Students gathered to watch a showcase of talents at the first Open Mic Night of the year in the Pida Plaza on Thursday night. Under ambient lights, UNLV Rebels heard live performances from singers, rappers, comedians, and poets while eating food from Ike’s Love & Sandwiches.
“Open Mic Night is usually a very chill event, especially when it’s outdoors because people walk around, they see it and sit down,” said events committee member and Open Mic Night host, Mounzer Zein.
According to Zein, the event was a trial run on expansion. Open Mic Night was previously held in the Student Union Theatre on campus. He stated that the Rebel Events Board is experimenting with “keeping it casual,” while still ensuring that Open Mic Night is a quality stage show.
“You just have to pick out the aesthetic for the event, how you want it to look and what you want it to be,” Zein said. “For this, I just went for a cute little cafe vibe.”
The backdrop left an impression on senior Jesús Bazan, who initially expected a more formal production. The tables and chairs, accompanied by the overhead lights, complemented his overall experience at Open Mic Night.
“I really liked the sense of community,” Bazan said. “Everyone was cheering each other on, whether the performer had experience or not. There were people that were singing for their first time, and everyone was supportive. It was really cool.”
Zein frequently sees first-time performers at Open Mic Night, as this is one of REB’s smaller-scale events. Open Mic Night allows students to get their name out on campus, and it comes without the intimidation of performing in front of a larger audience.
“If you’re nervous to perform at a bigger event, like (the) Variety Show, you just show up here,” Zein said. “It’s a smaller crowd so it’s not as intense for the people that have stage fright.”
Performers at Open Mic Night do not go through auditions, nor are they recruited. Those seeking to make an appearance on stage may do so by simply signing up on location. After checking in with an Event Pass, performers and audience members alike are able to participate in all that Open Mic Night has to offer.
“It’s nothing professional,” Zein said. “It’s no ‘Premier.’”
As of now, Thursday’s Open Mic Night was the only one scheduled for this semester, but this is something that Zein would like to see change in the future. He mentioned the possibility of incorporating prizes or giveaways into the show.
“I honestly hope that we can do more than one per semester, because there’s definitely people that are interested,” Zein said. “There’s a lot of Rebels with a lot of amazing talents.”
In addition to Open Mic Night, REB hosts Premier, Homecoming, UNLV’s Got Talent, Rebels After Dark and Outdoor Movie, among other special events.
REB’s next event is Drag Bingo, planned for Oct. 5 near the Student Union. Homecoming events are scheduled from Oct. 10 until Oct. 12 and the Halloween Event will take place on Oct. 26. The next Open Mic Night will be on Feb. 23, 2023.