Basically, what happened was that my friend was standing out on the sidewalk and he told me that he had been greeted rather negatively by a woman behind the bar who said something like she did not want him taking up space if he was there for the open mic and not planning to buy a beer immediately. So he went out to wait.
Now this friend buys beers at open mics all the time, I know for a fact. But as he recounted this to me, he did not know that another server from the bar was hearing him tell me this outside, and that server decided to defend the other server by saying it was not normal for musicians to attend the bar only to play music and not buy beer, or to sit at a table for four if they were only one person.
So I decided that since he decided to defend the server, I would defend the musician. I told him that I thought bar servers and management should, on the contrary, be thankful for musicians turning up to open mics whether they were all consuming or not, since they provided free music that attracted other people to come and listen, and sometimes actually they attract friends to come and join them, as well – as was the case last night with me joining my friend, in fact. The more the musicians the more atmosphere and the better the reputation of the place as a meeting point for other musicians will be. Moreover, when musicians sense that they are really welcome, arms wide open, then they tend to go to a place, but if they feel they are unwelcome or only welcome if they become good paying clients – never mind free-playing clients – then they will not likely want to go, and the general feel of an open mic will go downhill. That’s my feeling, based on experience, in any case. And remember, lots of musicians are struggling, have little or no money, and would buy every drink in the house if they signed a lucrative record deal.
So once that was the outcome last night, and I realized I had no desire to be a music-playing client this particular night, and I realized that neither open mic situation had worked out for me, then my decision of “should I stay or should I go” was answered for me, and I returned home to do an apartment cycle workout and then go early to bed.
So it was all very satisfactory, and it even gave me a subject for this blog item today, and the desire to ask readers what you all thought about whether or not musicians attending an open mic should be treated with politeness by the managers and servers whether they are large consumers, personally, of booze or not. I would love to see your comments and/or have you answer the poll on the matter that I post here.