It’s no secret that the Local Music Awards have become a source of controversy over the last few years. The event, now in its fifth year, was originally created to bring local musicians and music fans together and celebrate the strength and talent of our scene. As of late, there have been a number of objections that Illini Media, as an organization, has considered. We have read the message boards, opened your e-mails and seen the comments on the217.com, and they have resonated.
As a media organization, one of the best things we can do is respect and respond to our audience. We have no intention of creating barriers between ourselves and our readers or listeners. We take everything you say into consideration, and this year, have decided to make a change.
The Local Music Awards will no longer be an event in which we nominate bands for categories such as “Best Rock” or “Best New Album.” The show will still exist, but in a way that we hope will better serve and promote the community and avoid the risk of competition.
To achieve this, based on recommendations from various residents of Champaign-Urbana and representatives on the local music scene, the awards will be based on lighthearted categories such as “Best Moustache” or “Best Collective Use of Plaid.” This will promote a fun night where we discuss, celebrate and appreciate local music, but in a less serious way.
The awards show will still consist of several performances from bands booked by Ward Gollings, and we will be working hard to ensure that the performances become a strong focus in the show. We will also be asking bands to collaborate on-stage, if they would like to.
In addition, we will feature several bands in different genres that we feel should be known and recognized by the community for their hard work. There will be no singular winner — instead, we will recognize these groups as a way to both introduce them to newcomers to the scene and show our appreciation for their work and contributions.
All categories will be write-ins, so you get to pick who has the “Most Innovative Use of Tambourine On-Stage.” We will take the top picks and reveal them at the event. In addition, we will ask for your vote on “Best Contribution to the Scene,” in which you can write in a band, promoter, venue, booking agent, fan — anyone or anything you feel made an impact on our scene over the past year. We will honor a number of people on the night of the awards show for their contribution based on what the community has to say about them. We will also present a lifetime achievement award, as we have always done.
Coverage in buzz Magazine, on WPGU 107.1 FM and on the217.com will change accordingly. We will be looking toward the history and future of local music in Champaign-Urbana, and we will be asking bands, venues and promoters to chip in their two cents on other artists around town.
We want this event and our year round coverage to be a means to discover the immense talent in Champaign-Urbana, and have no intention of creating a clash among community members. We hope that you will continue to provide us with feedback on what we do, and we will always listen.
Sincerely,
Elle Destree, the217.com Producer
Joe Lamberson, WPGU Program Director
Tommy Trafton, buzz Editor in Chief

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