MOTM presents Ascent Series
When Jimmy Hunt announced this year's Music on the Mountaintop
festival, he knew there would be interest.
Just how much interest? Something to the tune of 300 band applications, with demo albums to boot.
"I have a box of CDs, and I listened to every one, got through it two weeks ago," said Hunt, founder and organizer of Music on the Mountaintop, scheduled for Aug. 27-28.
"We were getting electronic stuff, some hip hop, stuff I don't particularly listen to on a regular basis, but it was really good. I think people are starting to see Boone as more of an eclectic music scene. We've got the bluegrass covered ... but I'd like to showcase some other stuff."
And showcase he will. He's whittled down the applicant pool to 40-plus bands, all slated to play over the festivals' course of two days.
"I'm sure there's 20 other bands that could play the festival that are just great, but we can't do it," he said.
But there's always next year, and eight of those bands are getting one leg up on the rest.On Thursday, Aug. 26, Music on the Mountaintop and 641rpm present the Ascent Series, featuring eight bands competing for a spot at next year's festival. And to up the ante, the audience gets to decide.
"The goal is to incorporate more bands, so we're featuring local bands playing with regional bands, and we're putting them at four different venues across downtown Boone," Hunt said. "And the best thing is it's absolutely free to the public."
Two bands will perform at each venue, and each venue will feature a Music on the Mountaintop representative with ballot box in tow. Audience members simply vote for which band they prefer.
"We want it to be somewhat of a bar crawl, just start off to hear that band, then at each venue, remember what band you liked most and just vote for them," Hunt said. "You could vote for all eight of them if you're overwhelmed."
The winning band receives a cash prize and a guaranteed slot at next year's festival. And there's more.
"We'll be selling tickets, giving away tickets, T-shirts, signed posters by the big festival artists and a bunch of really fun stuff," Hunt said. "It's going to be a really fun night. For me, it's great because we get to bring in another eight bands, some of which people know around here and some of which people haven't heard of, but they're all good."
Folks can decide for themselves Thursday, starting at 7 p.m. at Our Daily Bread (627 W. King St.), pitting The Major Sevens against Surprise Guest.
At 9:30 p.m., Galileo's Bar & Cafe (1087 W. King St.) hosts Red County Gospel vs. Swift Science. Meanwhile, Char (179 W. Howard St.) sees Strangelady compete with Blue Dragons.
At 11 p.m., Black Cat Burrito (127 S. Depot St.) closes out the competition with Blue Sunshine vs. Homework Mountain.
"This town needs something like this," Hunt said. "Music on the Mountaintop is not traditional, but we have a backbone of bluegrass, and this is a way for us to showcase some other really good music."
On Aug. 20, Music on the Mountaintop will also showcase some of the state's best spirits with its Wine and Beer Tasting.
Our Daily Bread hosts the event from 7 to 11 p.m., featuring beer from Foothills Brewery and wine from Redwood Creek, accompanied by live music from Do It To Julia and The Major Sevens.
Our Daily Bread supplies the food, while Music on the Mountaintop supplies the prizes, fresh from a slew of sponsors, including VIP and general admission festival tickets, four passes to Mystery Hill, backpacks from Osprey, shoes from Chaco, shoes from Merrell, Mountain Khakis, clothes from Royal Robbin, shirts and gift certificates from the Town Tavern, an organic skirt from Gladiola Girls, art from Hands Gallery, chairs from Crazy Creek, camping supplies from Granite Gear, a disc golf basket and discs from Play it Again Sports, lift tickets from Ski Beech, a one-night stay from Archers Inn and Jackalope's View, a mountain bike, gift certificates from Mellow Mushroom, a rafting trip from Wahoo's, free ski rental, lift ticket and lodging in Telluride, Colo., and more.
The cost is only $20 and an appetite.
"For 20 bucks, you're getting endless wine, beer and food, and the chance to win something," Hunt said. "We have unlimited gratitude for Sam Parker with Our Daily Bread, who's not only a sponsor, but a good friend and mentor."
Scheduled for Aug. 27-28 at the High Country Fairgrounds, with camping again available, this year's Music on the Mountaintop features the likes of Sam Bush, Keller Williams, Railroad Earth, Acoustic Syndicate, Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band, Toubab Krewe, Josh Phillips Folk Festival, Snake Oil Medicine Show, Holy Ghost Tent Revival, The Dirty Guv'nuhs, The Mumbles, Uncle Mountain, The Native Sway, Farm Vegas, BPL, The Moderate, Big Daddy Love and more.
For tickets and more information, visit http://www.musiconthemountaintop.com.