Maplewoodstock Band Submission FAQ

Last updated by on Feb 18, 2018

Intro:

Sorry, bands, if this is a long-winded FAQ, but we get so many inquiries each year from bands aspiring to perform at the Maplewoodstock Music & Arts Festival that we thought an FAQ would be the most-efficient way to respond to those inquiries.

Aspiring bands often message the Maplewoodstock Committee (via maplewoodstock@gmail.com) or, less-often, an individual Maplewoodstock Committee Member.  If the response to your inquiry is to refer you to this FAQ, then please read it carefully.

And, if this FAQ does not answer your question, please feel free to message us again for clarity.

Background:

The Maplewoodstock Music & Arts Festival started in 2004 as a grassroots effort to provide a platform for local bands to entertain people from the sibling towns of Maplewood and South Orange.  Over the years, the festival has grown to include regional and national headline acts, arts vendors, food vendors, Kid Zone, Beer Garden, and more.

This growth has been consistent with our core mission to provide the best free, two-day festival of music and arts -- for and of the community -- that we can.

The phrase “for and off the community” is important;  it means (at core) the bands, arts vendors, food vendors, etc. are local.  And, yes, we have expanded that definition to include participants from communities like Montclair, Summit, and Brooklyn -- as well as headliners from Jamaica to East LA.

“Free to ask” posture:

The Maplewoodstock Committee member who answers the official maplewoodstock@gmail.com email account and runs the Band Application Process is purposefully not a member of the Band Selection Sub-Committee.

This member’s feedback to you -- about your compliance to the band application process, or your questions about your viability to be chosen to perform -- will not be passed along to the Band Selection Sub-Committee (and thus not factored into their decision about your selection for our festival).

The festival program:

Our festival is two days long:

  1. Saturday:  9-10 “local/regional” bands with 30 minute-sets starting at noon; followed by 1-2 Headline Bands (national acts or up-and-comers), ending at 10:30 PM.

  2. Sunday:  8-10 “local/regional” bands with 30 minute-sets starting at noon; followed by 1-2 Headline Bands (national acts or up-and-comers), ending at 9:30 PM.

Headline or Featured bands:

The 2-4 Headline or Featured bands we choose to end our festival with on Saturday and Sunday night are hand-selected by the Maplewoodstock Committee.  We sign a contract with these bands and pay them accordingly.  In the past, we have hired professional bands like The Wailers, The Smithereens, Marshall Crenshaw, Nora Jones’s band, Nicolle Atkins, NRBQ, Robert Randolph, etc.

We generally do not take inquiries from band seeking to be paid headline/featured bands.  We typically curate our own wishlist of headline/featured bands and engage with reputable band management companies to book the bands we want to present to our Maplewoodstock audience.

 

Bands:  if you want to be a paid, have your management company reach out to us.

Local/regional bands:

The other 17-20 “local/regional” bands we choose to play our festival are selected through an online application process via the maplewoodstock.com website.  This Band Application process runs yearly from late Jan/early Feb until mid/late March.  All details are announced on on maplewoodstock.com and facebook.com/maplewoodstock.com websites.  We do not send reminders.  If you are interested, see your own reminder to check our sites during that window.

Local/regional bands who apply online are required to pay a $25 application fee to offset our costs.  Those bands who apply and play our festival will get a nominal $150 payment.

Bands:

If you contact us looking to be a headliner, we are likely to dismiss your inquiries.  Why?

We repeat from above:

The 2-4 Headline or Featured bands we choose to end our festival with on Saturday and Sunday night are hand-selected by the Maplewoodstock Committee.  We sign a contract with these bands and pay them accordingly.  In the past, we have hired professional bands like The Wailers, The Smithereens, Marshall Crenshaw, Nora Jones’s band, Nicolle Atkins, NRBQ, Robert Randolph, etc.

We generally do not take inquiries from band seeking to be paid headline/featured bands.  We typically curate our own wishlist of headline/featured bands and engage with reputable band management companies to book the bands we want to present to our Maplewoodstock audience.

