Caravan of bands could showcase Augusta music

I'd love to claim all the ideas and interests detailed in this column as my own. They are not. Some I've heard bandied about for years. Some of it is pie-in-sky stuff impossible to execute, but other ideas are more modest and realistic. I am not claiming them as my own. I am just providing them a voice and forum.

The most recent champions of one such idea are Brian Allen and John "Stoney" Cannon, who wax both vulgar and poetic about local music on their Confederacy of Loudness podcast. They also rock a little, performing with 48Volt and G-City Rockers, respectively.

Their idea is a showcase, a caravan of bands that cherry-picks Augusta acts and offers out-of-town music fans an opportunity to indulge in a Garden City buffet.

They propose a sort of cultural exchange program. Bands from Athens and Augusta would form "super bills" featuring acts from both burgs. Athens acts would serve as bait in the Classic City, luring unaware UGA hipsters in and allowing Augusta rockers to spring their musical traps. Likewise, Augusta bands could prop up Athens acts here, helping win fans for their down-the-road brethren in local venues.

It sounds simple. It could also be an excellent foundation for grander schemes.

One I'm particularly fond of -- and I believe credit for this one goes to Night Person Matthew Buzzell -- is an all-Augusta showcase at the annual South by Southwest music festival, held each March in Austin, Texas.

The event, colloquially known as SXSW, plays host to thousands of bands, some playing officially sanctioned sets, others providing tangential entertainment around Austin. Since there is so much music happening, seemingly on each and every corner, it is tough for bands to get noticed. Enter Augusta musicians, riding hard on the back of James Brown's legendary status and loaded with ample amps of rock.

Sweet, right?

Both ideas as they stand are far from perfect and unready for execution. They both require time, effort and, if we're travelling to Texas, a bankroll. Still, every great idea starts with a seed, and hopefully we can consider these two planted.

JINGLE BELLS ROCK 

It looks like rumors of 12 Bands of Christmas' demise might have been premature. Though there was no concert in 2009 and the Best-of CD felt like a placeholder, the Yule tradition is back on track and expanding to include Athens.

Joe Stevenson (who catches considerable air on this week's cover) has been busy revamping the 12 Bands charity, making it a year-round endeavor and focusing on pediatric cancer causes. He's assembling an all-star cabinet of cohorts to help him prepare the 12 Bands Christmas presents.

In Athens, experienced promoter and music man Troy Aubrey is gathering acts willing to toss some tinsel, and in Augusta, the 12 Bands of Christmas reins are being handed to Cannon.

The original 12 Bands concerts, staged close to a decade ago, were produced by Cannon. As the event grew, he shifted focus to other projects.

For bands interested in submitting a Christmas song, the deadline is May 15. Send to 12 Bands P.O. Box 12623, Augusta GA 30914. Learn more by writing info@lokalloudness.com or call (706) 836-5683.

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