Have you ever imagined yourself on a stage? Have you ever wanted to speak your mind and show the world your talent? If so, The Willow Tree Coffeehouse might be the place for you.
Located in downtown Johnson City, The Willow Tree hosts an open mic night every Wednesday from 6 to 9 p.m.
Sam Love, an employee at The Willow Tree, helps organize and run the event every week.
“I set up the stage and try to make sure the show is staying roughly on schedule,” Love said. “We try and make sure everyone has much of an equal opportunity as everyone else.”
Open mic night is all about eliminating negativity and making everyone who participates feel comfortable.
“It’s a really cool positive environment,” Love said. “We have crowds of people that come to watch and support all the performers, which is really cool.”
Love sees recurring people who come back every week, but also enjoys seeing new people come out and participate.
“We’ve been noticing a lot of new people coming in, but we also have a pretty cool established crowd,” he said.
Because he is there organizing the event every week, something that Love really enjoys is how he witnesses the way people’s acts can shape them.
“One of my favorite things is watching people develop and grow with whatever music or performance art they have,” Love said. “It also trickles down, and you can see them grow as people, which is really cool. It’s kind of fun to be in that environment.”
The acts and performances at open mic night always vary, ranging from musical performances to storytelling. Love explains that he’s never certain what he will see with each new show.
“We’ve had just about anything you can imagine,” he said. “It’s completely different every time. You never really know what you’re going to get. We have a lot of spoken word. We also have a lot of music as well. Sometimes we’ll even have bands.”
The event is free every week, with sign up working on a first come, first serve basis.
Love believes that because of this show, the full scope of talent in Johnson City is truly brought to the forefront.
“This is a very talented town,” Love said. “I don’t know if people realize the full degree of how talented everyone is here.”
Open mic night is open to everyone and encourages all who participate to break out of their comfort zone in what Love says is a safe space.
“I really enjoy seeing people put themselves out there,” Love said. “I want people to know that it’s a fun and safe environment for people of all backgrounds. Everyone is welcome here.”