Where can you find an open mic in Barcelona? Matt Kaplan scours Barcelona for the best places to find an underground jam session and explains why it’s a rare and often impromptu phenomenon in the Catalan Capital.
Spain has an unbelievably rich culture of music and with it, comes a deep appreciation for its affect. From flamenco tablaos, to classical guitar concerts in the Palau de la Música Catalana, or even jazz combos in the Harlem Jazz Club, the streets are filled with music around every corner. With that being the case, why is so hard to find venues to play live music as an amateur musician? These events usually happen on a weekly or monthly basis in a bar or café and are called open mic nights (micros abiertos) or live jam sessions.
The reason for the difficulty in finding a suitable location is due to the strict noise pollution laws and regulations in Barcelona. Another factor has to do with the amount of space a venue has to offer. As most people from Barcelona would know, space is a precious commodity and for bars and cafés, there are many safety regulations involved. According to Azucena Milcó, project manager at Sound Diplomacy, the legislation that permits live music was considering smaller music in the same light as the more famous clubs. Here we have a problem. It gives the venues extra taxes, occupancy limitations, and restrictions that are not relative; that is to say for example that a smaller venue would have to pay for the same amount of soundproofing that a larger club would. Even with some monetary grants from the city council, these types of restrictions have pushed a lot of very popular “underground” venues out of the live music industry.
The good news is that with all of this in mind, I have been able to find a handful of venues that still offer you the opportunity to get out for a night to show off your developing talent. Two that I would recommend are the open mics at Alfa Bar or Freedonia. If you are interested in any of these options, I have placed the information below. Alfa Bar requires that you sign up ahead of time and both events are free to participate. Keep in mind that if you attend, these events are sometimes not just for music! It is very common for open mics to be open to all types of artistry including poetry and spoken word, comedy, and more. Enjoy these opportunities to get out there and play!
EDIT – our Instrument Rental Website has updated the list, here are a few more places that offer jam sessions and open mic nights for those of you interested in playing your instrument! Don’t forget to jump over to the Shine Instrument Rental blog, to see other interesting events and happenings in Barcelona for Musicians.