Emerging Band Will Win a Slot to Perform at This Year’s Virgin Mobile FreeFest Powered by Kyocera Alongside M.I.A., T.I., Pavement and Ludacris

August 24, 2010

WARREN, N.J. (BUSINESS WIRE), August 24, 2010 - You know that cool house band your boyfriend is in? Or that hot group that seems to be tomorrow’s hit? Now, you can help drive the destiny of bands like this in the Virgin Mobile FreeFest “Book the Band” contest. The public will cast their vote for these finalists to decide which band they want to see rocking out at this year’s FreeFest.

Virgin Mobile USA and Sonicbids, the website that helps bands discover and book gigs, have announced five finalist bands chosen among 1,400 bands from an esteemed panel of judges. One band will win the ultimate prize of playing the opening set at the “Free’d Out” 2010 Virgin Mobile FreeFest presented by Kyocera on Sept. 25 at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Md. The winning band will open for M.I.A., LCD Soundsystem, Pavement, T.I., Ludacris and many more.

The five finalist bands selected for this year’s Book the Band powered by Sonicbids are:

  • Bern & The Brights, Montclair, NJ
  • Brite Lite Brite, Boston, MA
  • Ivan Ives, Los Angeles, CA
  • League510, Oakland, CA
  • Maria Kanellis, Playa del Rey, CA

All the bands that entered the fourth Book the Band contest were included in a round of public voting and then reviewed by the panel of judges. Music by these bands will be posted for free download (yes, more free!) during the final round of voting starting today through 11:59 p.m. (EDT) Monday, Aug. 30. The band with the most downloads wins and gets to play as the opening act at the 2010 Virgin Mobile FreeFest. Now it’s up to you. To cast your vote, visit: http://virginmobilefreefest.sonicbids.com/. The winning band will be announced on Aug. 31.

This year’s panel of judges:

  • DJ Abbey Braden of the Hype Machine, ‘SUP’ Magazine, and host of “FreeFest Sessions” on Virgin Mobile Live, the music and entertainment stream available on Virgin Mobile websites. In 2004, she started Punkphoto.com and was picked up by Stereogum and Loose Record. She joined the Ice Cream Man festival crew in 2006. She is the online editor of ’SUP’ Magazine, an independent publication devoted to new music and based in New York and London. Over the years, ’SUP’ has been the first to interview a variety of groundbreaking bands, including TV on the Radio, Foals, Hot Chip, Klaxons, Interpol, the Rapture and Arcade Fire.
  • Seth Hurwitz, chairman of I.M.P. Productions, concert promoter for Virgin Mobile FreeFest, and owner of the legendary 9:30 club, named Nightclub of the Year by Billboard several times.
  • Jonathan Galkin, co-founder and head of operations for DFA Records worldwide, an independent record label that he launched in 2001. Since starting, he has been responsible for signing and promoting such acts as The Rapture, LCD Soundsystem, Hot Chip, YACHT, The Juan Maclean and Holy Ghost.
  • Peter Gaston, Interactive director at SPIN, and a longtime editor of the magazine’s website, SPIN.com. A rock critic for more than a decade, Gaston has profiled bands both emerging and legendary, and has been a guest commentator on NPR, BBC, CNN, ABC News, FOX Business Channel, and many local outfits. A resident of New York, Gaston hails from Rockville, Md., not far from Virgin Freefest’s home at Merriweather Post Pavilion, where he attended his first rock concert: Van Halen in 1992.

“The Virgin Mobile ‘Freefest Sessions’ combine my two favorite things – festivals and discovering new music,” said Virgin Mobile Live’s Braden. “This year’s Book the Band competition has seen a record-breaking amount of entries, and I’m proud to be a part of the process recognizing the strength of the independent music community and psyched that Virgin Mobile Live will play a part in showcasing the top five!”

Each day this week on Virgin Mobile Live, the mobile phone company’s newly created branded music stream, Braden will feature music from each of the five finalists. Tune in to hear tracks from your favorite band on Virgin Mobile Live on Virgin Mobile websites. Visit www.virginmobilefreefest.com to listen.

“We are thrilled with the overwhelming interest from bands that entered this year’s Book the Band contest,” said Ron Faris, director of Brand Experiences, Virgin Mobile USA. “This year’s contest produced a record number of entries for Book the Band. We are excited to feature a full day of music for each of the five finalists on Virgin Mobile Live. The competition should be fierce and I’m really looking forward to see which band will take the stage at FreeFest next month.”

About Virgin Mobile USA

Virgin Mobile USA, one of Sprint’s prepaid brands, offers millions of customers control, flexibility and connectivity through Virgin Mobile’s Beyond Talk™ plans for mobile phone service and prepaid Broadband2Go high-speed Web access. Virgin Mobile branded handsets are available at more than 40,000 retail stores, including Target, Walmart, Best Buy and RadioShack. Top-Up cards are available at approximately 150,000 locations nationwide and can be used for Broadband2Go services. Purchase and experience Virgin Mobile on the Web and at Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and www.virginmobileusa.com.

About Sonicbids

Sonicbids is the website the helps bands get gigs and promoters book the right bands. Our community includes more than 245,000 bands and 21,000 promoters and licensors from all around the world. With festivals, clubs, colleges, music licensing and much more, Sonicbids offers a diverse range of gigs for every kind of musician. In fact, last year alone, more than 71,000 gigs were booked on the site. The company was founded in 2001 by Panos Panay and continues to focus on its core mission of empowering the artistic middle class. Get a gig or book a band at www.sonicbids.com.


Schaefer + Co.
Audrey Schaefer
Virgin Mobile USA
Corinne Nosal