ACU is a cultural and political venue at the heart of Utrecht. Existing as a squat from 1976 then developing into a small music venue in 1985 before opening as it’s currently known in 1999, ACU provides an amazing variety of artistic and political events. They host a whole spectrum of eccentric, off beat affairs, filling your Saturday evenings with trance-techno raves and Sunday mornings with anarchist book swapping when they transform into a vegan library.
It’s an incredibly inspiring place to be, the heart of which is the collectivist feel that the venue has. It’s an enterprise run solely by volunteers, who would rather pull pints there for free than get paid in a far less interesting place. With this type of devotion at its core, it’s no surprise that it feels instantly welcoming, making it the perfect place for an open mike night. Welcome to all, once every two weeks you can find a rag tag bunch of artists performing in ACU’s back room. I attended the ‘Black and White’ themed international open mic night, an evening filled with an eclectic mix of acoustic duos, spoken word performances, and live Chinese translations. It’s an event open to anyone of any language, with a blend of Friesian, Mandarin, Dutch, English and many more being spoken and performed on the evening I attended.
These open mic nights have been taking place for roughly the last three years with the compare that night describing it as an “open, free, raw safe space”. I think the international element really sets the ACU open mic night apart from others across the city. It’s a space to perform your own art, but also a space to facilitate others in the performance of their creativity, by helping to create an atmosphere of warmth, welcome, and acceptance. An amazing place to come and perform, or just to watch the plethora of incredibly talented artists that Utrecht has to offer, ACU’s open mic night is definitely somewhere to check out for all budding creatives. The theme of the next one night is ‘Constellations’ and is taking place on 13th of March. Martha Bird 6th March 2019