Editorial/Opinion – It had been quite some time since my last visit to an Open Mic or Jam Session in Sebastian. This week, I decided to rekindle that experience by attending performances at the Tiki Bar & Grill on Monday and the Pareidolia Brewing Company on Wednesday, featuring our local talents.
My time at both venues left me awestruck, serving as a reminder of the close-knit and fortunate community we have here in Sebastian. The turnout was nothing short of fantastic, evoking memories of the gatherings depicted in classic episodes of Andy Griffith, where families and neighbors would congregate on front porches in Mayberry to sing and savor each other’s company. This sense of trust and friendship is a testament to the enduring small-town charm we maintain, despite the recent surge in population.
What truly distinguishes these Open Mic and Jam Sessions is their inclusivity. Musicians of all skill levels are welcomed with open arms. Sebastian boasts a wealth of remarkable talent, making these events nothing short of extraordinary.
Another observation during these sessions was the absence of political discussions. Instead, individuals from various political backgrounds set aside their differences and came together to share instruments and a microphone. The pressing issues of our nation and the world took a back seat as people chose to live in the moment and revel in the joy of music. Even if it was only for a few hours, it felt like a refreshing break from the politically charged society we often find ourselves in.
While differences in political views exist, the Open Mic and Jam Sessions foster respect and unity on both sides of the aisle. Music serves as the universal language that transcends political boundaries. People can be as passionate about their music as their political beliefs, yet, in the end, we are all residents of the wonderful place known as Sebastian. It’s our home, and I wouldn’t trade it for anywhere else, especially considering that my family moved here 50 years ago this year.
Last night, I witnessed a gentleman take the stage at Pareidolia with a banjo-style instrument, starting a spontaneous sing-along that had everyone joining in. Following him was a lady who had relocated from Sebastian to central Florida due to hurricanes but made the journey back to sing her heart out. Two songs quickly turned into more as the audience shouting for an encore. It was an evening filled with joy and connection.
The local musicians featured country and oldies tunes, creating a delightful blend of melodies. One moment, you might hear someone from a Doobie Brothers classic, followed by another belting out a Hank Williams hit. The audience then raises their voices to sing as someone took the stage to perform “California Dreamin'” by the Mamas & The Papas.
Yet, the diversity of genres also shone through, with renditions of old Rock and Roll hits by the likes of the Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, and more.
Among the performers, you’ll find retirees and accomplished musicians who’ve toured with other bands. Local talents occasionally enjoy the spotlight alongside a full band, a common occurrence during the Jam Sessions at the Tiki Bar & Grill with Dave Scott and Lee Miller. Here in Sebastian, musicians share their knowledge, teaching chords on a guitar, while enjoying a fantastic atmosphere.
I also had the pleasure of meeting numerous people, especially our snowbird friends, who said this would be their last Jam Session until their return in October or November. The sadness of bidding farewell to Sebastian and heading back north was evident in their expressions, as they wished for an extended stay in our charming town.
The Jam Session at the Tiki Bar & Grill takes place on Mondays, commencing at 6:30 p.m. The Open Mic event is hosted by the Pareidolia Brewing Company on Wednesdays at 6:00 p.m. Additionally, there may be nights when Mash Monkeys Brewing Company hosts Jam Sessions, but you’ll need to contact them for details.
If you’re a musician eager to participate, simply show up and add your name to the list. The atmosphere is welcoming, and everyone is accommodating.
Many of those I spoke with during the Open Mic and Jam Session attested that it provided superior entertainment compared to watching television at home. The element of surprise keeps things exciting, and there’s never a dull moment.
In Sebastian, there’s no better way to spend an evening than harmonizing with your neighbors and friends, regardless of their political affiliations. Plus, you might just catch a glimpse of a pelican or two to add a touch of natural beauty to your night.