Live From the Mermaid's Tavern Participant FAQ

If this is your first time at a Mermaid's Tavern online session, especially if you're joining close to the start time, please take a moment to review these Frequently Asked Questions before you reach out by email, message, or text. 

When is the next online event Live From the Mermaid's Tavern?

Are these events on Zoom or on Facebook?

We use Zoom for session/open mic singers and stream the Zoom feed to Facebook Live for listeners. This lets people multitask while enjoying a live session from home, and helps the session Compere stay focused on participants in the Zoom chat. A House Manager/Scribe follows listener chat in Facebook and works with folks needing help to join Zoom. We've found that it's really helpful when this is a separate role from the Compere/Stage Manager.

"I think this lets people engage at the level that fits their headspace of the moment.  The Zoom group stays primarily active listeners." --Brie Kelly

How do I get Zoom links for Live from the Mermaid's Tavern events?

  • Join the mailing list at
  • Weekly mailings with session links go out at 5pm on Saturdays. 
  • For same-day or next-day events, email to receive this week's newsletter. 
  • We are sorry, but we cannot send individual emails with links to a single event.

The Zoom link from a community calendar isn't working.

After a Zoombombing on April 16, we cancelled all existing Zoom events and created new ones for security. Please see How Do I Get Zoom Links? above.

Can I share the Zoom links with friends?

Please forward the entire newsletter rather than copy/pasting, and invite friends to sign up directly. For same-day or next-day events, please send your friend's full name to and/or vouch for them in the meeting before they will be admitted from the waiting room. 

The session is starting soon/has started. Where do I find the Zoom link?

  • For same-day or next-day events, email to receive this week's newsletter. 
  • During the livestream, PM your email to Digital Heritage Consulting and we will forward this week's newsletter. 
  • This will not add you to the mailing list, but the newsletter includes a signup link.
  • We're sorry, but we can't keep up with the traffic of PMing individual Zoom links and it exposes the link to hackers.

Can I sign up in advance to sing?

For both open mics and sessions, we start the queue when we open the meeting, to ensure all singers are in the room and have no technical difficulties. Please be patient in the waiting room while we do our go-live check to make sure everything runs smoothly for participants and for Facebook Live listeners. 

How do I tell you that I want to lead a song?

Join the Zoom meeting, open the Chat window, and type SINGER. The compere will ask dial-in and visually impaired singers if they would like to join the queue.

"This helps it feel structured and helps you as a potential singer feel seen."--Brie Kelly

It may take us a few minutes to get the queue in order if there are a lot of singers joining at the beginning. Please be patient while the House Manager/Scribe reads through the chat, and bear with the Compere if the first few singers aren't quite in order. We promise you'll get your turn.

These are long sessions. How can I be sure I'll get to sing?

We do give preference to singers new to the Mermaid's Tavern, so we can grow our community and meet folks who have just tuned in. If you're a regular and don't get a spot, please enjoy some new faces and voices and come on back next time. Remember, $20 patrons can invite your own singers to a private session.

If we start a second round, we will continue a survivors' session with preference by time zone until all singers have had a second song. Our April chantey sing went for four and a half hours!

I will be arriving late. Can I reserve a spot to sing?

We take singers in order from the Chat, with preference to first-time Mermaid's Tavern singers. If you are a first-time singer joining late, we will move you to On Deck in the queue so our regulars can meet you. If you are a regular, we ask that you join the queue when you arrive. 

I have to leave early. Can I reserve a spot to sing?

Toward the end of the session, the Compere may adjust the queue to give preference to singers in later time zones. For example, if someone in Seattle is Up Next, someone from Boston is On Deck, and someone from Ireland is 5 singers down and has to leave, we would adjust so that Ireland is Up Next, Boston is On Deck, and Seattle follows. This depends on where we are in the sing.

How will I know when it's my turn to sing?

The House Manager/Scribe writes down singers in the order they posted in the Chat window. The compere adjusts the queue to include dial-in/visually impaired singers and to give priority to first-time singers and those in later time zones. The compere announces who's Up Next, On Deck, and up to the next 3-5 singers, and posts it in the Chat frequently throughout the session.

For ballad sessions (which have been growing to over 35 singers!), the House Manager/Scribe keeps the queue of singers, and the songs/sources, in a Google Doc We share this (view-only) in the Chat so people at large sessions can gauge where you are in the queue. It's likely that we'll start a similar roster for chantey sings in May.

I can't see everyone/I can't see the person who's singing. What do I do?

Zoom has an icon in the upper right to switch between Speaker View that shows only the person speaking/singing, and Gallery View that shows all participants (up to 45 per page depending on your screen size). For our livestream, we have learned to use Speaker View for houseconcerts (including a Spotlight option to see the feature artist only) and Gallery View for sessions (the active speaker always moves to the first page). Each person can set their own screen, with the exception of Spotlight which is set by the host/compere.

Can my friend or I dial in by telephone, without video?

We have several dial-in singers who have slow internet, old computers, or visual impairment. Please send a note of introduction to so we know who you are on a dial-in line, and so we can include you in the singers' queue.

Should I unmute myself, or will you unmute me?

