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Finding ideal Rochester venue saved open mic night

By Chris Hunter

They hit rocky waters in their first few years but after climbing aboard The Northern Seaman, performers at a unique open mic night have their sights on new horizons.

Singer-songwriter and poet Lisa Vigour began Inspirational Nights four years ago, and the regular event attracted a wealth of artists as it grew from a poetry night to a music night and took on a lighthearted, interactive ethos all of its own.

But it never quite flourished, and Lisa was on the verge of giving up last year after drifting from venue to venue around the Medway Towns.

Singer-songwriter Lisa Vigour, who hosts the Inspirational Nights open mic at the Northern Seaman.

Singer-songwriter Lisa Vigour, who hosts the "Inspirational Nights" open mic at the Northern Seaman.

“The events at these venues didn’t pull in a ‘big crowd’,” said Lisa. “However, the people who attended always had a good time, every event had a great atmosphere and there were always nice surprises on the night.

“Sometimes someone new would get up and perform who would blow everyone away – inspirational. But I nearly stopped running inspirational nights as the idea wasn’t working in these venues for one reason or another.”

It was only when she stumbled across the Northern Seaman in Rochester High Street, a few months after the micropub had opened last year, that she found new hope.

“I walked in and I just knew it was the right venue for the night,” she said. “My first one at the Northern Seaman was September 2016 and after a three-month trial I was offered residency for the third Thursday of every month.

“Since then the night has grown into the best it has ever been. I run the night out of my passion for the arts, to help others find their voice and to have a chance, so we can inspire each other and grow to become our greatest versions.”

Lisa and performers are set to celebrate the success – and Lisa’s long-standing commitment to the cause – with a fourth birthday party on Thursday July 20, starting at 8.30pm, and a mix of quality acts have been booked for the night to make it a party to remember.

These include poets Sam Rapp, Cassy Ede, Joanne Murray and Zack Davies, as well as singer-songwriters Didi Bergman and Tendayi Sutherland, and a possible appearance from Medway music legend Jim Riley.

Normal service will resume next month with poets and musicians encouraged to write and perform original material on the night using notepads and props scattered around the venue.

Search for Inspirational Nights on Facebook for more information.

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