Promoter sees cottage industry in music scene |

Promoter sees cottage industry in music scene

Rob Sabo

Mike Sion sees the potential for a new cottage industry for Reno in its underground music scene.

Sion, promoter for the fourth annual Made in Reno music festival, says Reno is on the cusp of becoming a music destination because of a strong cadre of local musicians and venues that can fit any size of event.

The Made in Reno music festival, a two-night show featuring 20 artists, will be March 30-31 at The Underground. Though Sion doesn’t expect to make much money from the event he gets a cut of the gate each night he views part of his role as promoter is to help advance Reno’s prominence as a music destination.

“I am trying to be a catalyst to grow what will be Reno’s next big industry,” says Sion, who also works as a freelance writer and a ghostwriter. “All the elements are in place to create a music scene of regional importance such as a mini Austin or a mini Nashville. This is my way of priming the economy of Reno.”

Sion calls Reno’s music scene its “greatest and most secret asset,” and says that getting venues such as The Underground, Knitting Factory, Pioneer Theater and casino showrooms on the same page can help make the Biggest Little City a destination for musicians and music fans.

“If we get all the major players in Reno to foster this original scene, so that tourists and outsiders come here to hear our music, and bands move to Reno to make it the way they do in Austin, Seattle or Los Angeles, we will see brand-new industry that is a perfect fit for Reno.”

Putting together a 20-act show presents major logistical headaches, Sion says. He’ll spend about 100 hours coordinating and signing bands, distributing flyers and posters, publicizing the event, conducting media outreach, and finding judges, sponsors and emcees for the show. He’ll also work as stage manager during the two-night stint at The Underground.

Remi Jourdan, owner of The Underground, says his venue has focused on spotlighting local acts for several years.

“It is unbelievable how much talent Reno has to offer, and the numbers keep growing each year,” Jourdan says.

Adds Sion: “We have an awful lot of artists on the bill,” he says. “It is a tremendous logistical effort, but it is all worth it.”

A song from the top acts of each night will be added to the rotation at KDOT 104.5 FM, which will help expose new listeners to the band’s music.

“It is another way to shine the light on artists in Reno,” Sion says.