Emerging Artists Competition
Continuing a tradition that began in 2001 Rusty’s EMERGING ARTIST COMPETITION has become one of the premiere band competitions in Southern California. The winner earns a $2,000 booking as opening act for one of the Pier’s famous Twilight Concert Series dates each summer, performing on the open-air Pier stage to a live audience of more than 10,000. Headliners the night of the EAC winner’s performance have included a wide range of national and international acts.
Typically EAC submissions are accepted from mid-December to mid-March. Twenty bands are selected to compete in three rounds of competition from early April through late June, with six bands moving on to the second round and the top three competing in the Finals. Watch this website for competition announcements beginning in the late Fall.
Who is eligible? Any unsigned Southern California band of 3 to 12 members that has not previously won Rusty’s Emerging Artist Competition or appeared as an act in the Santa Monica Pier Twilight Concert Series.
Are cover bands eligible? Covers may be included in a band’s set, but the music must be predominantly original.
What if one of our band members is also in another band in the contest? No band entered may have more than two band members who are also participating with another band in the contest. Any individual band member may participate with no more than two bands in the competition. All band members must be named at the time of submission and cannot be changed as the competition progresses. (No ringers in advanced rounds!)
What music genres may participate? There is no limitation on music genre. However, both Rusty’s and the Twilight Concert Series have “family friendly” requirements as to lyrics and/or comments from the stage for this event.
What limitations are there for the use of pre-recorded tracks or DJs? We can (and do) mic or DI other instruments and amps, but our "best sound" is a full band playing at a sensible stage volume with vocal support. Rusty's stage monitor system and house speakers are designed primarily for vocals and acoustic instruments. If your band has a DJ or backing tracks on a computer, sequencer, Ipod etc. we will input them for you but please be aware that there are volume limitations.
How are the bands selected to participate? Rusty’s Booking Panel will review entries to select the participants.
How does each round of the contest work? Time slots are by draw and cannot be changed. Your band must be available for all round dates associated with your competition date.
- Preliminary Round: Weekly winners announced the following day @rustyssurfranch.com. Free audience admission in preliminary round. Top runner-up will be announced with the winner from the final night of preliminaries.
- Semi-Final Round: Weekly winners will be announced the following day. Top Runner-up will be announced after the last semi-final round. $5 cover, split 50/50 with bands.
- Finals: Winner and first runner-up announced after final band. $8 cover, split 75% to band/25% to venue.
What are the criteria for judging? Bands are judged on Musicality; Stage Presence; Originality; Attendance attributed to each band; and Audience Response. Preliminary and Semi-final rounds are judged by Rusty’s Booking Panel plus industry professionals. Finals are judged by a guest panel of top industry professionals.
What are the prizes? Winner receives $2,000 for an opening gig at the Twilight Concert Series (date to be determined). First Runner-up wins $500 for a Showcase gig at Rusty’s Surf Ranch.
Who will be the headline act on the night of the Winner’s Showcase and will the performance be broadcast? Santa Monica’s CityTV regularly broadcasts a selection of the TCS performances. Which specific concert dates will be broadcast, the date of the Winner’s TCS performance and who will headline are unknown until late in the process. Advance arrangements can be made to record your band’s performance on either Rusty’s stage or the Pier stage.