Del Mar to host ‘Musicpalooza’

Aspiring musicians and singers don’t have to chase down Randy, Paula and Simon to try to make it big in the music business. The San Diego County Fair is hosting its very own nationwide talent competition, “Musicpalooza,” as part of its 2009 Music Mania fair this summer.

Judged by industry heavyweights, bands and solo artists will compete in separate categories for $25,000 cash prizes and a chance to open for rock icon Joan Jett and the Blackhearts on the fair’s Grandstand stage. Exposure to talent agencies and a large San Diego audience are major perks.

“This is probably going to launch somebody’s career,” said Barry Nussbaum, a member of the board that oversees the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

In the past, the fair has offered battle of the bands and a cappella competitions. This year, the two smaller events have been combined into the mega Musicpalooza.

The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. March 31. Bands and soloists must submit three songs in mp3 format, along with a photo, short biography and $50 application fee.

For soloists, one song must be the national anthem sung a cappella, and the other two can be original or cover songs. For bands, two songs must be original.

“While there are so many great tribute bands out there,” said fair spokeswoman Talin Hartounian, “at the end of the day, we wanted to give credit to bands for being creative on their own terms, who have their own style.”

Tribute bands are still welcome to apply, but must submit two original pieces.

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