The 2014 San Diego Music Thing will feature approximately 100 panelists and over 150 performers.


The San Diego Music Thing was launched in 2008 with the dual purpose of presenting an independent rock festival at night and a panel series by day to help young musicians learn and grow.

Singer-songwriter Josh Damigo is a key example of a San Diego musician who benefited from the annual event, which drew a record 8,000 evening attendees last year and returns Friday and Saturday.

This weekend’s lineup features around 100 panelists and over 150 artists, including Damigo, Cults, Deap Vally, Swamp Dogg, La Santa Cecilia, 2014 Grammy Award winners, and San Diego punk rock pioneers The Zeros. .

Seventh Edition of the San Diego Music Thing

When: Friday and Saturday at 14 sites, the majority of which are in North Park

Tickets: $ 10 to $ 60 (you must be 21 or over to be admitted to some MTDS sites)

Telephone: (619) 381-8789

In line:

Partial programming (more than 150 numbers will be played)

Friday: Liars, Dengue Fever, Deap Vally, Earth, Lily Kershaw, The Midnight Pine, Dead Feather Moon, Barcelona, ​​Deadbolt, Bushwalla and more

Saturday: Cults, Swamp Dogg, The Zeros, La Santa Cecilia, Slow Magic, The Hood Internet, Okapi Sun, Ilya, Desert Noises and more

Damigo and his alternative country band, The Freeloaders, headline a Friday night MTDS show at the Seven Grand in North Park. On Saturday, he plays a solo at 12:45 p.m. at the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center, the event’s new daytime headquarters.

“I became a full-time artist following a reservation to play MTDS in 2010, said Amigo, 30, a North Park resident. “They gave each artist a free pass to attend roundtables and day seminars. I went to see them all, with my laptop, and took a lot of notes.

One of these panels included representatives from three major music performing rights organizations, BMI, ASCAP and SESAC. Damigo gave his card and latest CD to Josh Feingold, who works at the SESAC office in Los Angeles, then followed up the following week with a phone call.

Damigo signed with SESAC later in 2010. He has performed at every subsequent edition of SDMT except last year when he was on tour. He continues to attend the event’s day panels to deepen his knowledge of the ever-changing music industry.

“For me, it’s obvious. This is probably the best event for any musician who wants to take it to the next level in San Diego, ”said Damigo, who previously taught drama and public speaking at Christian High School in El Cajon and then worked customer service for Ashford University.

“Steve Poltz was on an MTDS songwriter panel, and I asked him, ‘Should I write verse-chorus / verse-chorus / bridge-chorus?’ And he said, ‘Just write what you want, when you want.’ And that was huge for me. because it opened me up, musically. And by signing with SESAC for (musical) publishing royalties, every time I play concerts or on the radio, I get a percentage through SESAC. ”

Of course, getting a deal with SESAC or some other musical performing rights organization as a result of his participation in MTDS makes Damigo an exception, not a typical example. But his experience is a resounding claim to the organizers of the event, which is produced by the nonprofit San Diego Music Foundation to raise funds to provide musical instruments and education to public schools in San County. Diego.

The foundation also produces the San Diego Music Awards, which turn 24, which this year takes place on October 6 at Humphreys Concerts by the Bay, and the City Beat Festival of Beers, which takes place each April in North Park. The popular Moss Party helps buy-in to MTDS and its mix of panels, opening sessions and live music, which will be shown in more than a dozen venues, the majority of them in North Park. .

“We want people in the music community to learn from panelists and speakers, who are all quite prestigious in their fields,” said Marjy Taylor, executive director of the San Diego Music Foundation, former director of marketing and Mainly Mozart communications.

“I think we kind of like our niche last year. We found the right bands and with Tim Mays being so involved in booking bands for us we got a much higher level of talent. We also had excellent speakers. It gets better every year. We also like that people can sit and talk (informally) with the panelists and speakers.

This year’s speakers include veteran electronic music artist Moby, R&B maverick Swamp Dogg (who, at 72, is this year’s oldest participant), and die-hard punk singer Jack Grisham, author and former candidate for governor of California. Two dozen panels, covering everything from touring and songwriting to using social media to expand fan bases, will take place.

Last year, MTDS expanded to include the North Park Theater, which this year will host indoor and outdoor music on Saturdays. Thanks to the reservation of talents advised by the big boss of the Casbah Tim Mays, the 2013 edition of SDMT attracted around 8,000 people to its evening performances, a jump of more than 50% compared to 2012.

“I’m glad we were able to use a few larger venues this year. It helps build and expand the scope of the event by being able to bring in a few bigger acts, ”said Mays, who also exclusively books national music acts at the North Park Theater year-round.

“And I think there are great formations in the clubs this weekend, with a lot of diversity. We have Slow Magic, The Hood Internet, Dengue Fever, Deap Vally, Moving Units, Earth, La Santa Cecilia, Swamp Dogg, Liars, Cults and Meg Myers, and old school outfits like Deadbolt and The Zeros, something for everyone. world. It’s a pretty tough balancing act, because I try to keep all the venues happy and bring them artists that people will come to hear. Lots of places in North Park get big crowds every weekend now no matter who is playing. So it’s a giant puzzle to assemble this weekend.

Mays’ involvement extends beyond the evening and daytime MTDS concerts

“I am on the touring panel (in concert) every year,” he said. “I like him. I’ve always enjoyed being a part of the panel I’m on. And I think the keynote speakers for the past few years have been great. There are some interesting things to do, learn and see during the day.

Sadly, no more than a tenth of the 8,000 attendees at last year’s MTDS party also made it to daytime events last year, despite a keynote address by post-punk legend Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth and a variety of panels.

“For us, bands are cool for sure, and we love all the music that we present,” said Taylor, executive director of the San Diego Music Foundation. “But the (daytime) conference is really what ties the event to our organizational mission. We would love to have everyone in a group in San Diego come to the conference during the day. But attendance is improving year by year.

The band’s veteran, Mario Escovedo, argues that SDMT needs to strengthen the caliber of its participants in the music world, in order to attract more people to the daytime sessions of the event.

“The key to greater participation is to bring in more prominent professionals in the music industry to attend and (nurture) magical moments, where bands are discovered and become famous,” said Escovedo, whose group roster includes the rising duo from San Diego Okapi. Sun, who performs at the Casbah on Saturday as part of the MTDS.

“MTDS has yet to be developed, so there are reasons people go to conferences and feel like they’re getting something they won’t get anywhere else. North Park is always evolving, and that’s something the event can build on.

In fact, SDMT was called North by North Park when it debuted in 2008. It was a nod to Austin’s South by Southwest, which started in 1994 and has grown into the world’s largest annual music conference and country showcase event.

In 2013, after being based for five years at the Lafayette Hotel in North Park, SDMT moved its daytime events to the Sheraton Mission Valley Hotel and welcomed 91X-FM as an official radio sponsor. A booking dispute led this year to the Sheraton’s move to Town and Country, according to San Diego Music Foundation president Kevin Hellman.

No matter where its daytime events take place, SDMT remains committed to helping aspiring musicians better understand how they might thrive.

“We tried to do more one-on-one mentoring sessions,” Hellman noted. “We’ve had some great speakers and we’ve been lucky this year with Moby, who takes things to a different level. Hopefully people will take advantage, as the cost (to attend MTDS) is almost zero, especially compared to South by Southwest, which will be charging $ 999 (per person) for a badge next year. Our maximum price is $ 60 …

“What I’m most proud of is that we’re still here. People told us that we were crazy doing this and that we would never survive. The fact that we lost money and never lost money is a huge achievement for a nonprofit like ours. We are still here and still have the potential to grow.

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