The Sanford Music Festival provided a place Sept. 7 for musicians from all over Central Florida to show off their chops.
The festival started at noon and hosted more than 40 bands. The 12-hour concert started off at a crawl, and slowly reached a run as the sun began to set. About mid-event, people filled the West End Trading Co. and the surrounding lots to watch as bands played on four outdoor stages.
Bands spanned from genres such as country and folk to rock and metal. Musicians blasted their tunes to an eager audience looking for the best in local music.
Gardner said he has noticed that “a lot of festivals are focusing more on quality bands and less quantity.”
This quality over quantity seems best for the concert goer, but this poses a problem for musicians that are trying to get their name out there, especially in an area like Central Florida, he explained. Here every band must compete with Disney and Universal Studios for attention.
So, Gardner and OrlandoBands.com decided to put on a festival that is more “local music-oriented.”
For the average concert goer, music festivals provide the biggest bang for their buck, organizers said. With an estimated attendance of 1,000 to 1,500, the Sanford Music Festival provided local bands to a wide variety of audiences for a $10 pre-sale ticket; tickets were $15 on the day of the concert.
The bands like the set up as well, said Sean Harris, lead guitarist of Luna Cruise, based in Jacksonville.
“You’re going to hear stuff you wouldn’t have heard otherwise,” Harris said. It is exactly that variety of music that makes music festivals appealing in the first place, but additionally, since the festival is on the local level, you can see the bands again.
These types of festivals also allow for gathering and collaboration among musicians.
Harris describes it as “all about people getting together and meeting new influences and seeing bands they like, people they want to play with, play shows with and jam with.”
That musician centered atmosphere makes the Sanford Music Festival stand apart from the big national music festivals like Lollapalooza, Coachella, and Country 500.
A festival like the one in also allows local bands to have a kind of break from the bar and pub scene that is the usual venue for a band trying to gain some notoriety.
Jon Carp, a solo indie folk musician from St. Augustine, said he is often burdened with all the prep that goes into putting on a show. He sees festivals as “a kind of break.” The festival provides a space that allows the musician to focus on putting on the best performance that they can, he said.
In additionl to OrlandoBands.com, the Sanford fest was presented by The Local Music Guild in partnership with Ladies 327 Supperclub.