The City of Madison and the Madison Arts Commission Get Behind Local Music

Features 16 Sep 2014

Bandswap2013-Logo-Medium.png.51e711801b4dc-350x151The City of Madison and the Madison Arts Commission Get Behind Local Music


It’s easy to travel around the city of Madison, especially during the summer months, and take notice of all the music events that go on, seemingly every weekend. So many good opportunities for local musicians you may think. Well, the fact of the matter is lots of those performances are low-pay or no-pay for local musicians and they are apt to make many times more money playing the small-town fair than they are the prestigious Madison event.

True, they are seen by thousands on the Square but what does that translate to? Are all those attendees at Taste of Madison suddenly going to start showing up at local music events in clubs? Are they rushing over to the stage area to get their hands on a CD or other merch? Some, maybe.

Well, all that started to change a couple of years ago when the Mayor rolled out his initiative to strengthen Madison’s music scene. That event has been talked about enough but a really good thing happened in 2013 when Karin Wolf and the Madison Arts Commission got an offer from the folks in Ft. Collins, Colorado to participate in a program called BandSwap. BandSwap is an effort of the SpokesBuzz organization to build community between like cities which they handpicked. It is an effort to network musicians with Ft. Collins and is a strong effort for their Ft. Collins bands to network with the several other cities chosen. Last year’s Madison representative was Sexy Ester.

This is the second year the City of Madison will participate in BandSwap and this year the Madison Arts Commission has expanded opportunities for local bands to benefit from this collaborative, nationwide effort that highlights and promotes the music scenes of the following cities: Lafayette LA, Madison WI, Chico CA, Nashville TN, Portland OR, Athens GA, Charleston SC, Fort Collins CO and Denver CO.

BandSwap will take place this Saturday, September 20th at the top of State Street (rain location is the Frequency at 121 W. Main Street).


Stella Luce will represent Ft Collins

Stella Luce will represent Ft Collins

Not only did the city pony up the money to send a representative band (Lords of the Trident) to Ft. Collins in October, they authorized additional funds to expand the portion of the event taking place here in Madison. Stella Luce will visit from Ft. Collins this Saturday and the day is jam-packed with events and opportunities. Wolf and MAC Chair Chris Taylor from MMI are to be congratulated for making all of this happen and the city is to be LOUDLY applauded for actually strengthening Madison’s music scene.

Five bands were chosen from entries submitted. One, Lords of the Trident, was chosen as the winner and will travel to Colorado. The other four bands (The Wells Division, Sam Lyons, I Saw the Creature and Mojo Radio) will play an afternoon event that serves as a CD-release party. Taylor not only got funding to produce 1,000 CDs for all five bands, they also got a video produced courtesy of Madison Media Institute, where Taylor serves as a Dean.

The Madison Area Music Association will also have a hand in the proceedings. The organization will kick off its 2015 artist registration for the 12th Annual Madison Area Music Awards. One band from the four afternoon performers will be chosen to play at the MAMA Awards on July 12, 2015.

Local Sounds is co-sponsoring the evening event at the Frequency by covering all of the room costs.

Below is the schedule of events from the Arts Commission:


SynchroniCITY Networking Party for local musicians and industry innovators

11:00am – 1:00pm

Madison Public Library — 201 W Mifflin St

The day will begin with a SynchroniCITY Networking Party designed to enhance creative connections and provide music industry insight for bands.  The SynchroniCITY Party will feature a panel discussion about “The Intersection of Music, Innovation, and Technology.” The panel, moderated by Guy Hankel (Yahara Music Library), will feature Preston Austin (Murphie), Beth Kille (Girls & Ladies Rock Camp, Madison Chick Singer Night, Exec Prod MAMA Awards Show, producer/audio engineer), Ankur Malhotra (Amarrass Records, musicologist), and Mike Bailey(Program Chair Entertainment and Media Business Program MMI).

Following the panel discussion there will be the opportunity for musicians, bookers, managers, agents, promoters, photographers, writers, recording engineers, radio, music education, graphic design, production and more to exchange business cards, dreams and ideas while eating delicious snacks provided by Underground Catering.





CD Release Party

1:00pm – 5:00pm

100 Block of State Street (rain location The Frequency 121 W Main St)

1PM the Wells Division

2PM I Saw the Creature

3PM Sam Lyons

4PM Mojo Radio

One of these bands will be chosen to play at the 12th Annual Madison Area Music Awards on July 12, 2015. All eligible artists can register for the 2015 MAMA Awards at this event.

All Ages. Free and open to the public.


BandSwap Showcase


The Frequency — 121 W Main St.

9PM Sexy Ester (last year’s BandSwap winner)

10PM Stella Luce (Fort Collins)

11PM Lords of the Trident (2014 Madison BandSwap Winner)

21 & Up. $5 Cover.

BandSwap events are sponsored by SpokesBuzz Fort Collins, Madison Area Music Awards, Madison Media Institute, Local Sounds, Illegal Petes, Yahara Music Library, New Belgium Brewing, and the Madison Arts Commission

For any questions, please contact Karin Wolf, the Arts Program Administrator, at



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About the author

Rick Tvedt

Rick is publisher of Local Sounds Magazine, formerly Rick's Cafe, Wisconsin's Regional Music Newspaper. He is also the Executive Director for MAMA, Inc., a non-profit organization that produces the Madison Area Music Awards and raises funds to promote youth music programs.

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