Prince’s Paisley Park in Chanhassen, Minnesota has announced dates for a special four-day Battle of the Bands event, titled MUSICOLOGY – Summer 2017, to be held August 31st through September 3rd at Paisley Park. This unique live performance event will highlight “Real Music by Real Musicians” – an ethos Prince consistently championed through his life, creative works and incendiary live performances. Nine finalists will be selected from an open pool of video submissions and invited to Paisley Park to perform for a live audience in the legendary Soundstage, the site of countless iconic Prince performances, including the Sign O’ The Times and Rave Un2 the Year 2000 concert films. Music groups interested in participating are invited to enter a video submission today via Paisley Park’s Facebook page; please visit facebook.com/officialpaisleypark for full details and submission criteria. The deadline for submissions is July 30, 2017.
Three artists will perform and one winner will be selected each night between August 31 – September 2, with three overall winners advancing to the final band battle on Sunday, September 3. Between these three finalists, one artist will be crowned the champion and will receive a unique Artist Development award package, consisting of studio recording time at Paisley Park, a mentorship session with members of Prince’s supergroup New Power Generation, and additional career development opportunities soon to be announced.
As a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, arranger, producer, band-leader and creative maverick, Prince is an eternal inspiration to musicians everywhere. His creative sanctuary, Paisley Park, is an especially appropriate place to continue fostering music development initiatives – celebrating new artists, new songs and the art and craft of live performance. The MUSICOLOGY event will provide an exclusive opportunity for musicians to connect with new fans, showcase their talents and – through friendly competition – elevate their abilities.
In spirit, the MUSICOLOGY event will be rooted in the band battles that were commonplace in North Minneapolis in the 1970s. Jam sessions among high school friends in basements and community centers, most notably The Way on Plymouth Avenue in North Minneapolis, evolved into competitive band battles at outdoor parks like North Commons (North Minneapolis) and Phelps Field Park (South Minneapolis). The history is deep, and the competitive spirit at that time helped push forward an incredible mix of musicians, including Prince, André Cymone, Sonny Thompson, Morris Day, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis and Jellybean Johnson, to name just a few. It was a hugely formative time musically and culturally in Minneapolis, with band battles indelibly shaping the fabric of what was to become the “Minneapolis Sound.”
Sonny Thompson, who would later join Prince in his super-group New Power Generation, notes of that time, “Back in the day, we would often practice at The Way preparing for the Battle of the Band events. I remember other bands would always try to sneak into our space to see what we were doing, but we were always the funkiest! The Family was the name of our band.” Similarly, Jellybean Johnson, who played in Flyte Tyme which later evolved into The Time, adds, “When I grew up in the North Side the competition was fierce! It helped my musical growth immensely! The Family, Grand Central, Flyte Tyme, Cohesion, Mind & Matter, it was a great time in my life! We need that feeling again in our musical community!” And as an inspired call-to-action to musicians and artists everywhere, Prince’s close friend and early band mate in Grand Central, André Cymone, adds, “Music has taken me and my best friend and first bandmate Prince from virtual obscurity to world-wide fame, and it all started with the inspiration of competition. The Minneapolis Sound was born from the Battle of the Bands contests – we took the step and jumped into the game, who’s next?”
The MUSICOLOGY event at Paisley Park will carry on in this spirit – providing an exciting opportunity for new acts and a welcomed live performance experience for fans. In addition to the evening music performances, beginning on August 31st new exhibition elements will be introduced into the Paisley Park Museum tour that will reflect Prince’s early life and the formative experiences he had in his first band, Grand Central, which included members André Cymone, Chazz Smith, Morris Day, Terry Jackson, Linda Anderson and William “Hollywood” Doughty.
Tickets to MUSICOLOGY – Summer 2017 are now available while supply lasts at the Paisley Park website, OfficialPaisleyPark.com. Single day passes are available for $100. Each daily ticket will include a Special Paisley Park Museum Tour and access to the evening concert between 7-10pm, followed by a dance party in the Soundstage concluding at 11pm. For the latest updates, please visit Paisley Park’s official pages on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and sign-up for the official newsletter at OfficialPaisleyPark.com.