Thursday and Friday’s daytime hours at the Ocean Beach Playhouse will be filled with a musician’s boot camp, offering advice on everything from music licensing to recording techniques, with mentors on-hand who include former Guns & Roses manager Vicky Hamilton, president of Metal Blade records Mike Faley, and Ruth McCartney, step-sister of Sir Paul, who runs fan management company, Ifanz.com.
Nighttime will feature unplugged showcase concerts. The third day sees a “Band & Brew Crawl,” from 1 to 11 p.m., with 40 performers taking the stage at three additional venues across Ocean Beach: Winston’s, The Harp, and Mother’s Saloon.
Tickets are $10 per day, with attendees of the band crawl also receiving a bonus card to have checked off at each performance they attend. Prizes will be given at the end of the night to those who have seen the most artists.
All proceeds raised by the concerts will be donated to local nonprofit partners: Sustainable Artists, The Autism Tree Project Foundation and The Pioneer Foundation.
“Springboard West is designed to get artists to the next level, so we hope that everyone comes away with something that raises their profile,” explained the event’s founder Barry Coffing. The Los Angeles-based founder of licensing company, MusicSupervisor.com, he runs a similar event in Houston. “We call it the ‘Springboard effect’ and it includes everything from song placements in films to finding managers, labels, and producers.”
The event took place previously in 2017 at the Music Box in Little Italy, greatly expanding its footprint for this year’s edition. “This is our second year in San Diego and we chose it because it's a great city that is warm, exciting and close to a major music market that happens to be the second-largest city in the U.S.,” Coffing said. “Meanwhile, Ocean Beach is a great beach community that is used to working together.
“All of the clubs donated their locations so that we could try to build a great event and help independent musicians at a time when very little is being done for them,” Coffing said. He notes another more pragmatic reason for choosing San Diego for this conference. “It is close enough to Los Angeles for music industry heavyweights to drive here, but far enough away that they need to spend the night to see all the evening showcases.”
More than 800 artists from around the world submitted an entry for one of the show’s 40 spots. “We selected them based on a mixture of talent, professionalism, social media exposure and branding,” Coffing said. “We do not favor any musical genre, so we just look for the most-talented and driven artists.”
Performers chosen come from throughout the U.S. and Europe, with four spots reserved for locals, including OB natives, Lads Holiday, which includes Cody Seeger (lead guitar), Liam Wilkes (rhythm guitar), John Martinez (drums) and Skyler Lutes (bass), the latter an acclaimed singer-songwriter and producer in his own right.
Seeger has clear goals for his band and sees Springboard West as a major tool in his quest for success. “We hope to gain exposure, knowledge and connections,” he said. “We are also hoping to land a manager and ultimately sign to a label. We feel this event is a great platform to network and get our name or brand out there. We are very grateful for this opportunity and are stoked to see what will come of this.”
He notes the advantage of having so many peers in one place. “This event is huge for us. As an independent band looking for that big break, this event could be it. With approximately 30 mentors and industry professionals attending the event, it is an amazing opportunity to network and learn. The exposure and networking alone will set us up to have an outstanding 2018.”
While the band look forward to attending the various seminars, they are most excited about playing their showcase gig, time and venue tbd at press time. “Our favorite part is playing live and creating art that people can relate to,” Seeger said. “Music is our passion and something that we try to use to bring people together. Nothing beats a great live performance.”
For his part, Coffing is happy to be able to help artists in their careers. He is looking forward to this year’s event, but already has his eye set on the future. “We would really like to make Springboard West an annual event in the U.S.,” he said.
For more information, visit springboardwest.com.