Coming November 13-15 is the first YouBloom Festival in Los Angeles, or YouBloom@LA! The festival consists of a music conference at The Ebell Club in Highland Park, featuring industry experts and veterans, as well as concerts at the following venues: La Cuevita in Highland Park, Café Nela in Cypress Park, Griffins of Kinsale in South Pasadena, and the Old Towne Pub in Pasadena. Check out the line-up so far, which includes the recently Beat-reviewed L.A. band The Vigils.
Amazingly, the concerts are free, and the music conference tickets are only $25 or $15 for students under 21. The conference takes place on the Saturday November 15th, with speakers that include A&R legend Nigel Grainge (Sinead O’Connor, Thin Lizzy, Boomtown Rats, Waterboys), Vince Bannon (Getty Images), Mike Bone (President of Chrysalis, Island, Mercury Records), Tom Sturges (President of Chrysalis Music, Head of Creative for Universal Music publishing), Craig Hyman, Adam Moseley and more.
YouBloom, founded by musician/doctor Phil Harrington, is an international collective with the motto, “Connect, Learn, Play”, that focuses on helping independent artists and bands. Perhaps most interestingly, the festivals involve an “Adopt a Band” program, in which local bands host visiting artists from overseas.
(Interview with Phil Harrington after the jump)
The project started out as the online YouBloom Music Awards in 2010, which included high profile judges and fan voting. A live program was then launched in UK, Ireland and Argentina, with an A&R team that includes Lindsay Reade (Factory Records, Joy Division, New Order, Stone Roses), and UK Producer Rupert Hine (Tina Turner, Howard Jones, Stevie Nicks, Bob Geldof).
I got the chance to ask Phil Harrington some questions about YouBloom:
Is there still time for artists to apply to play YouBloom@LA?
Applications to play closed July 25th, we received over 4,000 applications from around the world. We are currently recruiting what we call “Host” bands, known LA bands who curate and play at the beginning and end of an evening of youbloom@LA. Applications to play at youbloom@Dublin will open in December, to stay up to date on this best to sign up to the youbloom newsletter www.youbloomla.com.
What do the A&R team look for in the bands they choose for YouBloom?
They look for originality, authenticity, professionalism, good marketing and presence.
How did the YouBloom Music Awards (which led to the festival) get its start? How did Bob Geldoff get involved?
The youbloom Music Awards began in 2010 with artists from around the world submitting their songs throughout the year and with quarterly judging and the finals in the last quarter of the year. Bob Geldof was the lead judge in the first two years. Bob now plays the role of ambassador for youbloom@Dublin.
Where did the name YouBloom come from?
It’s a play on the title of a movie script about Dublin I wrote years ago, the Bloom is from Leopold Bloom the central character in Joyce’s Ulysses…
How does the Adopt a Band project work? How did you come up with the idea?
Adopt a Band is where a visiting band is welcomed by a local band into for example LA, where both of the bands are playing in youbloom@LA. The local band helps with for example, accommodation, gear, additional gigs, being there for the visiting band, the idea is that the welcome will be reciprocated to the LA band when they go to the other band’s city. youbloom is centered on cooperation, host bands giving back to newer bands, local bands welcoming visiting bands and so on, we are always looking for opportunities for bands to help each other.
How did you choose the venues in LA?
We researched venues in Downtown, Silver Lake, Santa Monica and NELA [Northeast L.A.]. NELA along with South Pasadena and Pasadena venues were the most receptive to the concept and culture of youbloom
What do members get access to when they sign up on the website?
Artists who participate in youbloom@LA get free access to the youbloom@LA Music Conference. We are working on a youbloom membership concept which we plan to release in 2015
How does your other project, the Human Health Project, work? How do you divide your time between YouBloom and your doctor/music therapy practice?
Human Health Project (HHP) is an online peer to peer health care resource for people who want to support each other in taking care of their health. HHP is different in being a non commercial/non profit 501 charity primarily run by volunteers, including all integrative medicines (conventional complementary) with a focus on the undeserved around the world. In this way it’s a similar model to what an organisation like PBS is to the world of TV.These days almost all the time I have available is taken up running youbloom and HHP. In the little that’s left, I am working on a new album of songs and doing r&d on a music therapy related project.
Image courtesy of YouBloom