Following the MTV VMAs, now it’s time for the Steamtown Music Awards to get crazy

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Miley Cyrus performs at the MTV Video Music Awards on August 30. Now it’s time for the Steamtown Music Awards to turn up.
AP Image

Miley Cyrus showed the world it’s possible to hit the stage just as hard as a bong when she took on hosting duties at the MTV Video Music Awards last month. The madness of the recent VMA’s leaves only one question to the music scene in Northeastern Pennsylvania: What is going to happen at this year’s Steamtown Music Awards? The second-year event honoring achievements made by local musicians is gearing up for a big return at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 17 at The V Spot in Scranton, says event co-organizer Joe Caviston — but it will inhibit a “more positive” atmosphere than the VMA’s.

“There will be no drama like Nicki [Minaj] and Miley at the VMA’s,” Caviston said, referring to Minaj calling out the host for dissing her in a recent New York Times interview. “The Steamtown Music Awards will be more lighthearted; more supportive.”

That doesn’t mean there won’t be some surprises, said Caviston. “Anything could happen when you get a group of artists together,” he said. “But the only person I could see announcing that they’re running for president is Fiddy Shades. Anything is possible when he has the mic in his hand.”

Another possibility is this year’s award ceremony will be even better than last year’s inaugural event. Caviston said he spent the past year studying other music award shows, such as The Grammys and the VMAs and applied changes he hopes will help the SMAs run like a like a well-oiled machine. In retrospect, he said last year’s event didn’t run as smoothly as anticipated.

“Last year, we hand-made all of the awards. We wanted to give the awards a personal touch,” Caviston said. “We spray-painted old vinyl records gold. Someone spilled beer on them, and the paint ran. Not everyone was able to take their award home that night as a result.”

This time around, the awards being presented are professionally made.

The focus will ultimately reign over honoring the recipients above any other agenda. Caviston noted the most recent Grammys ceremony featured an overbearing collection of live performances that took away from time that could have been centered around the award itself. This year’s SMAs is dropping from six live performance to five: Pity Party, Dishonest Fiddlers, Ed Randazzo, Asialena and London Force. Different from last year, Pity Party will serve as the opening of the ceremony and London Force will close the show.

“It’ll be great to have a performance as everyone is walking the red carpet and coming in,” Caviston said. “Last year we didn’t have an opening act or closing act. Last time, it just ended. Having a performance close out the show will keep everyone’s attention and invite them to stay for an after party.”

Speaking of party, DJ Hersh will play sets between each presented category and as recipients accept their awards, Caviston said.

“We’ll have no down time this year. Hersh will keep the momentum going,” Caviston said.

Some things will stay the same, like the venue.

“The V Spot is a fun atmosphere. The artists feel comfortable there. We’re not a formal event. We’re not showing up in a tux,” Caviston said. “We knew right away after last year that we wanted the next one to be at The V Spot again. The only complaint we got about the venue was from some people who didn’t like smoking. This year, it’s a smoke-free event.”

Caviston said he’ll always be learning and improving the SMAs. “Every year we’ll be trying to be as inclusive as possible and highlight as many people as possible involved in the music scene.”

Caviston spills what’s changing, what’s staying the same

Miley Cyrus performs at the MTV Video Music Awards on August 30. Now it’s time for the Steamtown Music Awards to turn up. Cyrus performs at the MTV Video Music Awards on August 30. Now it’s time for the Steamtown Music Awards to turn up. AP Image Image