If you plan to attend CMJ this year it is about that time to start pedaling downtown as well as certain hipster approved corners of Brooklyn– if for some inexcusable reason, you do not already park your bike in one of these culturally fecund, trendy enclaves.
True, New York City hosts an unofficial constant marathon of tantalizing cultural events, but there is something that gives the crisp autumnal air an extra zap of magic during the annual CMJ music festival.
The wind whistles a touch more melodically, the sun shines with the warmth of a fireside canister of whiskey, and everything seems more fanciful and alive. Even the man sneezing into your hot dog seems to do so with whimsy and charm.
This may be because for 120 almost straight hours, music flows from nearly every venue that has a drink menu, for miles. And that is, soul-caressing, heart pumping music. No third cousins of Justin Bieber’s godfather’s sister’s cartridge changer’s cat walker hoping to make their big break in Penn Station will be on the schedule.
This literally ‘jam’ packed marathon possesses all of the excitement and talent of music festivals like ‘Bonaroo’ and ‘Summerfest’ without the risk of fleas or waking up in a cramped tent with a stranger’s foot in your mouth.
CMJ, or College Music Journal, is a music events and publishing company of and for the music industry and college radio, that connects music makers, listeners, and industry professionals through interactive media, print, and live events.
Since its foundation, the CMJ Network has created an integrated community of music fans and professionals through their music-business trade magazine CMJ New Music Report, a digital compilation of updated tracks in CMJ Music Monthly, their legendary CMJ Music Marathon, and a number of other tunetastic products and services.
CMJ, though safe and recommended for all ages, caters to young music followers eager to get a head start in the latest, emerging bands and artists. Many do this by logging onto cmj.com, which offers a digital music library and copious information on new up and coming artists and events.
CMJ New Music Monthly was the first consumer magazine to come with a bound-in CD sampler, offering over 20 tracks of freshly baked music ranging from a wide scope of genres. The magazine also included interviews, reviews, and special features.
As the CMJ experts are well aware, the truly music obsessed are always hungry for more in terms of what to listen to, what not to listen to, which bands to follow, and whether or not the mandolin is cool again.
Many of these answers can be found in CMJ New Music Report, which boasts exclusive charts of non-commercial, independent, and college radio airplay. The magazine publishes top 30 lists sent in by stations for a nomimal fee, which then circulates among record companies, record stores, and publicity representatives.
So down to the meat and potatoes—though most in attendance of the indie-music extravaganza will most likely be munching on quinoa-setay-alfalfa sprout spinach wraps.
Starting at 11 AM on Tuesday, October 19th, the 2010 CMJ Music Marathon unleashes a euphoric series of non-stop shows at culturally supportive venues like Spike Hill, The Knitting Factory, The Music Hall of Williamsburg, Le Poisson Rouge, Bowery Ballroom, Bowery Electric, Mercury Lounge and about 12 million more bars and clubs.
Like a running marathon, pacing during CMJ is key, though at times attendees may be carried away on a wave of adrenaline and tempted to race full force towards the finish line. But beware, this sonorously soaked week goes by faster than a child actor’s career, so take time to stretch, hydrate, and possibly change your clothes (?) before diving back in.
CMJ is a feast for the other senses as much as the ears and dancing muscles. In addition to a cornucopia of concerts, the fall New York City tradition offers a film festival and a number of special events. Just to offer a peek into the unique festivities, the two-time Tony Award winning Broadway musical, ‘American Idiot’, will be featured in the marathon as well as a 40th anniversary tribute panel, which celebrates the inspiring, masterful career of Jazz icon, Miles Davis.
Who knows? Perhaps the next great music legend is buried in the beehive of artists buzzing around this indefatigable city at this very moment. However, I do not suggest waiting 40 years to find out.
The full list of venues, shows, and events can be found at cmj2010.com.