Rocking out at Red Rock: The Bay Area’s longest running open mic


POWERFUL PERFORMANCE — Mika Buggy, an 18-year-old Mountain View resident and regular performer at the Red Rock Coffee open mic, sings Adele’s “Easy On Me.” “I hope people keep coming back here [to Red Rock],” Buggy said. “It’s just a great place to start doing music.” Photo: Miya Whiteley

Anticipatory silence fills the crowded room as dozens of guests standing or sitting at tables turn their gaze forward, focus on the figure behind a microphone stand and wait. After a few short moments, the silence is broken by the melodic instrumental introduction to Adele’s “Easy On Me,” and soon, it’s complemented by the strong, clear vocals of Mika Buggy, an 18-year-old Mountain View resident. 

Every Monday night from 6–9 p.m., the second floor of downtown Mountain View’s Red Rock Coffee is transformed from a casual chat and study space to an open mic venue complete with keyboards, microphones and a sound system. The event is the longest running open mic in the Bay Area according to Palo Alto Online and welcomes performers of all backgrounds and ages. 

“It [the open mic event] really isn’t just to come to perform, it’s also to support other people who are performing because there’s a lot of collaborations that happen and people will get up on stage spontaneously to play with each other, so that’s pretty cool,” open mic host Ashley Markowicz said. “That’s the whole spirit of the open mic, what we want to do is promote community and collaboration and creative partnerships.”

One way that this open mic stands out from others is its lottery-based nightly lineup. Performers are called up at random and are given five minutes to perform. 

“We’ve tried a lot of different systems in the past and this one just seems to be the best as far as getting enough people on stage and getting a variety of people on stage,” Markowicz said. 

Performers of all mediums are welcome at Red Rock, but the most common include musicians and comedians, according to Markowicz. 

“There’s regulars that come in every week,” Buggy said. “Everyone knows each other. I made a lot of my friends here. It’s kind of just the vibe, just so calming and relaxing.