Consider it Barnhartvale’s version of America’s Got Talent.
Saturday will mark the third annual open mic contest at the Barnhartvale Community Hall, where contestants can show off their skills to a supportive local crowd.
“The audience determines the winner. They get ballots as they as they come in the door and they are given the opportunity to vote for their favourite act,” said event organizer Chrisy Biddlecombe.
Acts register at the door, so the lineup isn’t clear yet, but Biddlecombe expects about 20 contestants, given the numbers from previous years.
The audience is likely to see a variety of acts, including stand-up comedy, poetry and a range of musical performances such as bluegrass, folk, country and classic rock.
“We had a rapper last year, which was quite surprising, but he was actually really good,” Biddlecombe said. “It’s a real good variety of people who come through the door.”
Depending on the numbers, each participant will receive about 10 minutes each to perform.
The winner will be determined the next day and announced in February at Biddlecombe’s next coffee house show — part of a series of organized, not-for-profit open mic nights Biddlecombe and her husband Dave put on each year. Saturday’s winning act receives a paid feature act during the fall 2019 coffee house season.
Plenty of young people have been participating in the contest since its inception.
“It’s amazing how much local talent we have,” she said.
As an organizer, Biddlecombe said she hopes to see first-time performers take the plunge and sign up.
“I think people don’t realize the talent they have until they get in front of an audience and they hear all that clapping,” she said. “It’s just fun to see the reaction.”
Anyone wishing to take their talents to the Barnhartvale Community Hall at 7390 Barnhartvale Rd. on Saturday can sign up for free at 6:15 p.m. ahead of the 7 p.m. show. For those who just want to watch and vote, the show costs $5, with kids under 12 getting in for free. The doors open at 6:30 p.m.
There will be a full concession with coffee, tea, pop and home-baked goodies for $1 each, as well as a 50/50 draw.
Biddlecombe said she feels local open mic nights like this give residents an opportunity to try their hand at performing in a supportive, judgement-free atmosphere.
“It’s hard to find venues you can take your talents to and not feel too nervous about it.”