Music Con featured a business expo, educational workshops, local band merchandise, and jam sessions for music lovers across the Central Coast. Emily Merten | Mustang News

The sound of banjo strums, banging drums and clinking wine glasses filled Tooth & Nail Winery in Paso Robles as music lovers gathered for Central Coast Music Con March 18.

No matter who you are, it’s a fun day. It’s a castle filled with music shit,” event founder and coordinator Vince Cimo said. “Music Con is an event that’s focused on bringing together all the different aspects of the music community.” 

Music Con was not a music festival; the free event was geared toward people interested in learning more about the music industry on the Central Coast. Music Con had a business exposition, educational workshops, jam sessions, and local band merchandise to connect the local music industry. Every genre was represented at the event, from bluegrass to rock.

Four student-run groups represented Cal Poly at the event: KCPR, Respect the Funk, Kappa Kappa Psi, and SubSessions.

SubSessions is a student-led creative promotion group that puts on pop-up concerts and events around San Luis Obispo. Emily Merten | Mustang News

“We’re definitely on the younger side compared to everyone else here,” business administration junior AJ Absy, band member of The Bogeys and member of SubSessions, said. “It seems like everyone here is a little more established, but we’re happy to showcase what we have and do some networking and meet some people.”

KCPR DJ Everett Fitzpatrick said it’s important that students show up in the local music industry to showcase their new ideas and creations.

“The college is in a greater community that was there before we came,” Fitzpatrick said. “I think it’s important to integrate the new ideas we’re forming with this community who have established themselves, who have been there and done that. It’s a great opportunity to mend ideas together.”

Kappa Kappa Psi, Cal Poly’s band fraternity, ran a “musical petting zoo,” where children had the opportunity try out different musical instruments. This is the second year the fraternity has attended the event. Cimo, a Cal Poly alum, was happy to see a large student presence at the event. This was not the case the first time they held Music Con. This year, the third time around, Cimo said students accounted for a “good chunk” of the effort at the event.

“I think it’s time that the people who are running the music scene here are also fully integrated with Cal Poly and what is coming out of the student population,” Cimo said. “There’s a lot of creativity there. I think deepening that connection is really important.”

Growing; unconventional; promising. When asked to describe the music scene San Luis Obispo in one word, these words came to students’ minds.

Recently, it seems like there’s a lot more bands, a lot more musical acts, and a lot more opportunities to hear cool music around SLO — whether that’s at house parties, downtown, or out in the middle of the woods, like SubSessions,” Absy said. “There are so many opportunities.”

Cimo said there are over 150 local bands on the Central Coast. That number continues to grow as students collaborate with musicians in the community.

Physics freshman and Kappa Kappa Psi member Chance Potter said the music scene in San Luis Obispo has allowed him to grow as an artist this past year.

“Everyone’s just trying to get their own content out to the community, and the community is very open about it, too,” Potter said. “I feel like I have a good reach as a musician in San Luis Obispo.”

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