Get ready to rock at this year’s Florida Scallop and Music Festival.
In addition to the vendors, the games, the attractions and of course, the scallops, the biggest draw of the festival is the music. In an effort to turn this year’s event up to 11, coordinators are hosting an online battle of the bands that will culminate in four finalists performing live on the opening night of the 18th annual festival, which runs Sept. 12-14.
At last year’s festival, 11 bands took the stage at George Core Park and entertained an audience of 2,500 over three nights.
“We want to bring in talent from outside of the area,” said Rick Ott, a coordinator of the battle of the bands. “We want to expose outside musicians to the area, and the area to outside musicians.
“It’s a win-win situation.”
Bands and singers from across the U.S. can submit their music online for consideration at www.scallopfest.com.
The entry fee is $5 and artists have until Tuesday, July 15 to submit their tunes and a bio.
Once submissions close, the Scallop Fest committee will begin the task of listening to groups and narrowing them down to the final four. At the festival, guest judges, including Nashville songwriters Charlie and Dana Black, will select a winner who will take home $1,000 and be invited back for the 2015 event to open for the national headliner.
“If you sing, we’ll listen to it,” said Chamber president and event organizer Paula Pickett. “We want to hear something new.”
To encourage music acts from other markets to submit to the battle of the bands, the committee will reimburse a percentage of travel expenses for finalists.
“Most battle of the bands expect bands to be responsible for everything, including travel and lodging, and that’s not always realistic now with higher gas prices,” said Ott. “What we’re doing, offering some reimbursement, is a very positive thing.”
The contest will provide big exposure for the finalists, giving them the opportunity to have their music heard by thousands of festival attendees and an opportunity to sell merchandise. The following year, they’ll add opening for a national act to their credentials.
“Port St. Joe and Gulf County has a thriving music scene,” said Pickett. “The quality of music we have is impressive and we’d love to showcase new talent to the area.”
This year, multi-platinum country artist Joe Diffie will take center stage for the festival. Diffie had a hot streak in the 90s with 12 No. 1 hits.