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Music Festival Draws Thousands of Fans to New York City

  • Behnam Nateghi

The College Music Journal Music Marathon recently (October 16 - 20) attracted a thousand up-and-coming bands to New York City. Music fans and industry insiders flocked to the annual festival to discover the next top stars. Jim Bertel narrates for VOA's Behnam Nateghi who was at this year's event.

Bands from all over the U.S. poured into New York City to perform at the 27th annual CMJ Music Marathon. Fans crowded the sidewalks outside clubs to see their favorite bands and discover new artists.

Performances by the Paperclips and other bands drew over 100,000 music fans to the five-day festival.

CMJ's Matt McDonald looks back at the music event's roots. "Started as a one day event with maybe three bands, and 27 years later, here we are with five days, 60 venues and about a thousand bands performing."

Though several well-known bands perform, CMJ strives to showcase new artists. "The focus is really on the up and coming bands," explained McDonald.

Numerous chart-topping artists have played the CMJ at some point in their career. "We can't take credit for all the success, but I think we had a small role in helping establish a few bands over the years, quite a few bands,” he said. “Some of them more well-known ones, who have played CMJ over the years, Green Day, Eminem, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beastie Boys…"

McDonald breaks the crowd into two groups: Music fans who come for the live music and music industry people looking for the next big act. "College radio people, label people, artists, managers, agents, press people come, and we've got the day time component which includes a lot of films, and the great panels and the trade show."

At this year's event, panelists discussed illegal downloads, censorship and declining CD sales.

Phil Gallo reports on the music business for Variety magazine and moderated one panel. "We were discussing international business,” he said. “Mostly how people are approaching exporting music and importing music. We have labels that are here in the US, and in other places, like Berlin, London and throughout Europe, looking at how basically international borders are pretty much broken down."

As music fans flocked to the Marathon's final night, many in the crowd were already anticipating next year's event when a whole new group of aspiring musicians will have their shot at stardom.