Bands:  if you want to be a paid, have your management company reach out to us.

Local/Regional bands:

Here is your FAQ:

  1. You do not have to be from Maplewood.  Most bands are from Maplewood, South Orange, Summit, Montclair, etc.  But, we have taken bands from Brooklyn, Asbury Park, and other places.  However, we are quite unlikely to select a band from Florida for at $150 gig -- or a band promising to fly in from Nebraska for a $150 gig.  If you are NYC-based, but have a band member here in the Maplewood vicinity, that counts for something.  Again:  our mission statement is to provide a festival of music and arts -- for and of the community.

  2. You do not have to play original music.  In fact, most of the bands who perform play covers.  Of our 22 slots, the 4 Headline bands play their originals.  So, that leaves 18 bands who play mostly covers.  Sure, several bands will throw 1-2 originals into their 8-song set.  And, 1-2 bands might hew towards a set that is 7 originals and 2 covers.  But, by-and-large, the local bands are cover bands.  Nonetheless, the Music Selection Committee has a neutral posture on originals vs. covers.  We just want to curate the best all-around music “for and of the community” that we can.

  3. We do not pre-pick bands in the application process.  Nor do we give a “nod and a wink” to bands.  The Music Selection Committee only begins reviewing band applications once the application process has closed and all band applications have been processed (which is late April each year).

  4. We might ask 1-3 bands to be on a “Wait List” as we confirm the availability of the bands who were selected.  We don’t make this list public, and it is pretty rare when a band selected to play needs to bow out -- thus triggering a Wait List band into the lineup.  But, it has occasionally happened.

  5. Maplewoodstock programs the festival with an eye towards a flowing weekend of music.  Bands may indicate a preference (based on band member availability) for a Saturday or Sunday, but the Maplewoodstock Committee cannot guarantee that we can offer you that choice.

  6. We have no specific prohibition against a band member being in multiple bands.  We don’t penalize a local drummer (for example) who plays in two bands with otherwise differing lineups.  Nor, do we penalize a sax player or guest keyboardist from one band who “sits in with” another band.  However, it has to pass the “sniff test.”  If we suspect that 4-5 musicians are the core of a band, bringing in a singer or adding 1-2 new members, and applying under a different band name, we are likely to take note and make our selections accordingly.  Or if a singer/songwriter puts together two different backing bands and applies under two different band names, we are likely to select neither band or (perhaps) reach out to encourage the performer to "pick one."

  1. We have no specific genre of music we prefer or prohibit.  We all love good music.

    We have generally tended towards rock, blues, reggae, R&B, funk, and World Music -- because that’s the style of bands who have applied to our festival over the years.  On the other hand, we’ve programmed Big Bands, Pop-Lite dance bands, acapella bands, Taikio drumming, and more.

    We would love to expand our musical programming to include a more diverse lineup of contemporary music styles.  If you can bring a great sound that will ring across our park amphitheater and engage our musically-hungry audience -- please apply and bring it!

    We are not a folk-fest, jazz-fest, or blues-fest.  We are Maplewoodstock -- a music fest.  Our mission statement is to provide a festival of music and arts -- for and of the community.

  2. Lastly, do your research.  If you have been to our festival in prior years, you know what we offer and how we are trying to run this festival.

    And, if you have not been to our festival, then -- please -- take 20 minutes to read this FAQ and look at our website to get a feeling for our festival, and then check out our photos and videos to see the size, feel, touch, and reach of the festival we put on.

    Maplewoodstock.com
    YouTube.com/maplewoodstock
    Flickr.com/maplewoodstock

    We are proud of our festival, and we have a budget.  We don’t want to waste your time; we don’t want you to waste our time, either.

    Although we are a nine-member volunteer organization, we run a top-notch festival, and we are open to “all reasonable offers” from aspiring bands -- within the framework we’ve laid out in this document.



 












































































































Questions? Email: maplewoodstock@gmail.com or post to our Facebook Page