The Open Mic for Musicians is an event designed for artists of all musical genres to perform and practice their craft in front of a live audience. The event is free and open to the public. This is a great place to see fresh new local San Francisco musical talent and traveling musicians from around the globe in a colorful setting.
Musicians, singers and songwriters.
(No spoken word, poetry, comedy, religous sermons or X-rated material. See below.). This is a strictly musical event.
Rockin' Java is located at
Every Tuesday evening from to .
Sign-up in person at
Musicians sign up at 6:30 pm Tuesday in person or send e-mail to reserve a performance slot.
The sign up sheet is located on the far end of the bar. We recommend you get there early (before 7 pm), there is often a line and the list fills up quickly.
There are a limited number of e-mail reservation slots available each week. E-mail reservations must include the slot number you wish to go on - from 1 to 9 - estimate 10 minutes a performance. You will receive an e-mail back with a confirmation of the slot number. If you reserved a slot via e-mail, check in with the host at Rockin' Java when you arrive. If you reserve a slot by e-mail and can not make it - please be considerate and notify us via e-mail before 5 pm or call Rockin' Java directly to cancel the slot reservation. If we have exceeded the reservation limit you will need to come in person to sign-up. Sorry, we do not accept phone reservations.
Each performer can play 2 songs and/or a total of 10 minute. All performances are on a stage platform and audio is run through a PA system. Each week there will be a featured performer that performs the last 1/2 hour.
Tips for Performers
- Tune your instrument(s) before coming on to the stage!!!
- Bring your own guitar. We do not have one to loan out.
If you have a lot of equipment and will need extra setup time come early to setup what you can on the stage before performances begin.
- Minimal equipment tends to work best for regular 2 song performance slots.
- Please do not run over 10 minutes. If you have 2 songs that are 8 minutes a piece then you only have time for 1 song. Time is tight - most nights the list is completely full with alternates waiting to perform. We try to make this fair for everyone.
- You must be present when your name is called; othewise, your performance spot will be forfeited and given to one of the alternates that are signed up.
Rockin' Java serves coffee drinks, smoothies, bagels, pastries, cookies and sandwiches. DSL Internet Access is available for a fee. Free Internet access for laptops with wireless (802.11b) cards with purchase of beverage or food.
Technical Info for Musicians
Performances are on a raised stage platform through an 8 channel Yamaha PA.
2 Microphones, 2 microphone stands & 1 guitar cable is available. (If you require more, please bring your own microphones, mic cables & stands).
1 piano is available for use.
A monitor is situated on the front of the stage floor.
Acoustic guitars can be mic'd or can plug in directly to the snake leading to the P.A.
Some performers have brought a small pre-amp such as a Line 6 Pod and plugged into the direct box with very good sounding results.
We only have one 1/4 inch jack input available to plug in a guitar or bass. If you need to plug in more than one 1/4 inch cable you will need to bring a direct box and a small XLR cable. (the snake leading to the PA only takes XLR inputs).
Phantom power is available for microphones.
Rockin' Java FAQ
Q. Is there an age limit of performers?
A. All ages are welcome.
Q. I do poetry/spoken word/comedy/religious sermons, can I perform at the Tuesday Open Mic for Musicians?
A. No, this event is strictly for musicians!!! There are a plethora of Open Mics in SF specifically for poetry, spoken word and comedy, please do not sign up on Tuesday if you are not performing music. Sacred Grounds on Wednesday night has a weekly poetry circle. The Tuesday Open Mic for Musicians is not a platform to preach or prosthelize.
Q. Can I play covers?
A. Yes, but we encourage original music.
Q. How do I become a featured performer at the Open Mic?
A. Practice. Typically, you will be approached and asked to be a featured performer because of your quality of musicianship, talent and commitment. Examples of this include particpating frequently at the open mic and exhibiting dedication to musical performance.
Q. What happens if the list is full, can I still
A. If the list if full, you can sign up on the list as an alternate. If there is extra time at the end of the night, if people do not show up, you may be able to play.
Q. Is there a way to guarantee a performance
A. Send an e-mail a few days or a week in advance. We accept a limited number e-mail reservations up until 5pm on Tuesday - the day of the show. See above for more details.
Q. Do you take phone call reservations for a performance slot?
A. No. Sign-up in person or via e-mail only.
Q. I don't have a guitar, can I use yours?
A. No. We do not have a house guitar. You will need to bring your own. There is a music store Haight Ashbury Music Center at 1540 Haight Street (a few blocks away on the other side of the street) where you can rent or purchase one. Their phone # is 415-863-7327. They are open until 7 PM on Tuesday.
Q. Can I get a recording of my performance?
A. You are free to bring your own mics and gear to record your own performance. Professional recording services direct from the mixing board are available for a fee. Please visit digital recording services for more information. Please request this service a week to a few days in advance. Recording equipment is only brought in by request.
Q. Why can't I perform longer?
A. On most nights all performance slots on the sign up list are completely filled with alternate performers also signed up on the waiting list. A cleaning crew is hired by the owner to bus the tables, clean the floors and mop shortly before the cafe closes. Time is very very tight. The featured act is the last act and performs the last half hour. We have to be finished before the cleaning crew comes in.
Q. Can I perform X-rated material?
A. No, this is an all ages coffee shop. There are often young children and families in the venue. If your act contains extremely graphic sexual material and profuse profanity we kindly request that you check into open mics at some of the clubs and/or bars or other adult venues.
last update: October 31, 2012
Featured Artist Photo Album - Check out all the performers who performed as the featured artist at the Rockin' Java Open Mic.
Oct 18th, 2005 Last Show
October 18th, 2005 was the last open mic at Rockin' Java. This page is keep up mainly as a memoir. I recently opened Cosmic Circuit Studio in Berkeley and am working on Resonator, my first acoustic CD and working with the band Mystic Tribe. My sincere thanks to all the performers who helped make this event very special and magical. As far as I know the Rockin' Java open mic is no longer running. If you are a performer check my comprehensive listing of Open Mics in the Bay Area.
- Joe Rizzo
Support the Open Mic
The Open Mic is a free event. If you enjoy the open mic please show your support and appreciation by purchasing food and beverages at Rockin' Java and tipping the barista.
Oct 11th, 2005 - Jeff Bean with Jessica
Oct 18th, 2005 - Mystic Tribe with Donny Rasta
The Farewell Show
The Bay Guardian Ad