This weekend, a group of local music lovers will shut themselves in an Asheville hotel suite and spend three days listening to some 600 musical submissions for the 2011 Bele Chere Festival. The ritual takes place every year at the end of February and results in the entertainment lineup for the festival, held this year July 29-31.
Three groups will begin their day at 9 a.m., listening to three excerpts from each and every submission, scoring each and winding out the weekend with the list that will result in 37 musical slots on the festival's four stages.
The three groups correspond with categories made up of musical sub genres: One focusses on styles like rock, americana and jam bands, another on blues, jazz, reggae and hip-hop, and still another for country, bluegrass and singer-songwriter.
“You have to commit to listening to everything that is in your category. It can make for an intense weekend,” says Cristin Corder Lee, Event Specialist with the Asheville Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts Department. The committees are provided snacks and meals and take occasional breaks, but otherwise they spend those hours listening to song submissions and reading band bios.
The process actually got rolling in December, when the call went out for musical submissions. Musical acts have the option of submitting online or mailing in CDs and information packets. This year, the submission deadline was extended to Feb. 18 to ensure the best selection possible.
The selection committee itself is also the result of an application process. Members are picked after a call for applications, and are typically selected based on their knowledge or enthusiasm for music.
“We've had people who have been involved in music production, in promotion, some who have been in bands or who write about music for local publications,” says Steve Busey, who has chaired Bele Chere Entertainment Committee for several years and now serves as the festivals' chair.Read the full article