Rick West contributed (with slight edits by me, and I should edit this more soon: "The session at O'Reilly's (now [Sundays 3--6 pm]) has a core group of people and invariably attracts 5-6 additional musicians. I'm not exactly a host but did establish O'Reilly's as a session location, originally on Sundays, with Mike Hanrahan, Graham Wells, Stan Pickett and Phil Badcock. The Saturday session, which began at The Ship Inn several years ago, was started by Rob Murphy, Jackie Ryan, Larry Foley and perhaps Dave Panting. Again, there isn't really a host, however, Rob Murphy (flute) does lead in to a good number of tunes. Rob, Jackie, John, Michelle Brophy, Rob Brown, Mike Hanrahan, Graham, Phil Babcock, Stan Pickett and I are regulars. We had small crowds at first but now are bringing in enough paying customers to cover the stout that we drink. Some fine players are dropping in on a regular basis so the quality of the sessions now is quite good. This, the location and the great food should have O'Reilly's packed during the tourist season. If anyone needs more information they can contact me at email@example.com . " This session is sometimes slower in the summer IF it is a festival weekend and many of the regulars are off at a festival instead of at the pub. But last year even during the festival there was a small session, plus of course probably others in houses after the festival hours (or at Nautical Nellie's or The Duke of Duckworth or at the closing party at The Ship Pub).
Here is something written by Fergus O'Byrne on sj.general (slightly edited after a June 2003 e-mail from him, edited more by me for changes since then):
"For those interested in traditional music, each weekend there are informal
sessions held in various locations.
These `trad. sessions' are informal gatherings of both musicians and
listeners who enjoy playing and listening to traditional music and song in a
relaxed atmosphere. There is no `performance' as such other than the
natural exuberance of the players themselves. The sessions provide an
outlet for seasoned players to let loose with the tunes they know and also
allow newer players a chance to play along and/or listen without any
pressure. The session also gives people of like mind a chance to socialize
and meet new people.
Times and locations:
Tuesday evenings at Georgetown Pub, Hayward Ave., beginners welcome (19+)
7:30--10:30 p.m. Fridays at Erin's Pub, Water Street, hosted by Billy Sutton (19+)
7:30--10:30 p.m. Saturdays at Erin's Pub, Water Street, hosted by Billy Sutton (19+)
3 to 6 p.m. every Sunday at O'Reilly's Pub, George Street, hosted by Danny Mills and Fergus Brown-O'Byrne (youth under 19 welcome if accompanied by an adult)
at Mallard Cottage restaurant in Quidi Vidi village on Sunday afternoons (all ages)
12:30 to 2 p.m. Tuesdays at Rocket Bakery on Water St, hosted by The Auntie Crae Band (all ages welcome)
The Crow's Nest Ballad session and Crow's nest storytelling session (19+) and occasional Crow's Nest instrumental trad sessions.
the last Wednesday of the month at Folk Night at The Ship, 9 p.m. (19+)
There is a youth open mic from 2 p.m. on Sundays at Shamrock City. Many of those who play the Neil Murray Stage at the folk festival are better at celtic music than the best adults in most other cities of similar size in North America. There is also an annual Young Folk at the Hall with workshops leading up to a Sunday concert. There may be more info on that on the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Arts Society web site. Also people under 19 are allowed in to the O'Reilly's Sunday session if accompanied by an adult since O'Reilly's serves food.
All of the sessions Fergus (and I) listed are purely traditional round-table unamplified sessions. Also, I think there is room for a slow (beginner, all ages, including slow adults) session perhaps at The Peter Easton Pub or The Ship Pub or alternating between them each week, or at a non-alcoholic non-pub venue if all ages. (But young people under 19 are allowed in pubs that serve food, up to I think 8:30 p.m., if accompanied by an adult.) Also during the summer festival season sometimes musicians are at the festivals and thus round table unamplified sessions at pubs are much less full of musicians, but generally in the night after a festival's evening concert there are usually late night impromptu sessions somewhere (for Feile Seamus Creagh generally at Erin's Pub on the Sunday night).
O'Reilly's Irish Pub has a Tuesday night Open Mic Night from 10 to 12 with paid hosts playing before 10 and after 12 and this is often packed, especially during university year.
Erin's Pub has an open mic on Thursday nights starting at 10 p.m., hosted by Mark Manning and Aaron Collis.
CBTGs has a jam night on Tuesday nights.
Distortion has an open mic but I forget the day.
Wednesday night is Newfoundland and Labradors Folk Arts Society Folk Night at The Ship Inn and in between the two sets of the featured performer(s) there is a chunk (up to an hour) of time for three or four open mic spots each consisting of three songs or three sets of tunes. This gets going around 9 p.m., but to get a good seat show up by 8:45 p.m., and it ends around 11:30 p.m.
The Breezeway bar in the university centre at MUN has an open mic Wednesday nights.
The Georgetown Pub on Hayward Avenue has an open mic every Friday night I think starting at about 9 p.m.
MusicNL hosts an open mic at The Ship Pub Mondays from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., with a different singer/songwriter hosting each week. There is a house guitar.
Sayde Black hosts an open mic at The Peter Easton Pub Thursdays 9 p.m.--1 a.m.
Alex Dinn hosts an open mic at Humphry's Thursdays 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
The Sprout vegetarian restaurant has an open mic on Thursday evenings.
There is a cabaret at The Fat Cat Wednesday nights that might include an open mic component, though you might have to sign up the previous week.
The Brimstone (old O'Reilly's location) has an open mic on Wednesday nights.
The Black Sheep Pub has an open mic Sunday nights from 8 to 11 p.m. hosted by a different musician each week.
The Second Cup coffee shop on Stavanger Drive has an open mic from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on the third Friday of each month, hosted by Evan AuCoin. They have a house guitar and piano. I guess this is all ages.