The Acoustic Stage

- Open Mic for Aspiring Performers -

Join us each month for an entertaining Friday evening of traditional and contemporary acoustic music, fun, and refreshments at Mackenzie Hall. We provide a stage, a supportive audience, and outstanding sound for brave souls ranging from first time performers to semi-professional artists. The eight performers each evening provide some of the best entertainment anywhere. Refreshments (hot and cold drinks, cookies) are available.

The evenings of January 5th, 2018 and June 1st, 2018 will be "Showcase Concerts" that feature a selection of the most popular performers from earlier Acoustic Stages.

Admission is free, but donations are invited. The evening begins at 8:00 p.m. and ends by 10:30, but the house is usually full by 8:30.

Requesting a Performance

To request a spot in any Acoustic Stage event (besides the Showcase Concerts), please email Martha Renaud at and let her know when you'd be interested in performing.

Acoustic Stage Schedule

September 8th 2017October 6th 2017November 3rd 2017December 1st 2017
January 5th 2018
February 2nd 2018March 2nd 2018April 6th 2018
May 18th 2018June 1st 2018


You want to be a star? Or you just want to share your music? Whatever your goal, Windsor Folk Music Society will be glad to help. We'll give you a chance to hone your stage skills, try out your material and meet fellow performers - all in front of an audience that appreciates the efforts of performers at all skill levels.

We ask performers to follow a few guidelines, which we think will help make each gathering fun for those both on stage and off.


Select your songs and practice them ahead of time - complete with the intros. Keep your explanation short and interesting. Don't paraphrase the whole song before you start - let it speak for itself.

On the night of the performance, please arrive at Mackenzie Hall no later than 8 p.m. and check immediately with that night's host to determine your place in the evening's lineup.

Each performer is given about 12 to 14 minutes onstage to perform up to three songs or poems or whatever. Time your performance and if it runs longer, consider different material or shorten your songs (do you really need to sing all 17 verses of that second song?).

Windsor Folk has a lot of good talent and the more we can display it the better it is for both performers and audiences. To do that, you can help us make the most of the time by following some simple steps:

1. CHECK YOUR GEAR - Before you leave home, double check that any cords, batteries or other gear you're going to need is working properly. A dead tuner or guitar pickup can bring everything to a screaming halt onstage.

2. BE IN TUNE - Tune your instrument ahead of time. Occasionally something happens during the setup that makes it necessary to retune after you get on stage. But this should be just a tweaking. The most important thing is to be in tune when you go on stage.

3. USE MINIMAL GEAR - This is an Open Mic, not a recording session. Usually your instrument, a tuner if you use one, and whatever capos or picks you need is enough. Since Windsor Folk players use mostly acoustic instruments, it is perfectly acceptable (or even preferable) to use microphones rather than pickups. If you do plan to plug in, using your own cord and having it ready will probably save time and hassle.

4. BE READY - Know your place in the lineup and prepare to go on while the act ahead of you is onstage. Check all cords, straps, capos, tuners, etc. and head right to the stage when you're introduced.

5. SET UP QUICKLY - Rehearse this at home if you can, using whatever you have to approximate microphones on stands and boxes you need to plug into, this can become challenging if you have an instrument slung around your neck.

6. LEARN TO USE VOCAL MICS - (ask for advice at the start of the evening if you haven't used one before). The main rules are "stay close" and "don't move around." Someone will help you position the mics for your vocals and instruments. While singers' styles differ on vocal mic placement (usually by only minor height requirements), the people running the sound system know the best places to put mics for instruments. TRUST THEM - they're trying to make you sound good. Once an instrument mic is in place, neither it nor the instrument should be moved unless there is an overriding consideration such as an equipment malfunction.

7. TRUST THE PEOPLE RUNNING THE SOUND SYSTEM - If you have an instrument with onboard controls, set them to a low-end volume and flat (i.e., middle) tones, then let the person running the sound board make you sound good in the room. Remember, what you hear onstage through the monitor speakers is not what the audience is hearing. If you need more volume in the monitor speakers, say so. But please don't adjust your instrument unless the sound people ask you to.

8. BE CONSIDERATE - Always the basis for good manners, there are a few things specific to the Acoustic Stage that bear repeating.
  1. Stay to listen to and support the other performers. Too often Acoustic Stage performers play their three songs and leave. Sometimes that's unavoidable, but often it's just bad manners - like saying "I've shown you my stuff, but you have nothing to offer me."

  2. Don't be repetitive. If you have a limited repertoire and you've done all your songs, wait till you've learned some new ones before you sign up again.

  3. Respect other opinions. Songs and poetry are an important and traditional medium for addressing social, environmental or religious issues. But please respect the fact that Windsor Folk has a diverse membership and everyone has their own beliefs and causes to support. Most people come to the Acoustic Stage mainly to be entertained.