A desire to "offer a gift to the music community" is what led Erin Woody and her cohorts at Novi's Rock Financial Showplace to create this weekend's Metro Music Expo.
"The focus is to create a quality event," Woody says of the three-day Expo, which runs Friday through Sunday (Sept. 12-14) and will feature a trade show, hands-on clinics and educational panel discussions, and live performances. "This is about trying to develop something which can bring the musicians together with manufacturers and music services...basically bringing a giant music store to the consumer."
The Expo will cater to listeners as well as players. The lineup of acts playing throughout the weekend includes local favorites such as Carolyn Striho, Cowboy Messiah, Stephanie K, Zebula Avenue and the Prime Ministers. WRIF-FM will hold a Big Break contest at 7 tonight for a chance to open for Tesla's Oct. 17 show at the Fillmore Detroit, while Fox 2's Fox Rocks Band Contest at noon Sunday will deliver an opening spot for Lynyrd Skynyrd's Sept. 21 concert at the DTE Energy Music Theatre.
About 36 local and national exhibitors have signed on for the show, according to Woody, and some will host clinics on recording techniques and the latest equipment at their display sites. Roseville's Record Time store will sell CDs by local bands, while veteran rock photographers will display and sell their work at the Backstage Rock Art Gallery. Eight panel discussions will touch on everything from careers in music to signing deals, securing publishing rights and tips on getting good gigs.
"We've been saying 'everything music under one roof,' " Woody says. "That seems like an obvious catch phrase for a music expo, but we're really trying to live by that and deliver it for the music community and create an environment that encompasses the amateur and the student and the professional -- and somewhere they can bring their kids or significant others and they can be entertained as well."
Woody says most first-year events at the Showplace draw 5-8,000 people. The venue is working on a three-to-five year business plan for the Expo and will evaluate this year's even to determine how to improve it for 2009 and beyond.
The Metro Music Expo runs from 4-9 p.m. Friday, noon-9 p.m. Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $10 per day and $25 for a weekend pass. Call (248) 348-5600 or visit www.metromusicexpo.com.