Local Talent finds success at Buster’s

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By Matt Murray

A rowdy crowd, three hours of live music and $1,000 at stake. This is what happens when Buster’s Billiards and Backroom puts its spin on open-mic night.

Each month Buster’s looks to hold an open-mic night as a part of a championship series that will run through the rest of the year.

The series is designed so that roughly 15 acts have an opportunity to perform on open-mic night each month. Each night, three winners will be chosen based on  crowd reaction, which is rated by three judges. Those winners will be invited back to perform in October and November. Each month will see the 27 winners from previous months whittled to three finalists, which will set up a six-act finale in December.

Those six finalists will be competing for a grand prize of $1,000. In addition to the grand prize, the first-place finishers from each of the preliminary months will win $100 dollars.

Performers of any type have an opportunity to win as long as the act can be contained on Buster’s stage and falls within a 10-minute time limit. Full bands, rappers, dance routines and anything else contestants wish to bring to the event is fair game.

“We’re really open to anything,” said Jessica Case, co-owner and manager of Buster’s.

The first contest of the series took place on Jan. 15, and Case said she was surprised by the diversity of talent and genres showcased on stage, ranging from bluegrass to rock.

Case said the event is an opportunity to find diamonds in the rough.

“We saw this as a chance to find people who may not have put their talent on display otherwise, and get them to practice and see what people think of what they can do,” she said.

Unlike many similar competitions, if an act doesn’t place into the top three for a given month, they are welcome to come back and try in the following months.

When it comes to ranking the acts based on crowd reaction, Case admitted it wasn’t scientific, but felt that it was the best option.

“Music is so subjective,” Case said. “The reason shows like American Idol use voting rather than judges in the final rounds is because its important to find out what the people think. You can’t decide who is good and who isn’t just based off of three people’s opinions.”

Due to alcohol laws, most open-mic nights will be 21-and-up. However, Case said Buster’s is working to make a couple of the events 18-and-up to suit a larger demographic.

Applicants can sign-up for Open-Mic Night on the day of the given event, beginning at 8 p.m. Sign-ups will remain open until 10 p.m. or until 15 acts have registered.

To learn more about Buster’s Open Mic Championship Series go to www.bustersbb.com. Dates for each competition will be posted on a month-by-month basis.Local talent