A musician’s paradise

San Diego Music Thing makes a triumphant return as the place to be for music lovers & aspiring musicians

By Logan Broyles | SDUN Reporter

Everything an aspiring musician or a casual fan could ever want can be found at the sixth annual San Diego Music Thing, this year’s two-day event created by people in the music industry for just about everyone.

The San Diego Music Thing started as a way to allow fans and industry insiders alike to come together and share their passion, and for some to give advice to anyone trying to enter the local music scene.

Ra Ra Riot (Courtesy San Diego Music Foundation)

Ra Ra Riot (Courtesy San Diego Music Foundation)

“This event really showcases what a cool music city San Diego is,” said Marjy Taylor, executive director of the San Diego Music Foundation. Based in North Park, the Foundation has produced the event since its inception.

“There are two different groups of people that we are trying to target. For the musicians, there are so many great resources out there that they should take advantage of, and for the regular concert-going people, this is a cool way to see a ton of up-and coming bands and check out some of the local venues,” Taylor said.

The Music Thing will be held Sept. 13 and 14 at multiple San Diego venues throughout the entire weekend, with daytime conferences from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. held at the Sheraton Mission Valley Hotel, 1433 Camino Del Rio South. The conference focuses on every aspect of the music business through in-depth lectures, expert panels and workshops.

“This is designed to be a really comprehensive professional-development event for bands so that they can come and talk with people in every field of the music industry, whether they be publicists, managers, people that own venues [or] work in radio, or former members of nationally touring bands who know the ropes and can help people be successful in such a hard industry,” Taylor said.

This year’s featured speakers include Kim Gordon, founder and lead singer of Sonic Youth, and Mike Herrera of MxPx. Both music legends are also scheduled to perform shows at night.

Kim Gordon (Courtesy San Diego Music Foundation)

Kim Gordon (Courtesy San Diego Music Foundation)

Badge-holders will get a chance to attend the interactive roundtable sessions with panelists and speakers “who represent the best and most innovative aspects of the music business,” organizers said. Daytime workshops also include mentoring sessions: from Tour Marketing and Songwriting, to How to Pitch Your Band.

There will also be a trade show, happy-hour parties, listening stations and “pop-up live performances” at the host hotel, “as well as a chance to meet and greet some of the top industry professionals and artists,” organizers said.

In addition to the conference, there will also be loads of live music each afternoon and evening, with performances by 150 bands spread across 16 stages throughout the entire city. Participants can buy a selection of one- or two-day badges, or tickets to individual shows by their favorite acts.

Show venues include usual stops like The Casbah, Bar Pink and Soda Bar, and this will be the first year for new venues including the Birch North Park Theatre, The Griffin and The Irenic. The Whistle Stop, The Void, U-31, Sunset Temple and Claire de Lune Coffee Lounge, Seven Grand, The Office, and Queen Bee’s Art & Cultural Center round out this year’s hosts. The Casbah opens the weekend on Sept. 12 with an official kick off party featuring New Politics.

“Anything that aims at ameliorating the local music scene is worth being a part of,” said Alfred Howard of The Heavy Guilt, a local band returning for their third consecutive year. The Heavy Guilt plays at The Griffin Friday, Sept. 13 at 11:20 a.m.

“It’s important for people to support the local music biz because without that support, it’s nearly impossible to make a name for yourself. We’ve always believed that it should be a priority to establish a solid local fan base before moving on to other goals as a band,” Howard said.

Mike Herrera (Courtesy San Diego Music Foundation)

Mike Herrera (Courtesy San Diego Music Foundation)

Co-produced by 91X, all proceeds will go toward funding the Foundation’s music-education programs that benefit 65 schools around San Diego County, organizers said.

“We always love performing in San Diego, and playing the San Diego Music Thing gives us the opportunity to play in front of strong local music supporters and loyal fans,” said Justen Berge, lead singer and guitarist for the Escondido, Calif.-based Dead Feather Moon, a blues and rock band.

Dead Feather Moon will be joining The Silent Comedy and Unwritten Law as part of the 91X Local Break Stage, an outdoor stage set up on the north side of University Avenue at Ohio Street. The stage area will be open from 5 – 9 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14.

Organizers suggest purchasing passes for the entire conference online, with tickets starting at $20. Ticket sales will be open at the Sheraton during conference hours each day. For tickets, the full music and seminar schedule, and event addresses, visit or call 619-381-8789.

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