And the award goes to…

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First Posted: 10/6/2014

Forget the VMA’s. Forget the Billboard Music Awards. Forget the Grammys. NEPA is set to launch its own music award ceremony — and it’s the best thing to happen to the local music scene. Like, ever.

The Electric City Music Conference will hit Scranton like a wrecking ball, minus any overtly sexual former Disney star with a desperate need for attention attached to it, with a city-wide music festival October 10-12. The weekend-long event will kick off Friday, Oct. 10 at 8 p.m. inside The V Spot in Scranton, when the first ever Steamtown Music Awards show honor to the region’s best music.

Keen for ‘the scene’

Joe Caviston of Carbondale was hanging out on a friend’s porch five years ago when he thought it would be a cool idea if there was an award show paying tribute to the talent of local musicians. That friend was Ken Norton of Scranton, lead singer of Graces Downfall. Together, they decided to turn the concept of a “brilliant idea that will validate the hard work of local artists” into a reality.

Introduced to the music scene in college, Caviston grew to have an appreciation for local artists as his observation of the scene evolved into working with musicians firsthand.

“I started promoting concerts when I was in college at East Stroudsburg University. I was eventually able to put myself through college producing concerts at venues throughout NEPA and the Poconos,” Caviston said.

From there, Caviston dabbled in booking tours for bands, eventually booking for some notable acts like Driver Side Impact, Thieves and Villains and These Green Eyes to name a few. The day he graduated college, Caviston opened his own night club and music venue, Eleanor Rigby’s in Jermyn.

“During my time at Eleanor Rigby’s I worked with every major booking agency and most of the top artists in the country, including various reputable festivals such as Bamboozle and The Vans Warped Tour,” Caviston said.

Two years ago, when the Steamtown Original Music Showcase was discontinued by organizer John Phillips, Caviston decided to take it over, reinvent it and make it their own.

“Ken Norton is the perfect partner to have for this. He’s been a part of the Scranton music scene for nearly 15 years and is the lead singer of one of the area’s top bands [Graces Downfall]. He brings the artist perspective to the event and keeps me in check with balancing artists needs with business,” Caviston said.

With a seemingly perfect combination of business, music and a desire make shit happen, Caviston and Norton will share there dream of establishing an award show honoring the region’s best in music on Friday, Oct. 10 with the community.

The perfect spot

When it comes to sex, the G-spot is the spot you’re looking for. When it comes to hosting the area’s first ever music award show, The V Spot is ‘the perfect spot’.

“We’re all about honoring musicians,” said Vinnie Archer, co-owner of The V Spot in Scranton.

Being the host location for the Steamtown Music Awards is both an honor and a thrill according to Archer. Since opening his doors with business partner Frank Lombardo in November, 2010, Archer wanted to make The V Spot a rock and roll joint.

“Music is really the only reason I opened a bar,” Archer said.

The V Spot is known for providing a platform for the local music scene. Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, acoustic entertainers perform from 8 p.m. to midnight, with bar visitors encountering a full band experience on Friday and Saturday nights.

“There are only a handful of bars in the Scranton area that embrace full band presentations, including drums, a live sound system and light show,” Archer said.

Archer said that serving as the host venue for the event will be his way of helping people in the community understand that NEPA is home to talented musicians that deserve recognition and deserve to be heard.

“Rewarding musicians for their creativity is the very best thing you can do to keep them inspired and feeling purposeful. When musicians see a peer getting recognized for their craft, the results affect everyone around them. Those who don’t win practice harder. The winner may inspire someone to pick up an instrument and pursue a similar passion. A musical instrument store stays in business. Music enthusiasts talk about places to showcase their songs and inevitably, they get a gig in a bar like mine, allowing us to sell alcohol and pay our taxes,” Archer said.

The Steamtown Music Awards are aiding the musical circle of life, according to Archer.

And the nominees are…

The ceremony will recognize musical acts in more than 20 categories, include live performances and even feature a “red carpet” with exclusive interviews as nominees arrive.

“It took us a few years to get the idea off the ground, but it allowed Ken Norton and I to make sure it was done right,” Caviston said.

Nominations were announced in August after a social media campaign allowed the public to vote for any musician in categories such as Indie Rock Act of the Year, Drummer of the Year and DJ/Electronic Act of the Year. DJ Ryan Kenton of Dallas didn’t see his nomination coming.

“I mean Best New Artist? I didn’t see that coming, which is great, because that’s what I want people to see me as,” Kenton said.

As the hype is getting real leading up to the event, nominees are optimistic for what the Steamtown Music Awards can do for the local music scene.

“We think this will be a much needed jolt of energy into the local original music scene,” said Folk/American Act of the Year nominees Blinded Passenger.

Rouge Chimp, nominated for Jam/Jazz Fusion Act of the Year, feels the Steamtown Music Awards will add an extra incentive for musicians to be themselves, stay true to their music and express their individuality through the creativity of their music.

In the style of highly publicized award shows, the Steamtown Music Awards will include awards for Album of the Year and Song of the Year.

Nominated for Album of the Year is “New Laws” by The Great Party, “Ghost House” by A Fire with Friends, “Sounds from Thursday Evening,” by Suze, “Keep Dreamin’” by Eww Yaboo and “Numero Uno” by The Coal Town Rounders.

Nominated for Song of the Year is “Hencho En Mexico” by The Great Party, “Letter to Lainey” by Graces Downfall, “The Crack Inside” by Behind the Grey, “Reggae Dog,” by Pat Finnerty and “Kindness” by Esta Coda.

“I hope this event will give people in the community something to look forward to every year,” Caviston said.

The physical awards set to be presented are hand-crafted from old vinyl records and painted gold. The public is invited to watch local musicians accept their awards for an admission price of $5 on Friday, Oct. 10 at 8 p.m. inside The V Spot in Scranton.