The Northwest’s premier 21 and under battle of the bands.
An annual event since 2001, MoPOP’s Sound Off! supports the all-ages scene by giving artists an opportunity to showcase original music on a large platform, launch their music careers, and connect with peer musicians, industry leaders, and other members of the artistic community invested in supporting their success and growth.
Now in its 16th year, Sound Off! has paved the way for some amazing bands and artists including The Lonely Forest, Dyme Def, Sol, Dave B, Naked Giants, Kithkin, Schoolyard Heroes, Tomten, Brite Futures, as well as members of Beat Connection, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Cumulus, Oberhofer, La Luz, Kairos and more. From Seattle and Portland to Vancouver and Boise, groups or solo musicians playing all genres of music are encouraged to submit original material for consideration.
Sound Off! judges, partners, and mentors include major music festivals, journalists, radio DJs, venues, bookers, alumni, record labels, recording studios, all-ages music community organizers, and more. Through its partners, Sound Off! has been able to connect artists with bookings at high-profile venues and partnerships across the region such as Bumbershoot, Sasquatch! Music Festival, KEXP, and the Capitol Hill Block Party.
Participants must be age 21 or under and residents of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, or British Columbia.
Three panels review all the applicants, choosing twelve bands to perform live at EMP. Panels include EMP’s Youth Advisory Board, EMP staff, and music industry professionals. Bands are scored based on song composition and arrangement, creativity and originality, technical ability and musicianship. All categories will be weighted equally. Following are examples of questions the judges may consider when rating bands:
Composition and Arrangement
How strong is the songwriting/composition (musical arrangement, lyrics, harmonies, instrumentation, rhythm, use of technology etc)?
Does the music sound inspired? Do they have an artistic identity? Are they bringing something interesting to their genre?
Technical Ability and Musicianship
How impressive is the musicianship? Are they proficient with instruments, vocals, and in time and/or in tune?
Band selection criteria subject to change without notice.
For more Sound Off! info and to connect with other musicians in the Northwest, check out EMP’s all-ages music Facebook page, The Soundboard. Download the Rules + Regulations or FAQ (PDFs) to learn more.