TV shows like American Idol and The Voice may be wrapping up their current seasons, but another vocal contest is right in San Diego’s backyard — specifically, at The Deck.
Mic’d Up at The Deck is a free singing competition designed to showcase local music talent. The monthly event, which typically occurs every third Monday, is hosted by The Deck at Moonshine Flats in East Village.
Every month, a total of 10 performers take to the stage to compete for the winning title. The slots are open to solo acts, duos or groups, performing either a capella or accompanied by acoustic instruments. Participants will sing three cover songs for a chance to win the grand prize of $500 in cash, complete with a giant souvenir check. Second and third place will be awarded Moonshine Flats gift cards.
The concept was developed by Ty Hauter, the CEO of local hospitality and entertainment group Good Time Design, which owns Moonshine Flats. After seeing a slew of impressive singers and songwriters performing in Nashville, he wanted to bring the same opportunities to the San Diego’s music scene.
What started out as a simple open mic concept evolved into a structured competition and found its home at music-centric Moonshine Flats. While the venue boasts a “Honky Tonk” vibe and books many country artists, Mic’d Up at The Deck welcomes all genres.
Past competition winners include Brandon McKee, Patrick Howard Trampus and Nico Tuilesu. For some, Mic’d Up acts as a chance for performer to cut their teeth — not just at The Deck, but at any live music venue.
“Since I had not played live in front of a crowd before I learned so much about stage presence and finding your confidence when performing just by watching the other contestants,” McKee said. The experience inspired him to later seize new opportunities, such as writing original music with a fellow competitor.
Trampus, who has previously played acoustic shows at The Deck, echoed McKee about the overall comradery of the competition and how it helps contestants form new connections in the industry.
“There are a lot of talented musicians in San Diego. It’s great to get a few of us in the same room to share our talents and talk to each other,” Trampus said, adding that he also appreciated the engagement of the audience throughout the evening.
Despite many country music lovers frequenting The Deck, the competitors and crowd still cheer on the show’s diverse talent pool, such as reggae/R&B artist Tuilesu.
“Being that I’m more of a reggae artist who came out to sing some of my favorite country songs with my reggae twist, I felt I received a lot of love,” Tuilesu said, attributing the positive reception to San Diego having “every type of human here” that often fosters a responsive and friendly vibe.
Interested performers must submit a YouTube video audition tape and complete an application on The Deck’s website. The May rendition of Mic’d Up was moved up to May 13, so auditions for the next round are due by Thursday, June 13 and the live competition is slated by Monday, June 24.
Entries are fielded and narrowed down by The Deck’s management as well as Michael Harris, music director of Good Time Design. Approved competitors will be announced and notified on June 14.
Though the venue chooses participants, the crowd has the final say in who takes home the glory. After the performances, audience members use a physical ballot to cast their votes, which are tallied up by The Deck to determine the top pick.
While jamming out to (and judging) the tunes, the crowd can savor $1 rib specials and $12 beer pitches. The Deck’s collection of regular games — such as ping pong, foosball, pool and giant beer pong — will still be available to play during the show. All ages are welcome to participate in the evening fun, but the venue will return to a 21+ bar after the invisible curtain falls.
Mic’d Up at The Deck
When: 7-9:30 p.m., every third Monday of the month*
Where: The Deck at Moonshine Flats, 335 Sixth Ave., East Village
*Subject to change. May’s event was held on May 13, and June and July’s events will be held on the fourth Monday of the month, June 24 and July 22.