The band Belladon, which will be at Springboard West, was nominated for a San Diego music award for best new artist.
While it’s true that the main part of a musician’s life is playing music, there is much more to making a career in the field. From bookings to PR, management to copyrights, there is a lot for the up and coming performer to wade through. Luckily for San Diego, there is an annual event that can help, Springboard West in Ocean Beach.
Headquartered at the OB Playhouse, the fourth annual music conference takes place from Jan. 9-11, shining a spotlight on all aspects of the music biz. Attendees will find seminars and workshops during the day with industry and plenty of live music at night. The event is open to the public with all proceeds from Springboard West benefiting several nonprofits, including The San Diego Music Foundation, The Autism Tree Project Foundation, and Pioneer Programs.
Organizer Barry Coffing has put together a schedule of panels to help artists at every level. While he feels all the panels are important, he points to one particular aspect he considers important. “I think there is incredible value in that artists learn from people in the industry, current info on the do’s and don’ts,” he said. “It’s ridiculous how fast things can change these days. It’s much better to interact with industry pros that work on these subjects on a daily basis than reading a book that’s five years old.”
While the daytime panels are sure to be informative, for many the event’s highlight promises to be the Band & Brew Crawl on Jan. 11. Taking place after the day's schedule, 40 bands from around the country will perform at four Ocean Beach venues, including Winston’s, The Holding Company, The Harp and the OB Brewery. Although most acts will be new to the area, a number of locally-based artists are featured, including Cheyenne Benton, Golda, The Frets, MDRN HSTRY, Aviator Stash, Digital Lizards of Doom/ Gallie Fisher, Belladon and Daniel Jay Woods.
“More than 3,000 artists sign up each year and we pick 40 to take part, so you know that these are performers who are a cut above,” Coffing said.
Coffing considers Ocean Beach to be the perfect location for this event. “It’s just a great area in general, but I especially love that all of the venues are only 100 yards apart,” he remarked. “This makes it easy to get between the clubs to see the different artists or go straight from a seminar to a live show.”
Performers will play 30-minute sets of all original music, with 15 minutes between band breaks. “We have it set up so that if someone wanted to, it would be possible to catch two or three songs from every artist on the bill,” Coffing said.
“We think Springboard is important for bands because you hear so many different things on how to get your band off the ground and this event lets you talk directly to professionals who have been lived and worked in the industry,” said Greg Kellogg guitarist/vocalist for Aviator Stash. “There are so many things to learn about the music industry that can only be taught by people who have experienced it in their actual life.”
Cody Seeger, guitarist for The Frets agrees. “We feel an event like this helps young musicians learn the ins and outs of the industry; what’s new, what to avoid etc. In addition to that, the networking with fellow artists and industry professionals is amazing.”
Plans are already underway for the next edition of Springboard West. “2020 will be big in that we are hoping to host three Springboard’s across the country,” Coffing said. “And we will definitely be back in San Diego in 2021. There are so many great bands out there that we can help.”
He sees the event’s creation as a way to give back. “Very much so, from me to the next generation,” Coffing said good-naturedly. “I have two kids that it looks like are going into music. Not everyone has a dad who can help them navigate the music biz, but through Springboard West we can impart that sort of information to many new artists.”
When: Jan. 9-11.
Where: Ocean Beach Playhouse, 4944 Newport Ave.