The Mason Jar enters fifth year of providing live and local tunes


Jamison Sampson playing his guitar on open Mic night. Sampson has been apart of open night since last year | Sam Jackson for The Easterner

By Sam Jackson, Staff Reporter

The Mason Jar is a Cheney coffee shop that provides a place for locals to take over the mic every Thursday night. They welcome anyone to enjoy or showcase their talent for free.

The Mason Jar has been hosting live music and open mic nights for five years. On Thursday, the entertainment is from 7-9 p.m. Open Mic Night is every second Thursday each month, displaying all kinds of talent including music and poetry. The coffee shop is located in downtown Cheney on 101 F St.

The owner of the Mason Jar, Douglas LaBar, started the coffee shop in hopes that it would bring the community together in a new way.

“We really focus on local sustainability and just kind of community,” said Labar. “Our big thing is tying multigenerational people together here. College towns can be so transient, you come in, study for four years and you’re gone. During that time period, we want to create a community where you’re not just surrounded by your peers, but you’re surrounded by your professors and surrounded by your community members. There’s just more conversation and that’s what I think makes us unique.”

Live music nights at the coffee shop came to be after an EWU alum, and his band, wanted to start playing their music there.

“About three months after we opened one of our regular customers, who’s really awesome, that was in the music program at Eastern kind of was suggesting how his band would love to play here and that they were a jazz group,” said LaBar. “They started playing, then suddenly became a regular set. From then on we just started adding more and more.”

For anyone who wants to get involved and perform at the shop, Open Mic Night is the place to start.

“There’s not many chances you get to listen to talented musicians for free,” said LaBar. “If you have a talent, bring it down to open mic. We always like new talent. We’ve been propositioned on doing more, and were not opposed to that, but we just need more people showing up on nights like this.”

The musicians that play on a regular basis were discovered by the owner when he heard them play at an open mic night in 2016.

“I did an open mic last year and then Doug the owner asked me if I would like to play full sets,” said Jamison Sampson, a musician and junior at EWU.  “I’ve been playing here ever since. It’s actually one of my favorite places to play. I love the sound in here, the acoustics are great and the people are great.”

The crowd on music nights are always a mix of ages ranging from 75 year olds to 18 year olds.

“It’s cool to see a lot of different people around here,” said Joel Crow, a regular at the Mason Jar. “Some are students and some are people that just live around town.”

There’s no pressure when it comes to paying for anything on Thursday nights, it’s all about enjoying the live performances. It’s one of the things that sets the Mason Jar apart from other venues.

“It’s always different, fun and really casual. It’s not pretentious in any way,” said LaBar. “We’re not trying to push anything, like there’s no cover charge. It’s just low-key. Even for me, the week can be really stressful and busy, but on music night, even though I’m working and it can be really busy, you can’t help but enjoy it.”

This upcoming Thursday, Oct. 26, will be their fifth year anniversary of hosting this event and will feature three bands from 7 to 11 p.m. There will be all kinds of drink specials and anyone in the area is encouraged to come celebrate.