Freshest Roots is a Seattle native, super spunky, urban, all ages open mic that occurs the first Friday of every month at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center. For the past year or so, I have been attending each month, and it seems each month I see large groups from some organization, club, or school taking up a lot of space, and it made me wonder: why aren’t I seeing more Huskies here?! At the last Freshest on November 7th, I witnessed a group of 20-30 Seattle University students attending, and I am sure we UWT students can do much better than that!
Freshest Roots began as a tiny, two row tradition in 2009 where a small group of art enthusiasts would gather and share, as well as simply attend and appreciate their arts. It all started with an idea between Edward Martinez, co-founder and MC of Freshest Roots, and his friend Tony Innouvong who approached him with an idea to create a community organization for youth and art. They pitched ideas back and forth between each other to execute this and make it successful. Since then, Freshest Roots has truly come alive, being one of the most popular and well known open mics in the Seattle area. Ways they plan to take it to the next level of Freshness include creating more volunteering, networking, educational, and professional opportunities for Seattle youth.
“The key to keeping Freshest alive and thriving is to keep things centralized and accessible to the community, and to stay humble on things that can, and cannot be changed,” Martinez said.
This month at Freshest there were a plethora of different arts displayed, including cappella singing, folk guitar, music sampling, dancing, hip hop music, child performances, and a lot of poetry!
Freshest Roots open mic may be the MAIN attraction, but it’s certainly not the only one. Every month, people line up to be a part of the Freshest Roots free photo booth. It’s run by dynamic local photographer Gari Watkins and sports funny props, and fun poses so attendees can take a little piece of the Freshness home with them, or at least access the photos on the Freshest Facebook page.
Performers and attendees have praised Freshest Roots. Accoustic guitarist Stanislove says it is “dynamic, warm, and inviting. A great place to gather and enjoy art.” Chelsie, a poet, said that it’s “a place to make connections, a place to display the connections poetry and art itself make, and a place to embrace the craving of the arts with like minded people.” It was also called “a fun place to perform, with a lot of cool acts” by Raven, an 11-year-old rap artist and dancer.
In five years, with hard work, patience, and determination, Freshest Roots has successfully created a safe haven for all artists and people alike. From first time performers, to those with years of experience, Freshest Roots is indeed the “freshest” place to embrace your love for, or even dip a toe into the world of art.
For more information about the open mic, or how to get involved, check out their website: www.freshestroots.com, and be sure to spread the word so at that the next Freshest Roots on Friday December 5th, the room is filled with Huskies!