The past couple weeks have seen a whole lotta nail biting from local bands as they first were given notice of whether or not they were selected to play in this year's Next Big Nashville Festival, and second were informed of where in the festival they are slotted. Everywhere I've gone for the past few days, members of local bands have been either complaining or rejoicing at the news. Regardless, Nashville is talking.
Many in the local rock scene were surprised to hear of certain bands who were not selected, especially in the case of Murfreesboro mainstays Kindergarten Circus and Hammertorch. Both bands have released records this year. Both records are great. Kindergarten Circus played the festival in '07 and '08 and their self-titled debut was put out this year by Grand Palace Records--who have hosted showcases at NBN for the past two years. You'd think they'd be a shoo-in. Hammertorch have backed Caitlin Rose for more than a year--including her set at last year's NBN--and are some of Murfreesboro's best representatives. Singer Jason Yeary told the Scene that he is "disappointed" by the NBN panel's decision.
NBN co-founder Jason Moon Wilkins told the Scene that the Kindergarten Circus rejection was in fact an error and that measures are being taken to rectify the situation and ensure the band a slot in the festival. Wilkins went on to say that there were 600 applicants for 140-170 slots--compared to 237 slots in '08. He said that--as is the case in all factions of the music industry--it's been a tough year economically and that they've have had to "scale it back to survive...there are a lot people who are going to be left out who are very good."
He also said that, consequently, they will not be using some of the more peripheral venues they used last year, such as Limelight and Edgehill Studios. One venue that will again be in the mix is The 5 Spot. As was the case last year, bands selected to play the East Nashville haunt are showing a little trepidation over playing a venue that is so far off the beaten path from the Elliston Place and Cannery Row block parties that dominate much of the festival happenings. Wilkins claimed that there are a lot of "East-siders who don't like to cross the river," that last year's 5 Spot shows were all considered successful and that "to not include [the club] would be an insult to them."
Many of you who frequent this here blog are invested in this and we would like to hear what you have to say. Discuss.