Donkey Open Mic
Megan Wren kicks off the open mic night by playing a few original songs. (WOUB Public Media/Jessica Jones)

Megan Wren Takes Over Donkey Open Mics, Open To All Performers

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Do you love singing?

Are you looking to get more experience singing in front of crowds, or to build confidence as a performer?

Every Thursday night, Donkey Coffee (17 West Washington, Athens) hosts an open mic night for anyone who’d like to sing. WOUB spoke with Megan Wren, musician and booking manager for Donkey Coffee about what one can expect on an average Thursday night and the other events that take place at Donkey.

“I book the live shows on Friday and Saturday night, I host Thursday night open mic night, and I also book the art that is in the back room, middle room, and front room,” Wren said. “Thursday night is specifically for musicians, we have a wide variety of things. Most people I think are singer-songwriters and come to play the guitar, last week we had someone come in and play the soprano saxophone with an audio track, so that was cool!”

Donkey provides a piano for people to play, as well as a guitar that Megan brings.

Each week, there is a sign-up sheet posted in the back room by the audio box where people can sign up. Megan recommends musicians sign up by Monday or Tuesday to ensure they get their desired time slot, as the sheet is typically full come Thursday.

“You can do all kinds of things, you can be a total beginner and never have played in front of anyone before, or you can be a professional and come in every week. You can do anything you want to do, you can play originals, covers- you get 15 minutes to play whatever you want,” said Wren. “A lot of people come regularly and they get a lot out of it, being in front of people week to week.”

Open mic starts at 8 p.m. and goes until 11 p.m. There’s no cover fee and open mics are always open to the public. Donkey Coffee also hosts a poetry night, Designated Space, on Tuesday nights, where people can share poems or spoken word.

One of the new changes Megan is implementing since recently taking over as host is being the first performer of the night.

“If it’s your first time playing and you’re opening open mic, that can be a little bit of pressure,” she said. “Even for seasoned people, maybe it might be a little awkward to get started, so tonight, I’ll start. That way, we can fix audio levels so if it’s messed up, it’s me, not another person.”

The art displays rotate throughout the rooms, and Donkey displays a few different artists at a time. If you’re interested in having your art displayed or looking to play a Friday/ Saturday night show, you can go on Donkey’s website ( and under the events tab, send an email to booking. If you’d like to play an open mic, all you have to do is come in during the week to sign up.

“The hardest part of performing is just being in front of people and getting on stage,” said Wren. “It’s something that promotes local musicians – especially beginners and people trying new material – just having that kind of safe space is important for music and the community.”