Archive for October, 2015

Santa Cruz Music Festival 2015

October 10, 2015

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I am honored to have asked to participate on the music panel for Santa Cruz Speaks 2015, part of the 3rd annual Santa Cruz Music Festival. I’ll be talking about some untapped resources for musicians based on this top 5 list.

Grants – a.k.a. – free money. A lot of musicians think “arts” grants are limited to the fine arts like painting, sculpture, etc. but there is a significant amount of grant money available to all artists, including musicians. If you have the motivation to apply, locally, check out the Arts Council Santa Cruz County, specifically their site for Grant Seekers. Musicians should check out the Develop Grants – for individual artists and arts organizations seeking support for their professional and business development activities. Guidelines here. Applications are accepted in Fall and Spring. The program is open to all Santa Cruz County artists. Example proposals: A pianist taking a technique class to help recover her playing ability after an injury, A visual artist creating a website to promote his work, An installation artist creating a Kickstarter video to fund their next project. Locally, also check out the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County.

Nationally there are also grants that revolve around music. Check out the California Arts Counsel Artist Calls. Music focused grant sites include:

New Music USA provides over $1 million each year in grant support for the creation and performance of new work and community building throughout the country. Lists current funding, as well as past awardees. Includes knowledge base.

Musical Online | Funding Resources features a compilation of funding resources including foundations and associations, grants, scholarships, and organizations.

Community – There is a lot of art in Santa Cruz and a good deal of infrastructure built in to support it, but somehow musicians don’t always “join” and can miss out on natural opportunities that arise from being part of a group of like minded individuals. Some examples include:

Arts Council Associates – Arts Council Associates are a group of local artists and representatives of nonprofit arts and cultural organizations interested in mutual support, collaboration, and the promotion of arts events and programs. We meet every other month to chat, network, and catch-up, but also to share our challenges and triumphs, and figure out where partnerships can strengthen our community.They also co-produce the Gail Rich Awards each January, which celebrates local creatives and philanthropists who enrich our artistic community. Due are only $35 year.

Event Santa Cruz – Event Santa Cruz is a monthly happening that showcases thriving local businesses, and the people behind them. Our events provide valuable (and fun!) networking opportunities, delicious bites and drinks from local vendors, and live shows by talented local musicians. If you’re interested in volunteering or speaking at our next event, or if you’d like to showcase your artistic or culinary talents for the Santa Cruz community, please contact Matthew Swinnerton at We’d love to have you at our next event!

Balanced Breakfast San JoseBalanced Breakfast is a music industry meet up, the local chapter to Santa Cruz is San Jose (currently over 900 members) – a group of Bay Area music industry professionals that meet every week to create community in our the music industry. Our topics change, but often relate to actions we can employ that will help the scene become a place where musicians & industry professionals can make money doing what they love. (Music). Next mtg. Sat. Oct. 17 from 10 a.m. – Noon – Rockbar.

People will to help you: We have many talented local music writers willing to help the community. One is Cat Johnson who recently did a free workshop at SCRS on how to to write a band bio. Notes on that workshop will be up soon. Cat Johnson is a freelance writer focused on community, the commons, and music. She’s a regular contributor to Shareable and Good Times and has been writing about music since 2010. Publications include Yes! Magazine, Launchable Mag, Utne Reader, LifeHacker, Mother Jones, Mother Earth News, and Triple Pundit. She writes about freelance writing and blogging at The Freelance Cat. Follow her on Twitter: @CatJohnson

She is also building a Get Press For Your Band mini course, sign up here and she will be in touch.

Other cool ways to make money and get the word out locally include:

The Downtown Busker Fest – an ongoing series, on the 1st Saturday of each month in outdoor locations in Downtown Santa Cruz. The Downtown Association will promote the events and the individual performers, will provide access to posters and flyers for performers, and will arrange with the City of Santa Cruz for permits. Performers will receive a small stipend for their participation. Performers can accept gratuities during their performance time.

SoundSwell – a streaming database of Santa Cruz local music that library cardholders can download for free. It was created through a partnership between the Santa Cruz Public Libraries and the Santa Cruz Rehearsal Studios and is growing to become a comprehensive discovery tool for finding local music as well as a robust historical archive of the local music scene in Santa Cruz County. Under the licensing agreement, the library will pay you for a 2 year non-exclusive license as follows: $100 for a full length LP consisting of 9 or more songs, $75 for an EP consisting of 6-8 songs, and $50 for an EP consisting of 4-5 songs. During the term of the license, only those users with a valid library card will be able to download licensed songs. If you meet the criteria and wish to submit your work, please review, fill out, and sign a license agreement form. If you have any questions or concerns or would like to meet in person to go over any aspect of the agreement prior to signing please email Project Manager Diane Cowen at or call Library Administration at 831-427-7706.