What’s that sound? It’s the rumblings of a new New Noise, back for another year of enlivening S.B.’s musical landscape with some of today’s best, freshest, and hottest performers with the always welcome sight and sound of State Street pianos. With a New Noise Block Party featuring top-tier acts such as Strfkr, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, the Mad Caddies, and Night Riots, plus food trucks, a beer and wine garden, and plenty of inspiring art, it’s just the energetic injection our town needs concurrent with our evolution as an exciting and cutting-edge cultural hub all our own. “The New Noise Block Party represents a full circle of music, community, and New Noise as an entity,” festival director Jeff Theimer said of the keystone event. Involving volunteers and venues from all over the city, it’s a way to “bring organizations, like-minded people, and the community together to create something that wasn’t there before.”

With festival organizers keeping relatively quiet until recently, some wondered when New Noise would sound again this year — but it was never a question of if but simply when. The festival has had its ups and downs through the years, emerging in 2009 at a time when the economy had tanked and many businesses and musicians alike were grappling with the new, untested economic realities of the Internet and digitization. Cofounded by Theimer, attorney Tim Boris, and The Santa Barbara Independent’s own Matt Kettmann, the festival sought to address questions of technological and cultural change in the music industry and all related industries, and has continued in a spirit of bringing performers to town.

The festival builds on S.B.’s rich history as a birthing ground for world-class acts, Theimer said, particularly in the 1990s, when acts such as Lagwagon, RKL, Sugarcult, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Nerf Herder, Dishwalla, Kenny Loggins, and of course the Mad Caddies all helped to shape the national musical landscape. Between this and the fact that our paradisiacal location is the intertidal nook neighboring a metropolis populated with perhaps the highest concentration of entertainers and cultural thinkers in the entire world, S.B. New Noise Festival’s endurance nullifies any arguments that S.B. is a cultural dead zone. Quite the opposite: As New Noise reminds us, S.B. is a perfect place to celebrate and welcome the new.


New Noise takes place Friday-Sunday, October 21-23. For more information, see newnoisesb.com.


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