Music on the Beach drums up business

On Saturday, music impressario Michael McCormick scrambled on the sand at Leo Carrillo State Beach, setting up VIP tents, greeting bands and listening to sound checks. He was ready to kick off Malibu’s first Music on the Beach festival. The weather was on his side, which is always a plus when you are trying to promote a new event and hoping to bring in the crowds. “It looks great,” he said. “We checked the Farmer’s Almanac, and it said it would be unusually warm.”

It seemed a perfect weekend to kick back at the beach, sample offerings from the “Taste of Malibu” food area and listen to the sound of music. MOB, as McCormick likes to call it, is a showcase for 16 unsigned bands. The acts were selected from 400 entries that came in from across the country. The idea is to give unknown groups a forum that may help them get signed to a record label and develop a fan base. “I want people to walk away from this saying, ‘I heard some really great music and discovered some great new bands.’ “

Aside from classical fare, there was something for everyone at MOB — everything from alternative to pop to rock to country.

Over the two-day period, music lovers got an earful from bands like John Andrew Parks & Cornbread Buddha, Black Sun Sugar Kings, God Among Men and the Groove Foundation.

But MOB was made possible through the efforts of a one-man band — McCormick himself. He came up with the idea after working on the Malibu Film Festival. Aside from the odd volunteer, McCormick worked for six months to pull the music festival together. He got all the necessary permits from the state Department of Parks and Recreation, helped select the bands, arrange for food and beverages, set up tents, designed a web site and even distributed flyers. If the festival proves to be a success, he hopes to make MOB an annual event.

But it’s not just the bands that will benefit from the weekend showcase. Malibu stands to benefit as well. A portion of the proceeds from MOB will go toward Back to Blue — a nonprofit organization that is in the process of creating a children’s visitor center at Leo Carrillo.

After two days of fun, sun and sounds, it was time to break down, unplug the amps and fold up the tents. For now the music is over, perhaps until next year.

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