It’s been just a year since New Noise Santa Barbara made its presence known, taking over the Canary Hotel by day—and most of downtown by night—in an effort to facilitate and foster discussion and growth among local and national music-makers and some of the industry’s biggest movers and shakers. The setup included daylong conferences, panel discussions, and Q&A sessions, nightlong band showcases, and a whole lot of surprise guests. And boy did it score big, winning as much praise from wide-eyed young musicians as it did from the big wigs, lawyers, and entrepreneurs who graced its stages.
And whether or not you got in on the action in 2009, this year promises to keep the momentum going, thanks in part to a whole lot of internal changes for what many are now calling “the South by Southwest of the West Coast.” Case in point: the creation of the New Noise Music Foundation, an umbrella nonprofit that’s “focusing its efforts on local musician assistance, music education, professional development, and live performance,” as well as this weekend’s annual conference and fest. The move is also allowing New Noise to partner with fellow organizations like the Santa Barbara Bowl, the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, KCSB 91.9 FM, and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) to bring their vision to life; a vision that this year includes presenting names like Dr. Drew and Thievery Corporation, and community music projects like this year’s interactive music installation, Pianos on State.
More importantly, though, the New Noise Foundation is now working hard year-round to provide opportunities for Santa Barbarans interested in breaking into the music biz. (Think all-ages shows, direct-to-artist grants, lectures, mentor programs, and cultural exchanges.)
“It’s about the practical stuff—the stuff that I wanted when I was in a band,” explains New Noise founder Jeff Theimer. “Whether that’s equipment, subsidized practice space, or educational stuff. And if we do it right, I think [musicians] will want to take advantage.”