MusicSpark: Rebekah Todd & The Odyssey, Spaceship Days, The-Nerve, The Bourbons | Kings | Clubs & Concerts | Indy Week
This is a past event.

MusicSpark: Rebekah Todd & The Odyssey, Spaceship Days, The-Nerve, The Bourbons 

When: Fri., Sept. 12, 9 p.m. 2014
Price: free
When September starts, Hopscotch loads a dozen downtown Raleigh rock clubs with bands from around the world. And as September falls into October, the International Bluegrass Music Associations commandeers clubs and theaters, city streets and the Red Hat Amphitheater alike for fleet pickers and string bands. But between those big bookends, musicSPARK, the audio arm of the annual SPARKcon, takes a more open approach to live music. Their motto? "All local, all free, always."

There's no money for the bands at musicSPARK; instead, acts hoping to get a gig submit a $10 entry fee with an application. Compensation for these bands might come in the potential for exposure to several thousand people, says musicSPARK organizer Stephanie Brinson, though there aren't any critical-mass, headlining shows meant to ensure that many people show up. After bands apply, they're subjected to a 12-member jury, who then rate each band on a scale of one to five stars. These scores are averaged, Brinson says, and the best-rated acts get to play the festival. This year, the top four bands—Rebekah Todd & The Odyssey, Spaceship Days, The-Nerve and The Bourbons—get a Friday night show at Kings.

Organizers scattered the other winners, which include the funky Chit Nasty Band and the wiry Phononova, throughout the weekend, according to availability and genre. This includes a small stage for singer-songwriters on the steps of the Wake County Courthouse, as well as another outdoor platform for rock music. The festival highlights what it dubs Young Guns, 11 burgeoning musicians all under age 21.

Brinson calls the application process an "artist-to-festival format," as opposed to the more standard festival booking style of the institution asking artists to play. At least the application playing field is level; everyone fills out the form.

"We have been approached by folks who manage bands and are booking agents, and we tell them we'd be more than happy to work with their talent," Brinson says. "But their talent has to fill out the entry form." —Allison Hussey

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