Wisconsin Area Music Industry (better known as “WAMI”) has recognized the accomplishments of in-state musicians for the last 34 years. For almost as long, people have bemoaned the organization—sometimes with good reason—for doling out hardware to bands with direct WAMI ties, tone deaf nominations in the futile quest to include all quadrants of the state on the ballot, and awarding both cover and tribute bands for some reason. Despite the unending criticism, allegations of cronyism, and the debatable significance of the WAMI Awards altogether (that even splits our own staff in twain), the WAMIs are happening, people, whether you like it or not.
Earlier this week, the group announced its 35th annual WAMI Awards show, which will take place Sunday, April 19 at Turner Hall. Last year’s event was held at the Appleton Performing Arts Center. Thursday, WAMI also put out People’s Choice Awards ballot. Though the board doesn’t trust non-members with selecting winners for its Polka and Keyboard Player categories, among others, the group is letting civilians pick 16 total winners (winners of four categories for each of its four regions) for its People’s Choice Awards. Awards on the ballot include: Artist Of The Year, Radio Station Of The Year, Music Venue Of The Year, and Music Teacher Of The Year.
While organizers claim they’re taking measures to address problems in the process, the WAMI Awards will never be perfect. However, those upset that certain musicians, venues, and stations aren’t getting the attention they deserve can at least use this small outlet to make their voice heard. Similar to politics, voting for this grants you the right to complain as much as you want on Facebook after the fact. The full list of nominations will reportedly be released next week. No matter who winds up winning and how in-tune those winners are with the state’s actual music climate, everyone should be able to get behind the group’s efforts to highlight positive things happening in Wisconsin music.
Tickets to the show are on sale now. They cost $15 for students and $35 adults ($59.99 VIP and $99.99 couple VIP). Holy shit, that’s too expensive.