Photos by Kara Parker
In the week following the New York based event, I've often found myself asking the same question over and over: why can't all festivals be more like New Music Seminar? Like so many others, it has a large number of artists performing (150+ actually), it takes place in a musically 'hip' city, and it aims at promoting new music for fans to enjoy. What sets the New Music Seminar apart from all the rest is its involvement and engagement with not only the city, but the bands that perform on the numerous stages available.
With the goal of helping new artists navigate an industry without compromising their artistic goals and visions, New Music Seminar embodies what many music fans and artists would like the music world to become. From the opening night, it was clear that this was not your average music festival. "This festival really captures a wide variety of genres, thats something really special," says Black Cobain, a promoted Artist On The Verge. "Music captures emotions for an audience, that should be the only things that matters."
The Fiery Sensations before their performance at Webster Hall
As the night rolled on, it was clear that this festival focused on variety. During the performance artists group The Fiery Sensations, whos pyrotechnic show gave their name a very literal meaning, it was clear that this festival was something special. The Sensations mixed techno house beats, with classical opera vocals and chants, and performed them under black lights, in neon leotards while spinning fire in the air. It was easily the most unforgettable show I may ever see.
The Fiery Sensations on stage. Webster Hall, New York City
Day two for the festival brought light to their true goal: new artists. In a small bar in Brooklyn, the Seminar promoted The Nico Blues, a small band of New Jersey natives trying to get noticed. Their melody driven guitar tracks made them a surprisingly enjoyable show to watch. "It's really great to be featured in a festival that features new artists," says vocalist Eric Gouldberg. "It's always nice to get recognized." Organized with two sets of brother's and a college buddy, The Nico Blues is the type of band that deserves recognition. Their melodies are smooth but heavy hitting driving a connection with the audience that's impressive for a band in such an early stage of their career. "We just try to keep our sound open, a lot of what we do is influenced by who we have listened to growing up, but a lot of it relies on who we're listening to now. We don't want our sound to stay too static." So far the group only have a EP released but they show tremendous potential.
The Nico Blues at Cameo Bar in Brooklyn, NY
The show was in Brooklyn's Cameo, a venue whose neon chandelier hovers above the stage creating a very cool atmosphere to watch new artists. One of the best features of the seminar is its incorporation of New York City, often lauded as the greatest city on earth. Although Webster Hall served as the main stage, many others featured artists throughout the festivals four day span. Tammany Hall was home to the emusics celebration of the festival. The night featured three bands, with Anamanaguchi as a headliner. Anamanaguchi signed with eMusic last year and represents the festival and the company well. It was nice to be surrounded by industry reps who were so obviously eager to talk to fans about music and the vision they have for the future of the industry.
As a music fan, it's reassuring to know that there are people on your side. You hear so much about the changing industry and its pure focus on profits. Ten minutes listening to any top 40 radio station will tell you artistic integrity is becoming a thing of the past, but four days spent at The New Music Seminar will make you a believer forever. Musical integrity will never fade, and there are plenty of people making sure that wont happen. Make sure to meet them at next years New Music Seminar, you'll be glad you did.