Dana Perry

Hosting a new Weekly All-Ages Open Mic beginning Thursday, September 19, 6-8 pm
by Teri Barr
September 2019

Dana Perry

Dana Perry

She is sipping coffee and smiling, while telling me how much she loves being back home. Dana Perry and I are inside Cargo Coffee, located in the midst of the fast-growing East Washington Avenue area of Madison. And while looking around the space, Dana’s eyes land on the empty stage in the corner, and she simply lights up. “I believe in our music community, and I know we have something special we can create here,” Dana says. “But it’s up to us to nurture and grow it.” Dana’s nurturing and growth plan is focused on the newest space for musicians and fans of all ages to enjoy. She is scheduling regular shows at Cargo Coffee, and the kick-off is planned for mid-September.

Dana, who may be best known as a creative, award-winning singer-songwriter-Girls Rock Camp instructor, has done this kind of thing before, and in a few different spots around Madison. But it was during the winter, while living with her partner in a renovated bus and enjoying the warmer climate of South Carolina, that it really hit her. “Why aren’t there more open mics happening and for all ages of musicians?” Dana asks. “And why can’t these shows be earlier so more supporters of all ages can be there?” Some of this clarity came as Dana played open mics and songwriter circles in Charleston, where she describes the scene as vibrant and welcoming.

And now, she’s back, calling the Madison area home, once again. Dana has a regular shift at Cargo Coffee, and spends the rest of her time there getting it ready for live music. Early, all-ages, open mics for music, poetry, spoken word, and comedy will be a feature starting on Thursday, September 19; but, she’s also planning extended song circles for music lovers of all skill levels on Wednesday nights, and more early shows on Fridays and Saturdays with artists ranging from Matt DeBlass sharing Celtic folk harp music on Sunday, September 22 at 2 pm, to a tour kick-off for evolutionary songwriter Jeffrey James on Friday, October 4 at 6:30 pm. The biggest draw, Dana hopes, will be the price for almost every show:  free. She doesn’t want cost to prohibit anyone from enjoying live music. Nurturing the scene here may be her goal, but she’s already surpassing her hopes to grow it.

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