Musicians in El Dorado and surrounding areas now have the opportunity to perform in front of an open mic and an audience with the return of a downtown, live-music event.
First United Methodist Church is rebooting the Acoustic Café at 7 p.m. on March 7 in the fellowship hall of the church, 201 S. Hill Ave.
Formerly known as Cedar Place Acoustic Café, the event was initially launched in 2007 to provide a supportive community and a musical outlet for experienced and amateur musicians, adults and children, organizer Greg Oden said.
Oden, longtime choral director at El Dorado High School and director of music ministries for FUMC, teamed up with Robert Love to provide that outlet.
As experienced musicians who play multiple instruments, the pair had collaborated on other events in the community and recognized the need for a local venue in which musicians could perform unplugged in an intimate setting, gain exposure, hone their talent and develop skills, such as stage presence and how to connect to an audience.
The Acoustic Café ran strong with monthly acoustic shows before ending in the early 2010s due to waning participation and scheduling conflicts that sometimes resulted in postponements or cancellations.
Oden said organizers feel the time is ripe to revive the café, which fits into ongoing efforts by community leaders to develop El Dorado's "Festival City" brand -- the aim of which is to make El Dorado an entertainment hub in the mid-South.
The café would also help bolster the live-music scene in downtown El Dorado.
Oden said musicians who participated in the original run of Acoustic Café have expressed enthusiasm and support for the relaunch.
However, some newcomers who have been asked to participate are reticent.
"This event was an endearing and fun event for several years, but it is a foreign experience for several of the musicians who have been invited to perform," Oden said. "Once we have gotten started Tuesday (March 7), I believe the buzz will be strong."
Performers who have been booked for the inaugural show include adult musicians and youth musicians and a raconteur.
Participants will have the option to be accompanied by the café's house musicians, which include a professional percussionist, pianist, bassist and guitarist, said Oden.
He said Acoustic Café shows were previously staged once a month, but the reboot could follow a different schedule.
Right now, organizers are scheduling the second show for April 4.
Admission for Acoustic Café is free and the family-friendly event is open to the public.
Light refreshments will be served and donations will be accepted as financial support for the use of the FUMC facility and to help offset the costs for refreshments.
For more information or to book a performance, call the FUMC office at 870-862-1341. Also, send a text to Oden at 870-818-6245 or a message on the Messenger instant messaging app by the first Monday of the month.