Huddled over a table and speaking in hushed coded-terms, a small group of programmers question the wisdom of releasing the news of The Billings Outpost Tuneys, Vol. 3.0, in the wake of the iPhone 5’s big splash. But time is wasting away as summer has turned to fall, so the decision is made to announce the metamorphosis of the Tuneys to The Billings Outpost Magic City Music Awards, complete with new firmware.
The Tuney Awards were sprouted in Scott Prinzing’s musical mind-garden in 2000 as a way to recognize and celebrate the contributions of local artists to the Billings music scene. The program was simple and linear and relied on Outpost readers to nominate and then vote for best artists, groups, venues, LPs, CDs and DJs. Reader responses and showtime turnouts grew along with the variety of awards and diversity of performers.
Tuneys 2.0 was promulgated in 2009 with a shift to parallel programming, theme-oriented shows and a regular host venue, Yellowstone Valley Brewing Co. While the platform of nominating and voting for local artists did not change, a small cover charge was added to enter the show and to raise funds to support music-related artist and community needs.
The Tuneys now had a dual purpose. That and each subsequent year, cash awards were given to buy musical instruments, provide music lessons and help offset medical expenses of uninsured musicians.
Steve Brown stands at the table and then waves his hand like a wand over an unrolling page that reveals the symbol of Tuney metamorphosis; the new Magic City Music Awards logo. Steve, a local singer-songwriter, guitar, bass and drums player, and multi-time performer at the Tuneys, leads a group of Outpost volunteers in the system redesign.
The 12th annual award program will feature the familiar nomination and reader voting process, but will be joined by a panel of 10 judges. A 21st century addition is the invitation to submit one-minute music videos as a new category to be posted to the web for review and voting.
The nomination, voting and review process begins in the Oct. 18 issue of the Billings Outpost and concludes with showtime at the Yellowstone Valley Brewing Co. on Sunday, Dec. 2.