We have discovered some interesting transatlantic etiquette, where US sessions tend to allow everyone to mute/unmute themselves while UK sessions tend to set mute/unmute to host only. So far, we've evolved these practices, which are subject to change.
  • The Compere will Unmute All for introductions at the top of the session, announce the singer Up Next and On Deck, and Mute All. 
  • Please unmute yourself when you are Up Next and mute yourself when finished. 
  • Take a moment to ask for a thumbs-up that people can hear you.
  • If you start singing and we can't hear you, the Compere will check and unmute you if necessary.
  • If you forget to mute yourself and the next singer starts, the Compere will mute you.
  • Please use the chat for kind words and comments rather than unmuting when you're not the singer.
  • The Compere may make a few announcements at the top of each hour. We try to keep these as web links, but announcements include our dial-in and visually impaired singers as well as those not on Facebook. 
  • We will unmute everyone for thanks and goodbyes at the end of the session. 

Can you help me with my camera/mic/lighting/software?

Not immediately before or during the session, as we are focused on singing together and making the magic happen. To talk tech, troubleshoot, and get tips, join the Mermaid's Tavern DIY Digital Studio group on Facebook. Please take the time to troubleshoot your own lighting, camera, and microphone before you join so that we can all enjoy your uninterrupted presence.

This is the seventh post in the Live From the Mermaid's Tavern series, so please read further in this blog to see if we've already answered your questions. Lynn starts a new full-time consulting contract in mid-May, so we're not able to offer 1:1 coaching in May and June.  

How do open mics at houseconcerts work? Are they the same as sessions?

Open mics use the same format as sessions (see above) for the first 30 minutes of the event. You are not required to follow the theme of the feature, but do remember that most of the audience has tuned in for the feature and will appreciate music that complements the theme. There is no advance signup for open mics, so that we are sure that all participants are online and available. 

This bears repeating: We do give preference to singers new to the Mermaid's Tavern so we can grow our community and meet folks who have just tuned in. If you're a regular and don't get a spot, please enjoy some new faces and voices and come on back next time. Remember, $20 patrons can invite your own singers to a private session.

How long do your live videos remain on your website?

As far as we've been able to learn, Facebook Live videos do not expire. We have no plans to take them down at this time, unless a feature artist requests that their live video not be retained. 

I'm not on Facebook but I'd still like coaching advice. Can you help me?

Please read further in this blog to see if we've already answered your questions. We are sorry, but we cannot keep up with individual coaching by email, but we will do our best to answer questions on this blog and in masterclasses. Small-group coaching is also available to patrons, see below. 

You're doing a great job and I'd like to contribute. How do I send you money?

I have both a link, an online tip jar that takes credit cards, and a monthly membership program for patrons on Bandcamp.
  • $5/month gets you all my new releases, plus A Woman's Way.
  • $10/month gets you all the above plus video tips on livestreaming.
  • $20/month gets you all the above plus a private one-hour Zoom concert/session with 25 of your own guests every three months ($45 value).
  • $50/month gets you all the above plus a one-hour small-group coaching session once a month ($125 value). Additional coaching is available as Lynn's time permits (evenings and weekends only).
If you're a new monthly member from outside the US, you can change your currency in the Buy Now dialog or shopping cart. 

Do you have recordings and videos?

Yes! My CD A Woman's Way is available on Bandcamp, and I'm working on a new CD as we speak. I also have a YouTube video channel and a SoundCloud channel for scratch tracks where friends and colleagues can learn my original songs quickly and practice for recording sessions. 

You might also enjoy the music of my Celtic, maritime, and colonial band The Gloucester Hornpipe & Clog Society and my vintage music hall group The Old Howard Troupe. Band CDs and videos of both groups are available from their websites. 

Do you have private sessions that aren't livestreamed to Facebook?

Yes, for patrons. Join on Bandcamp as a monthly member of the Mermaid's Tavern community at the $20 level to get a private concert or session every 3 months for up to 25 people that you invite, with a private link for members only.

I don't do Facebook. Do you livestream to YouTube?

Not at this time. I don't have a large audience on YouTube as yet, whereas I have over 1200 friends/subscribers on Facebook. As time permits and responses suggest, I may post excerpts from livestreams to YouTube, but that's for sometime down the road. 

Note that you do not need a Facebook account to watch live from my public page. If you prefer not to use the platform at all, your best bet is to join my mailing list for Zoom links, mute your mic, and enjoy.

I want to start my own online sessions. Can you help?

Absolutely. The Mermaid's Tavern DIY Digital Studio group on Facebook is designed especially for you! 

If you'd like to volunteer, we can always use an extra moderator to jump into the comments with helpful advice and do 1:1 real-time chat with people as they need a boost. Please check in with us in advance so we can designate you as a guest moderator to the session audience. 

Q&A from that group drives this blog, so the more you ask, the more I'll do my best to answer. 

I am offering a masterclass in livestreaming for participatory song on Thursday, May 7, which will be livestreamed to Facebook. Join my mailing list for the Zoom link or watch live on Facebook

I volunteer as my time permits to folk societies looking to bootstrap their first online events. As you're able to do so, I appreciate monthly memberships to cover studio costs. Levels include video tips, your own hosted event, or 1:1 coaching. See above for details. 

We are the Future of Folk

The future of folk music needs a regional, national, and international grassroots network of online folk clubs. Digital communities are here to stay, and to connect us until we can revel in real-time harmony together again. I look forward to seeing your face and hearing your voice Live From the Mermaid's Tavern.