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 The Scoop on Fest '99

Melanie Heyl

It seems like the winners from last years Karaoke Fest were just being announced, and already it is time to mark our calendars for the final event of the millennium: Karaoke Fest '99. Where did the year (the decade, the century, etc.) go? Well, wherever it went, it has brought us to right now, when the topic on everyone's minds is Karaoke Fest '99. (Okay, and the question, "Is the Blair Witch thing real or a hoax?")

This year, Karaoke Fest will be held at the Hollywood Park Casino in Inglewood on Sunday, October 10, at 2pm and it is a spectacular venue. It can hold twice as large a crowd as last year. The showroom also features big screen TVs around the room with cameras shooting the action onstage, so every seat has a front row view.

Response to last year's expanded competition and awards was so favorable, we've expanded even more for '99. First, the KJ of the Year Awards has been divided into two categories: KJs who own and operate their own Karaoke Company and KJs who work strictly as a "host for hire". All of the KJs will be hosting portions of the show as in years past, but this year winners will be selected from each category. There will also be a separate category in the Creme de la Creme singing competition for KJs who wish to compete as singers rather that hosts.

The Creme de la Creme singing competition has also undergone some changes. Winners will be selected in three separate categories. As already mentioned, singers who work as KJs will have their own category this year. There will also be a "Duets" category, and singers 21 and over make up the 3rd "Adult" category. (Seniors will be included in this category.) The top three singers in each category will be presented with awards, making a total of 9 singing awards among the adult categories.

The part of the show that is a favorite for many, the Mighty Mites and Jammin' Juniors will be much the same as last year. The only difference is that instead of a male and female winner, the top three singers in each category will be awarded. (3 Mighty Mites and 3 Jammin' Juniors). Singers 12 and under are in the Mighty Mites category, while singers between the ages of 13 and 20 are Jammin' Juniors.

Another new feature at this year's Karaoke Fest is the presentation of the "Karaoke Club of the Year" Award. Many of you expressed an interest in recognizing your favorite Karaoke venues, so we answered the call. You will find a ballot for "Club of the Year" below, so fill it out and send it in to nominate you favorite singing spot. We will be presenting awards to the top clubs in Los Angeles, San Fernando County, Orange County, Ventura County and the Inland Empire, with one club being named Southern California's Karaoke Club of the Year. The top contenders based on ballots sent in will be announced in the October/November issue of Karaoke Scene. At the Fest, attendees will have their chance to cast their vote for their favorite club. The winner will be determined based on the number of votes received, which will count for 75% and their overall commitment to and support for Karaoke as determined by a selection panel, which will makeup the remaining 25%. The panel will consider activities, involvement in the Karaoke community, and anything else that demonstrates a strong support for Karaoke in general.

During Karaoke Fest we will also be making special awards presentations to honor the people and places that often go unrecognized. Last year over 60 such awards were presented, and the recipients enjoyed the recognition. That is what Karaoke Fest is all about: celebrating the people and places that make Karaoke the wonderful form of entertainment that it is.

In addition to the big show, the Karaoke Expo will also be in full swing. Karaoke distributors and manufacturers, vocal coaches and others will be on hand to show their wares and meet and greet the Karaoke public. This is your chance to see the latest in Karaoke gear, try it out, and meet the people who bring it to you. Of course, there will be plenty of opportunities to sing, both at the various booths and at the open Karaoke area, hosted once again this year by KJ Felix. Last year, he had the open Karaoke stage jumping all night long!



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