Open Mic at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

During the three busiest days of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the Western Folklife Center provides opportunities for everyone to share their musical and poetical talents. In general, each open mic participant will perform no more than once per day, Thursday through Saturday. Each performer is introduced by the host of the stage. Please ask the host any questions you have about performing before the session starts.

Poetry Open Mics, called “Anything Goes,” typically take place in the Silver Room at the Elko Convention Center. You will sign up the morning you wish to perform at the Guest Services Desk in the Lobby: sign up times will be published here as the Gathering nears.


Music Open Mics, called “Take Your Turn,” typically will take place in the new Elko Conference Center, right next door to the Elko Convention Center. You will sign up the morning you wish to perform at the Guest Services Desk in the Lobby: sign up times will be published here as the Gathering nears. 

Students are welcome to sign up for any open mics. The Western Folklife Center encourages students under 18 to sign up for the Young Buckaroo Open Mic and Talent Show, which is typically held in the Turquoise Room of the Elko Convention Center during the Gathering, on Thursday. Sign ups will be taken prior to the show (times wil be published here as the Gathering nears), at the Guest Services desk in the Elko Convention Center Lobby.

The amount of time you have to perform will be determined based on the number of people who sign up for open mics on any given day. Typically, open mic participants have five to ten minutes on stage. In order to be sure you have enough time for your performance, we recommend preparing short poems or songs. Have an extra short poem or song on hand just in case. Out of respect for the other performers, we discourage the recitation of long poems so that everyone has a chance to recite.

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