Voting already at record level for Magic City Music Awards


Ed Kemmick/Last Best News

The Henge was one of the bands that performed at last year’s Magic City Music Awards show.

Voting is underway for the 17th annual Magic City Music Awards.

It’s not just underway, it’s going gang-busters. Between the opening of voting, which was announced Tuesday morning on the MCMA Facebook page, and Friday morning, more than 1,700 people had already voted. That’s well ahead of the 1,318 votes cast last year, which was itself a record, and this year’s voting doesn’t close until Sept. 25.

Local musician Scot Ninnemann, one of the organizers of the event, said the original Facebook post was shared 119 times, “including by some bands who have a really big following,” and by Friday afternoon, more than 15,000 people had seen the Facebook announcement.

The ballot this year includes hundreds of local musicians and bands, in 29 categories, all of them nominated by members of the public, who were asked to make nominations between Aug. 25 and Sept. 8.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at Yellowstone Valley Brewing Co., from 4 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 15. The stated goal of the MCMA is to “support and encourage local musicians and bands, and get the general public excited about Billings’ vibrant local music scene.”

At the awards ceremony, there will be live music covering a wide variety of styles and genres. Bands and musicians scheduled to play include In Rapture, Dead Presleys, Not Your Boyfriend’s Band, Song Dog Serenade, Brian Zoller and Jodie Johnston, Troy Owens and a couple of surprise guests.

You can vote by going to the MCMA website and casting ballots in as many or as few categories as you wish.

The emcee for the awards show will be Art Hooker, longtime host of the “Blue Light Boogie” show on Yellowstone Public Radio and also the emcee for Magic City Blues. Helping Ninnemann with this year’s awards were George Moncure, owner of Yellowstone Valley Brewing, and Scott Wagers, a photographer who surely holds the record for taking photos of the local music scene.

Two award categories were brought back this year — best video and original song — and a new one was added — best sound engineer.

In addition to the awards listed on the ballot, the awards committee might also choose to honor a person or group with one of two special awards: the Freeman Lacy Award, for long-term contributions to the local music community, or the Hall of Fame Award, for an exceptional record of award winning over many years.

Last year’s Freeman Lacy Award went to Norrine “The Outlaw Queen” Linderman, a singer, guitar player and yodeler who has been performing music in the Billings area since the late 1940s.

The annual awards show was sponsored for the first 15 years by The Billings Outpost. After that weekly newspaper folded and publisher David Crisp joined Last Best News, this online newspaper took over sponsorship of the event.

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