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Free event put on by students as term project showcasing nine Southern California bands

May 2, 2012 (El Cajon) --A free music festival that is the culmination of a Cuyamaca College course on the music industry will feature nine bands rocking at the grand lawn at the Rancho San Diego college from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 5.

Now in its fourth year, the Cuyamaca College Coyote Music Festival is the end result of a semester-length project of students in the Music Industry Studies program.

Among the nine bands performing in the all-ages event is an Orange County draw, Railroad to Alaska, a post-grunge/alternative metal group that in 2011 was named Best New Artist at the Orange County Music Awards and in 2012, won kudos as the Best Metal and Best Live Band.

Rounding out the blues, hard rock, pop, punk, indie, and alternative rock bands are King Legend, Fighting with Irons, Shining Through, NKNZ, the Illustrative Violet, Hugh Gaskins and the G String Daddies, Interrobang, and Human Crossing. The music festival will have two stages showcasing the bands each playing 30-minute sets of original music.

The Coyote Music Festival, an entirely student-produced event, is a testament to the students’ hard work and awareness of what it takes to put on a large-scale production, said Pat Setzer, head of the college’s performing arts program. Two days at the beginning of each semester are devoted to auditioning bands, which have grown from five groups the first year.

Music Industry Studies is a transfer degree program unique locally to Cuyamaca College that focuses on the practical aspects of developing careers in the music industry. The program combines classes in music theory, literature, and performance with studies in music technology and business. The festival is the product of one of the program’s classes, the Music Industry Seminar.

Every stage of the production, from auditioning the bands, developing a marketing plan, creating posters and fliers, using social media for promotions, to setting up the event, running the live sound, managing the stage transitions from one band to the next, are handled by  the students under the supervision of the faculty and staff from the Performing Arts Department.

“We organize all of the tasks that have to be completed and assign them to teams of students – how well they complete those tasks determines their grades for the class,” Setzer said.

The seminar class has so much to offer that students can take it up to four times, each year learning a new aspect to putting on an event of the Coyote Festival’s scale. And it isn’t just music students, but graphic design, art and business students who are recruited to take the class. Setzer leads the seminar along with music instructor Taylor Smith.

“Students in the Music Industry Studies program discover that a career in music isn’t limited to performers and they are encouraged to explore other avenues to transform their love of music and talent into profitable careers in concert promotions, studio work, commercials, agency work and more,” said Cindy L. Miles, Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District chancellor.

This year, festival-goers will enjoy two of San Diego’s best known food trucks -- Super Q BBQ and Asian Persuasion -- as well as face painting and carnival games for kids.

“But the main attraction is the music – San Diego and Orange County-based bands that play original music and are trying to get some recognition,” Setzer said.  “It’s a terrific win-win situation – the students get the excitement and experience of producing a festival, the bands get a chance to perform in a well-organized setting, and the community can spend an afternoon on a beautiful outdoor site enjoying a free music festival in an alcohol- and tobacco-free environment.”

For more information, including links to bands performing at the festival, go to the student-created Facebook page,

Parking is free for the event located at 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway in Rancho San Diego. For more information about Cuyamaca and Grossmont colleges, go to 

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