The Rotary Performing Arts Centre (RPAC) in Okotoks has been hosting open mic nights free of charge.

"A couple of years ago, Town Council put the strategic initiative in place to have arts and culture as an economic driver in the town. I'm leading that initiative for Culture and Heritage," explains the Cultural and Heritage Team Lead with the town of Okotoks Allan Boss. "And one of the things that what we wanted to do was create more activities in the Downtown core that were happening during evenings and not necessarily on the weekends."

Being a musician himself, Boss thought it would be nice to have an open mic night.

Last spring, they met with local musicians around town to see if they would be interested in that kind of event.

They were, so they began hosting open mic nights last April.

"Then we took a break for the summer, and we started back in September. So, we run on the first and third Tuesday of every month, and it's open to the public. And it's free, and people can come down and either sign up to play a tune or just listen," Boss says.

Doors open at 6:30, with the music beginning at 7.

"I think it is a really fun event for anybody who wants to hear some of the incredible talent that we have in town and if people are learning an instrument and want to get up and play in front of people, it's a really good safe environment where everybody is supportive of each other, and we get a really great night of music," explains Boss.

One of the performers at the open mic on Tuesday, February 6 was local musician Colette Conway.

"You go in, you sign up around 6:30. About 7 o'clock they start, and then everybody does about three numbers each," Conway explains. "They've got the sound guy to make sure everything sounds great. They've got mics up there for you to use. And it's just [a] really nice casual environment, everybody is very supportive."

One of the things that Conway enjoyed about performing at RPAC, was that there was no pressure to spend money if you didn't want to.

Another advantage, for Conway, was that the crowd wasn't simply sitting there drinking and having their own conversations when the musicians are trying to perform.

"So, you actually get to perform. It's a really nice crowd, a nice environment," Conway says.

On February 20, they will be hosting a Country Music themed open mic night.

More details about events at RPAC can be found on their website.