Xtreme Music Hits Cleveland 

Music conference to host 160 acts.

Back in the saddle: Guitarist Joe Walsh, with the - James Gang at the Beachland, June 24. - WALTER  NOVAK
  • Walter Novak
  • Back in the saddle: Guitarist Joe Walsh, with the James Gang at the Beachland, June 24.
One hundred sixty local and regional-level artists from across the country will perform at the 2005 XMG International Music Conference, a festival to be held at the Hard Rock Café (230 Huron Avenue) Wednesday, August 24, through Sunday, August 28.

In addition to short performances by unsigned groups, the conference will host industry professionals from major and indie labels who will critique the bands, American Idol-style (without all the kibitzing), after their sets.

"I wanted to make something that was a win-win situation for everyone involved," says XMG (Xtreme Music Group) President and CEO Matt W. Rowe, who founded the company in 2003. "A lot of the artists know how to make music to an extent, but they know next to nothing about the industry. It's an educational process, and if they're good enough, A&R reps will take them to the next level. If they're not, they'll get feedback to help and to build a relationship."

XMG is an international group that manages and develops artists, presents music conferences, and records music. The group presents 11 conferences in the United States and Europe annually, and Rowe says they typically draw 1,500 to 2,000 people. (XMG has no connection to 92.3 Xtreme Radio.)

With an indoor and outdoor stage, the festival will feature local acts like Cleveland rock group Elahn and Akron rock singer-songwriter Zach. Visitors will include New Hampshire prog-rock band Mindset X and Wisconsin ska-punk group I Voted for Kodos.

Besides the music, the festival will present three workshops and open discussions about such topics as songwriting, publishing, copyrighting, recording, promotion, and touring. Judges and panelists will include representatives from Island/Def Jam, Atlantic Records, Jive Records, Sony, TVT, and Koch.

The conference is currently booked full, but the organizers encourage bands to submit material in the event of cancellations. Call 866-XMG-MUSIC (964-6874) for details.

"We hope this showcase provides an opportunity for up-and-coming artists to have questions answered, from how to approach a label to how to represent themselves," says Alicia Campolito of the Hard Rock. "Each musician will have the opportunity to have one-on-one contact with some of the best representatives in the business."

· The Cleveland chapter of the JustPlainFolks online folk community will hold a free showcase at 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 2, at the Winchester Tavern (1212 Madison Avenue, Lakewood). The performance will be taped for use in a documentary. Only members may perform, but interested players can register at www.justplainfolks.org. Acts slated for the show include J. Scott Franklin and Tracy Marie.

· The Roberto Ocasio Foundation will hold a Latin Jazz music camp Thursday, July 28, and Friday, July 29, at Lake Erie College in Painesville. It's open to music students in grades 9-12 and will end with a concert. Applications must be received by July 5; contact Bev Montie at 440-572-2048.

· Elephant Stone Records owner Ben Vendetta has ended Empire, his Britpop DJ night held monthly at the B-Side Liquor Lounge. "Cleveland just doesn't dig Britpop," Vendetta says.

· Mushroomhead's summer tour launches July 25 at Peabody's. Dope will be joining the band on the road. Titled the Music for FREEdom Tour, the trek will allow anyone with a valid military ID in free. They just like people with guns, you know?

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