For this episode of brave space, I caught up with musician and open mic host Dan Baldan. I met Dan through my job at Short Stories Bookshop & Community Hub, where Dan's open mic night in Madison, NJ had a temporary home this past winter. We spoke at the end of April, right after that series ended and just before a new open mic began.
Dan, left, and local musicians playing at open mic night at Short Stories Bookshop & Community Hub in Madison, NJ
I ask Dan about the history of hosting open mics and how he started playing music. He shares that he likes to host events, and as a host he creates a warm and inviting environment. We talk about his experiences playing both at open mics and solo gigs, and how a small compliment to a performer can go a long way. I attended a few of the open mics at Short Stories, and I could see how supportive the room was whenever someone took the stage.
Solo acts and bands playing at Dan's open mic night at Short Stories
When I ask Dan about where he sees his open mics in the future, he says he wants to focus on encouraging musicians to play together. I also learn this history of the long-standing open mic series at Poor Herbies, a local restaurant that closed in 2017. Keeping the local music community together is Dan's goal, and you can tell he really loves his work and role in facilitating ways for the community to thrive.
Musicians playing together at open mic night at Short Stories
Thanks to Dan for chatting with me and sharing the story behind his open mics! Best of luck to Dan and the Madison music community at their next open mic spot at Prospect Tavern, kicking off Thursday, May 3rd.