It’s all hands on deck this week as New Noise Santa Barbara kicks off its sixth year of nonstop music. Over the course of its run, the annual music festival and conference has undeniably upped the ante, thanks in large part to the Block Party — a three-year-strong tradition that’s turning the Funk Zone into a grand-scale pop-up concert of sorts. (Last year’s New Noise pièce de résistance came in the form of sisterly super-group Haim, who headlined Mason Street at dusk.)
Still, for music fans and music makers who have followed the festival’s climb, the heart of the matter still lies in the community. As in years past, 2014’s five-day, five-venue lineup is teeming with Santa Barbara–based bands and artists (The Santa Barbara Independent–sponsored Thursday-night showcase at Muddy Waters Café featuring locs Sun Daes, Kelp, Pacific Haze, and Afishnsea the Moon being just one example). Come Sunday, when New Noise’s conference arm takes over the Santa Barbara Art Foundry, that down-home vibe is sure to get even stronger.
For the first time ever, New Noise is opening up its day of lectures, workshops, mentorship, and mingling to everyone. For free. Which means that, for one day out of the year, S.B.’s music scene can congregate, cohabitate, and learn things to boot. Welcome to the networking opportunity of a lifetime.
“We’ve wanted to make the New Noise Music Conference free since the first year,” says New Noise founder Jeff Theimer. “It’s a really tough thing to do when you break it down expense wise, but this year, thanks to the S.B. Art Foundry, Sonos, Jensen A/V, and the Santa Barbara Foundation, we were able to narrow the loss enough where we felt like it was possible. The New Noise Music Foundation exists not only to throw this event once a year but also to inspire and connect artists of all ages with others in the industry. I can’t say the conference will remain free forever, but we’re gonna give it a go and hope artists take advantage of the opportunity.”
In the following pages, we’re highlighting this year’s strongest live acts, as well as some of the conference’s hottest topics. For the real-deal full schedule, visit newnoisesb.com.