moon Mead in downtown Bellingham has been hosting a weekly open mic night since 2007. Anna Evans, the bar’s co-owner, called it the “granddaddy of Bellingham open mics” due to its longevity.
“From seasoned performers or those trying something out for the first time, everyone will find a warm welcome and a kind, supportive audience,” Evans said.
For those looking for live music, Associated Student Productions will be hosting Lawnstock on June 3 from 5 to 10 p.m. This is an outdoor music festival that takes place every year on Western’s campus on the lawn in front of the Communications Facility. It will feature performances from Washington musicians and drag artists.
The Underground open mic nights will return in the fall with more opportunities for local performers to show off their talents.
“This is a really good way for people to consistently get out there and meet new people,” Hunt said.
Lyra Montemayor (she/they) is a campus life reporter for The Front. She is a second year student at Western and a visual journalism major. In her free time, she likes watching movies and spending time with friends.