NAMM Sponsors Teen Talent At SXSW 'Underage Day Party'

Event One of Many Supported by NAMM to Encourage Teens to Play Music

March 13, 2009

NAMM, the trade association of the international music products industry, is helping to raise awareness about the need for mentorship and support of up-and-coming young musicians by supporting the official South by Southwest “2009 Underage Day Party” at Momo’s Club.

The event takes place Friday, March 20, 2009, from noon to 6 p.m., and was created to highlight talented musicians under age 21 and raise awareness about the need for mentorship, increased opportunities and overall support of young musicians by the entertainment industry.

The show will feature 16 bands from across the U.S. whose members are all under age 21—most being under age 18. The bands’ styles range from hip-hop and rock to indie, pop, electronica and blues. The event is open to all people with SXSW badges and wristbands. Additional organizations supporting the event include Deborah Gibson’s Electric Youth, Blastbeat, SchoolJam Texas, Rock Camp USA, Next Up! and The Kids Are Alright Fest.

“There really is some tremendous talent among younger musicians,” said Morgan Ringwald, director of market development at NAMM. “Musicians under age 21 don’t always have a forum to display their talent and enthusiasm for playing music. It’s important to foster this creative outlet and appreciate the music these bands play from their hearts.”

The bands chosen to play were selected based on talent, live performance skills and passion for music. Following is a schedule of featured bands:

12:00  Avenging Poor Yorick with Jenny Wolfe            
12:20  AfterMath
12:40  Anarchy On Mars                                                                                              
1:00    Chief Rival                                                                                      
1:20    The El Guapos
1:40    Team Next
2:00    The O' My's
2:20    Edison Chair
2:40    Blankberry
3:00    The Carson Brock Group
3:20    The Daze
3:40    You and Me                                                                                                   
4:00    Casey Lee Smith                                                                 
4:20    Blues Mafia
4:40    The Diving Captain                                                                                  
5:05    Fireants

Participating in this first-ever effort for SXSW is 80s pop queen Deborah “Debbie” Gibson, whose performing arts camp, “Deborah Gibson’s Electric Youth,” cultivates young talent.

“As a teen starting out in the recording business, I had an uphill battle,” said Gibson. “It is so amazing that industry is turning a corner and accepting young artists. In mentoring young musicians through my camps, it is more evident than ever that young people hold the key to the future of music and have a sixth sense for what is relevant.”

According to NAMM-sponsored research, teens see music as their “social glue” and as a bridge for building acceptance and tolerance for people of different ages and cultural backgrounds. Studies also show that teenagers look at music as an opportunity in school for engagement as performers, composers and intelligent listeners—activities and qualities that appear to be deeply meaningful to them.

NAMM also recently hosted its second SchoolJam Texas event in Austin, where some of the best teen bands in Texas were encouraged to play in front of live audiences, and compete for prizes of musical instruments for themselves and their designated school music programs. The event resulted in six finalists who were recognized for their outstanding talent in February.