Sarah Mac Band Wins COCA's American Music Fest Contest

UPDATED 8.23.2012 by Julie Montanaro

Sarah Mac says she cannot wait to go to Nashville with fellow band members Charlie Vanture and Claire Swindell.

Mac says the all-expense paid trip to Nashville for the upcoming Americana Music Fest will give the band a chance to network with other musicians and industry pros and listen to some great music too.

"I'm not sure that there's actually a road map to being a professional musician, but I think it will be nice to be able to network with people who are doing this for a living and find out how they make it work, because ultimately thta's our goal. That's where we want to be," Mac said.

Mac says the Sarah Mac Band has been performing together since 2005 and now plays gigs across the southeast and the midwest.


Council on Culture and Arts Press Release

Sarah Mac Band Announced as Winner of COCA’s Americana Music Fest Contest

Band will attend Americana Music Festival and Conference in Nashville

Tallahassee, FL, August 23, 2012 -- When people talk about entrepreneurs, artists and musicians rarely come to mind; however, those who make their living as artists and musicians are just that. Career development opportunities are as critical for them as they are for other entrepreneurs. To initiate an effort to further support our local arts entrepreneurs, COCA, the Council on Culture & Arts, began with an opportunity brought to us by one of our own local professional musicians, Grant Peeples.

During the past month, COCA, the local arts agency for the Capital Region, held the COCA Americana Music Fest Contest with support from Grant Peeples, the Americana Music Association, Music Lessons Express, and Extended Stay Hotels. Over 22,000 votes were tallied and the local community voted to determine the winner, the Sarah Mac Band.

Musicians and bands whose home base is within 100 miles of Tallahassee and whose genre falls within the broad definition of "Americana music" (an umbrella genre that includes folk, bluegrass, traditional country, blues, roots and old-time music) were encouraged to enter. There was no fee to enter the contest and COCA created a website,, where the public could not only vote for their favorite band but learn more about each one, hear a clip of their music and view a link to each band's website. Local businesses throughout the community that host live performances all helped promote the contest and brought wide exposure to all of the bands.

The Sarah Mac Band will receive an unparalleled professional development opportunity, as well as a chance to be among some of the greatest Americana bands in the country. The prize package for this contest includes:

• Four (4) conference registrations to the Americana Music Festival and Conference. Each registration comes with a laminate badge which entitles the wearer to attend all events during the day at the Conference center, as well as off-site events, including all evening showcases. (Donated by the Americana Music Association)
• Gift certificates for two rooms for five nights each at an Extended Stay Hotel property in Nashville. (Donated by Extended Stay Hotels)
• $200 towards transportation to Nashville. (Donated by Tallahassee's Music Lessons Express)

While attending this prestigious conference, the Sarah Mac Band will bring with them the message that Tallahassee’s music is worth listening to and our community supports its music business.

“When we heard about this contest, we realized that the timing lined up with the release of our new album, Static and Signals, in a way that was almost too good to be true,” says Sarah Mac, lead vocalist for the band. “With this win, we now have a wonderful opportunity to network with industry professionals and other artists that we really admire. It’s an even more valuable trip to us now that the date for the release of our new album is slated for one week prior to the actual conference. Now, as we rub elbows with people that we really admire, we’ll be able to share our new album with them and possibly shop it to industry representatives.”

“We want to thank our fans, families and friends for all of their support,” adds Sarah. “Their consistent, strong presence in the online voting carried us through this contest. Additionally, a big thank you to COCA for sponsoring this contest and giving us this amazing opportunity.”

The promotional aspect of the contest does not end with the winning band. Now in COCA's Artist Directory, over 118 musicians and bands have been added to the 394 artists of other disciplines to tell the world that entrepreneurs in the arts are alive and well in Tallahassee.

COCA hopes to find similar opportunities like the COCA Americana Music Fest Contest for career development in all genres of music and other arts in the future.

COCA is committed to promoting arts and culture in all its forms, and through its programs, seeks ways to promote the area's diverse range of cultural events and traditions. To view COCA’s online features such as the artist directory, the cultural attractions in our area, and ways to get involved in the arts, visit COCA at COCA also maintains an online calendar of area events at For more information about COCA call 850-224-2500 or email

Each year, the Americana Music Festival and Conference brings together legendary artists, the next generation of rising stars and industry professionals for four days of music and education. The event will take place September 12-15, 2012, gathering thousands of artists, fans and industry professionals from all over the world in Nashville, TN. The Americana Music Conference features numerous panels, seminars and much more. This special event covers the interests and needs of artists, managers, labels, radio stations, publishers, agents, promoters, retailers, legal and business affairs executives, merchandisers and new media professionals – all enthusiastically attended and presented by music industry leaders. Daytime conference activities and sessions are held at the host hotel, the Sheraton Nashville Downtown. Evening showcases are held at five prestigious downtown music venues. Simply put, the Americana Conference has something for anyone who's passionate about music.

Erica Thaler
Marketing Director
COCA - Council on Culture & Arts
Office 850.224.2500
Mobile 850.212.0505

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