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Lockdown open mic nights form 'international family'

Peterborough-based duo Double A have just celebrated the first anniversary of their virtual open mic night events, after a year of keeping people performing through the pandemic.
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Double A - Andy Hughes and Andy Hodgson - have been running livestream events throughout the year

Andy Hodgson and Andy Hughes, Double A, ran open mic nights regularly in Peterborough before the Covid-19 pandemic. Hodgson's company provides fully equipped open mic and showcase nights, including the open jams night hosted by Danny Dill.

Starting with a few Facebook events on the Rock and Roll Enterprises Ltd (R.A.R.E) page, the duo set up a group after a few technical glitches - some artists and viewers found it difficult to locate which page the 'event' was being held on, and occasionally Facebook didn't want to allow a livestream to begin.

The official group, named Double A - Live In Your Home, gave the event a sense of legitimacy. Andy and Andy formed a relationship with another Cambridgeshire page, Drunken Mic Radio (DMR), helping get some promotion for the livestreams. Friday night was chosen as event night and a host was chosen to introduce each act.

As the second lockdown came into effect in November 2021, the group added Tuesday nights to their lineup. Between Double A and DMR, three events a week are on offer - as well as seasonal streams.

A virtual festival was organised by both groups for the DMR page last summer, and both helped with artists for the Kings Lynn and Norfolk Pride festival.

A large Christmas event - with help from groups in Plymouth and London - was held to raise money for the Trussell Trust.

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Speaking to Peterborough Matters about the success of the lockdown open mic nights, Andy Hodgson said: "We really just wanted to keep a performance space open for performers to carry on during lockdown - and in this year we've had well over 100 home and international performers join us.

"Right now, we intend to keep our livestream night on Tuesday running even after things open up fully. We have such a great international family on there, from America, Italy, Ireland... and we are still welcoming new members to the group after every event. We will never just abandon it and will keep it going as long as facebook allows us to.

"But we are now looking forward to getting back to hosting our Double A live nights, in and around Peterborough, and are looking for venues that may wish to include our nights in their entertainment schedules once it's safe to do so."