Open mic nights at the Sandpiper Inn, Ilfracombe

Open Mic at the Sandpiper Inn Ilfracombe

Every Thursday from 8.30 pm – 11.30 pm

The Sandpiper Inn, in Ilfracombe is now hosting a regular open mic night in their upstairs function room. Hosted by the band Psylum, with Harvey Hudson on guitar, Kelly Render on vocals, Mat Hyder on drums and Peter Bradshaw on bass.
Keyboards are set up as well, and all musicians are welcome, from acoustic soloists, to full electric bands. All musical styles accommodated  although performing the Trololol song may get you some funny looks.


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2 comments on “Open mic nights at the Sandpiper Inn, Ilfracombe
  1. paul Clews says:

    Now just to be clear, when I say ‘why you should not play them’, I also mean, you should not watch them, or eat or drink in the venues that promote them.
    The pub landlords that promote such events will tell you, they put them on ‘to give new talent an opportunity to play in front of an audience’, as if they are doing the ‘new talent’ a favour. Well let me tell you, this is a big fat lie, they put them on for profit. Now profit is not a rude word, but everyone contributing deserves a slice of it. They are using the musicians skills and talent to line their own pockets, and not share any of it with the musician. Okay, they often give you a ‘free pint’. Let me tell you about that ‘free pint’, it’s not free, you worked for it. I wonder if the landlord pays his plumber and staff in pints. Pints do not pay your mortgage, kids shoes, or even a packet of guitar strings. They should also be declared to the VAT man by the landlords because, as an accountant informs me, they are in effect making a taxable supply to the musician in exchange for services, so the VAT on the full value of the pint should be paid over. I hope you landlords are declaring them. Equally, musicians should be declaring them to the tax man. You are accepting beer as income. I suspect the whole thing is a hot bed of petty tax evasion. I suggest musicians should try going down to Soundpad in Barnstaple and offer them a couple of flat pints of beer for a packet of Ernie Balls. I can ensure you they will laugh you out the building. Musicians are consequently ‘paying to play’ as the old musicians slogan used to say.
    Another trick that the landlords and agents use to pull you in is, ‘come play the open mic night, and we’ll see how good you are. If you are good enough I will book you’. This is another lie. They rarely give gigs this way, although they will deny this. I know many venues that book a whole year or seasons entertainment on this basis, abusing the good will of hopeful entertainers.Entertainers need to stand together, say no to this rip off, and put an end to this awful practice, that is in all but name slavery.
    People have argued ‘but they’re fun’. I don’t think putting musicians out of work and treating them as slaves is fun. I take no pleasure in it. Where are your principles? It’s a nobel art. On occasions, I’ve had other musicians tell me, ‘I only play for fun, I work in the week, I don’t need the money’. Again, I don’t see how putting other musicians out of work is fun. How would you like it if I go to your boss and say to him I’ll do your job for free, because I work as a musician, therefore I don’t need the money? There is a minimum wage law, some how musicians fall through the net. Has this musician got public liability insurance? I have never met one that has. Therefore any accident, such as taking someone’s eye out with a guitar neck, or burning the pub down with your untested (PAT) electrical equipment, is not usually covered by the landlords insurance policy. You’re taking a hell of a risk.When it comes to these practices, I want venue owners to give up, and pay up!

    • Kingdon says:

      OK, a well thought out argument against open mic nights.
      Fair comment up to a point, but I am going to counter this with some points.
      * Firstly, the host band who set up the equipment and provide a framework for the night, DO get paid.

      * Sure the people who get up and sing or play do not get paid, except maybe the odd “free” drink.

      * Yes, if you were to follow the exact letter of the law, this is a payment “in kind” and there may be tax issues, but they are really very very small, and whilst I am not advocating tax evasion, it is fair to say that the difference to HMRC would be negligible even if you took every free drink given and received across the whole of the UK. (negligible compared with the avoidance of tax by mig business, for example.)

      * Most gigs in small venues, paid or unpaid are being played by bands with no public liability insurance, and not PAT testing. You know this Paul, and it is disingenuous of you to raise this issue specifically over open mic nights.

      * Loads of people do jobs for free in this life. I work as a man with a van, but quite often I get a small job cancelled on me because the customers friend has come forward with a works van as a favour.
      Sometimes Lawyers work pro bono publico, and we all know that there are plenty of volunteer jobs around these days, in fact they seem to be the only vacancies on offer.

      * The open mic night is only a PART of the music scene, it is a chance to try out new material that an artist may feel is not quite up to gigging standard, or just to extemporise and see where it takes them.
      – It may be that a performer is just beginning to find their feet and needs to go out in a low pressure atmosphere before trying to set up their own gigs.
      – When I was new in town I went straight to an open mic and met up with loads of musicians. I couldn’t have made so many friends so quickly if I wasn’t able to get up and sing. Once people heard me they wanted to talk to me, without that I would not have had the courage to start a conversation with them.
      – Lots of people genuinely love playing but never want to have to get all the PA, and set it up for a live gig. Why should they get paid for plugging a guitar in and doing five or ten minutes of self indulgent playing?

      * The fact is Paul, I will sing anywhere for anyone for free anytime.
      The only things I want paying for are, hire of equipment e.g. PA, driving to the venue, unloading and setting up my gear, any expenses incurred as a result of the gig, packing away and reloading my gear, driving home from the venue.
      Since I do not incur any of those costs when I walk to a jam night and sing a few songs, I am happy to continue going to these when it suits me.

      I agree with you Paul that musicians deserve to be paid and that many landlords do not pay well. It is right that they always pay the plumber, and their bar staff, and that you can’t buy a set of guitar strings or a meal using goodwill, or a promise of money in the future. Nevertheless, music is a very different matter from plumbing. It is an inescapable fact that many musicians want to play their music to an audience so badly that they WILL do it for nothing rather than NOT be allowed to do it.
      As long as there are people like that then music will remain something that does not pay well for the vast majority of performers.

      I appreciate your candour Paul, and a dissenting comment is better than no comment at all.
      We may have to agree to disagree on this one.

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