(Aiyah Sibay/Bloc Reporter)
(Aiyah Sibay/Bloc Reporter)

In celebration of its 40th year of business, the Maryland Food Collective, located in the basement of the Stamp Student Union, will be hosting an open mic night Friday at 7 p.m.

Honey Stone will be the opening band, followed by Sonic Circus. The open mic will conclude with a jam session, during which people may bring their own instruments to perform.

The co-op hosted three open mics in the fall semester, which featured a wide array of talent. Some of those who performed were workers at the co-op while others were customers who wanted to take part in the collective atmosphere. The co-op encourages performers to play music of all genres.

Stephen Leas, a worker-owner at the co-op on the marketing and outreach committee, has overseen the expansion of the open mics at the co-op, incorporating a greater variety of performances over the past year.

“Our open mic nights allow us to showcase everything from the most polished performances all the way to completely improvised, messy, spontaneous music,” Steve said.

The co-op began in 1975 in the same non-hierarchal structure as it stands today. However, the co-op has also undergone drastic changes over the years. It originally began as a nonprofit, offering a healthy and affordable alternative for college students.

Although it no longer remains a nonprofit business, the co-op still maintains its original charter, which mandates that it continues to offer “food for people, not for profit.”

In adherence to this mission, the co-op strives to go beyond its sandwich line in efforts to provide a haven for various artists on campus. Posted around the co-op are political, artistic and literary expressions that bare witness to the heterogeneous minds that gather within this collective sphere.

“It’s definitely unique,” said Adam Echavarren, a regular customer of the co-op for five years. “It’s very different from the rest of Stamp. The seclusion is pleasant.”

Samuel Cook, an apprentice at the co-op who performed at the last open mic, plans to perform again with his band that calls itself both “Shame Kelley” and “Motherfuckers.” With their saxophone, drums, bass, and guitar, the band  contribute to the “eclectic group of musicians” that regularly appear at the open mics, eager to collectively create a wild mix of authentic music.

The co-op invites artists of different backgrounds and styles to perform at their open mics. Similar to the lack of an authoritative figure in their business, there is no host that dictates the course of the open mics.

Those who wish to perform should stop by the co-op for registeration, or send an email to mdfoodcoop@gmail.com to confirm a performance slot.

headshotAiyah Sibay is a sophomore English literature major and can be reached at ak_sibay@hotmail.com.


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