The New Noise Music Foundation (NNMF), an energetic force in Santa Barbara’s music and arts culture, produces and promotes diverse performances, lectures and workshops year round, including its very own annual New Noise Digital Music Conference and Festival. Not only does New Noise enhance the entertainment experience in the community, but also focuses on good practices as it strives to promote ‘better world’ living.
As an organization, New Noise is founded on the ideals of valuing the festival experience, event sustainability, musician mentorship, and the advocacy of arts education. These refreshing principles make New Noise a cutting edge and forward thinking music organization.
LoaTree recently sat down with Jeff Theimer for an interview about NNMF.
The New Noise Breakdown
Founded in 2009, Jeff launched NNMF through his own experience in entertainment marketing and music production. The NN Digital Music Conference and Festival emerged soon after.
“I grew up in Santa Barbara, which is halfway between San Francisco, where the tech scene is exploding, and L.A., the center of the music universe,” said Jeff. “Not a bad place for a music conference.”
After bringing the idea to friend and Senior Editor at the SB Independent, Matt Kettmann, Kettmann scheduled a meeting with local music attorney (and NNMF co-Founder) Tim Boris and the Music Festival and Conference came to life.
In its first year, the goal was to invite 50 bands to perform and a number of high level industry professionals and experts to hold lectures over the course of a weekend. That year, the Festival was incredibly successful, with speakers and guests including Jack Johnson and Tim Westergren, Founder/CEO of Pandora radio, amongst many others from all walks of the industry.
“The first year, we talked a lot about how musicians could be advocates for sustainability as part of their careers, but also how the music industry as a whole could be sustainable in practice,” said Jeff. Throughout the Festival, they discussed hot topics such as biodiesel and eco-touring, including how tour bus manufacturers and management companies should or could manage large-scale tours, and “the practicality of getting from point A to B in a sustainable way.”
The Festival takes place at venues large and small throughout Santa Barbara but has added a “Block Party” in the Funk Zone , where there is very little parking. “We have to encourage alternative transportation,” said Jeff. “This includes Amtrak for people coming from L.A., or for locals, bikes and a bike valet or taking the bus or walking.”
After hosting its first Festival, New Noise discovered that a year-round presence in Santa Barbara was essential to getting its name out in the community. Thus began New Noise’s increased work booking concerts, producing performances, and promoting individual performers. New Noise became a registered nonprofit organization, which, according to Jeff “allowed us to begin engaging youth in music education…it’s really exciting to be an arts organization in Santa Barbara because we really can effect change.”
Upcoming – All Eyes On New Noise
Jeff and New Noise were deeply involved in the recent Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival, booking performers and bands for the Festival’s main stage, and also organizing Santa Barbara Earth Day Opening Night, a fundraiser held at Seven Bar & Kitchen just a few days before the big Festival weekend.
But the fun didn’t stop with Earth Day. The boys at New Noise are busy working on a number of upcoming summer events.
On May 30, New Noise is hosting the Youth Battle of the Bands at the Carpinteria Plaza Theater. Auditions were recently held, and the Battle will include the 9 finalist bands. “It’s going to be really fun,” said Jeff. “It’s awesome watching some of these younger kids ripping on drums and vocals and working on really becoming a band.”
New Noise is also involved with Santa Barbara’s Old Spanish Days Fiesta, booking performances for the Casa Cantina, from July 31through August 4at Casa de la Guerra. The Skater’s Point Music Festival Series is another opportunity hosted by New Noise for youth to get involved with music and perform in front of a live audience.
Finally, the New Noise Digital Music Festival is coming up in October. “There are some cool bands that I’m really excited about,” said Jeff. Stay tuned! Jeff assures that “it’s going to be a good one.”
New Noise and Santa Barbara
New Noise is determined to be involved in the evolving music culture of Santa Barbara in a positive way. Besides the great work they have done in connecting the music culture to sustainability practices, Jeff does a lot of work in artist and musician mentorship and music/arts education. “Music changed my life,” Jeff revealed. “Being in a band when I was 13 to 25 – it changed me.”
New Noise is always advocating for more arts and music education. Jeff stated that it’s important to discuss the opportunity that exists right now to determine locally where and how arts funds are being used. Organizations like the California Alliance for the Arts is helping ensure people are aware of how much music and art education has been taken out of the schools and what we as a local community can do about it.
“One thing that I’d like to get across is that if you’re a part of a community, and you have passions and/or concerns, you have to do something to get involved,” said Jeff. New Noise has demonstrated, since 2009, their own commitment to making the Santa Barbara community a more vibrant, artistic, and musically inspired town.
“Our motto from the beginning has been to listen, learn, and connect,” said Jeff. “Connect with people. Go talk to them. Then connect with the broader community.”
To learn more about New Noise, visit www.newnoisesb.org.
By Bethany Stevens, LoaTree. All images by Robert Redfield unless indicated otherwise.