Last week, while most college students were dusting the pencil eraser remnants off their last mid term, hordes of music lovers from across the country could be found scattered in Manhattan and Brooklyn for the 27th annual CMJ Music Marathon.
Laminated badges were treated like currency this year from October 16 to October 20.
Each year, the music trade publication College Music Journal hosts a five-day festival enabling hundreds of diverse music acts to play at over 50 locations within New York City. During the day, panels showcase industry professionals discussing topics relevant to music. Admittance to these panels and unlimited concerts affiliated with the marathon are dependent on ownership of a CMJ badge.
The impetus behind this extensive festival is to expose college music directors, promoters, and music fans to big-name acts as well as lesser-known artists while allowing a space for them to network. Or, if you look at it from the perspective of those that cut work and school for the marathon, it’s a chance for music elitists to party all day long.
On the first day of the marathon, badge owners may have stopped by Webster Hall to hear anthemic punk rock from Modern Life is War, Lifetime, and The Bouncing Souls. For those that value their hearing, the BrooklynVegan showcase featuring the indie-pop music of Voxtrot and The Rosebuds could be heard at Union Pool.
The second day brought about the Kill Rock Stars showcase. The show was headlined by Xiu Xiu but their brand of demented lullabies was outshined by Mika Miko’s energetic punk, which used a telephone instead of a traditional microphone for their lead vocals.
College Day was held on the third day. Music directors from all over the country came together to learn tips from panels and to attend a summit that translated best to group therapy with a free lunch.
There is no doubt that the CMJ badge came in handy for hip-hop fans on the fourth day. Sri Lankan rapper M.I.A. played to a sold-out crowd at Terminal 5 while the hysterically vulgar act Spank Rock headlined at The Filmore at Irving Plaza. Like the previous days of the marathon, the final day featured parties unaffiliated with CMJ yet included musicians that played for the marathon. Guests at the Advanced Alternative Music party were entertained by the epic, noisy songs of …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead. For those that missed out on the party, Jesu filled the void for sludgy rock later that night at the Blender Theater.