Teen bands in the South Bay may soon get their big break—or at least a shot at one.

Auditions for the first-ever music and arts festival designed specifically for youth will be May 11 at the Joslyn Center. The inaugural Stomping Grounds festival, set for July 20 at the Manhattan Beach Arts Center, will feature eight South Bay teen bands selected through the audition process.

Youth bands from Manhattan Beach and the surrounding communities are invited to prepare a 15-minute audition with music of their choice, according to organizer Kimberly Koffler, who is partnering with the city to put on the festival.

To sign up for an audition time slot, bands are asked to email teenmusic@yahoo.com and to provide their own instruments, cymbals and amplifiers on the day of the audition.

A public address system, drums, microphones and a sound engineer with be provided on site, Koffler noted.

The Hermosa Beach mom is well-versed in the community music scene because her son is in a local band—Chroma Haze—which regularly plays at events such as the Manhattan Beach Hometown Fair and Concerts in the Park.

The annual summer concert series in Polliwog Park, which typically features youth bands as opening acts, is actually what inspired Koffler to dream up the Stomping Grounds Festival, she said.

“We have a lot of music going on in this city so we are trying to extend that to our young bands. There are so many talented kids here,” Koffler said. “My goal is to be able to give them a platform to showcase their work.”

The free Stomping Grounds music festival will also feature a local art showcase, games and food, Koffler said, noting Cultural Arts Manager Martin Betz is assisting with the event from the city side. 

"The beach cities, specifically Manhattan Beach, have such a rich history of evolving musical talent that we thought it would be great to promote and celebrate...by showcasing some of the best young musicians," Betz said in an April 9 email to The Beach Reporter. "We also want to position the music in a larger art context which is why Stomping Grounds is a music and arts festival." 

The festival is also looking for local sponsorship and may include guest speakers from the music industry, said Koffler.

“The festival has been established with one purpose in mind—to provide a positive, creative and professional environment for youth to express and develop their musical and artistic talents,” Koffler explained.

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