Durham open mic night celebrates 25 years

Durham open mic night celebrates 25 years


DURHAM, N.C. — A community in Durham is celebrating 25 years of Brett’s Open Mic. 

The platform for amateur and professional musicians and artists to come out and show their talent started in September 1996. The founder, Brett Chambers, said it all started at Talk of the Town.

“I said there are other people like me that want to do this, that want to play, that want to come out and express themselves. And, that’s what they’ve done,” Chambers said.

Since 1996, he said his event has bounced around to seven different locations. One thing that has stayed the same is the community that follows him.

He said the night of music, poetry and fashion shows attracts locals and people from around the world. 

“[We’ve had] Chip Shearin, who’s in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame come out and play with us,” said Chambers. “We’ve had Sonny Emory come out and visit us when we were at the Beyu Caffe, and Sonny Emory used to play with Earth, Wind & Fire.”

It may be a surprise who all steps up to the microphone on any given night, but he said the community of people who come out to listen always look out for each other. 

When the open mic night had to stop from March 2020 to August 2020 because of COVID-19 precautions, Chambers said they only came back because those who enjoy the music and fellowship asked for it back.

“We didn’t have to ask anybody to put on their mask or do the right thing because people were grateful that we were back and they had somewhere to go,” said Chambers. “We look out for each other, and that’s the community part.”

Brett’s Open Mic happens on Wednesdays from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at The Blue Note Grill in Durham.

If you go, expect to follow the number one rule: “Have fun!” 



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