Beauty contest. Popularity contest. Homecoming king and queen. Whatever you want to call them, our annual Music Awards (and others like ours) are merely a celebration of local talent. The voting aspect exists purely for entertainment purposes, and while that statement may seem blindingly obvious, it bears repeating –– you’d be amazed at the whining that goes on every year after the ballot comes out: “My band’s nominated under ‘Heavy Metal’! We’re actually hard rock with heavy metal influences!” “You forgot my cousin Joey’s band. You clearly don’t know anything about music.” “You see, if you shoot pool with Anthony Mariani, you can get your band on the ballot.” Sometimes I just wanna shout, “Stop making sense!

Having been at the helm for the Weekly’s Music Awards for the past 12 years and for other music-award campaigns in other cities even longer, I’d like to think that a little competition, however patently superficial and lighthearted, is unifying. Even if your band isn’t nominated, maybe your best friend’s or your sister’s band is. Cheer them on. Spread the love and all that jazz.

Putting together the ballot is easy. About a month before publication date, I solicit write-in votes from about 30 local movers and shakers (club owners/managers, booking agents, Weekly writers, other local writers, veteran musos). I compile their votes, add my own, and –– bada-bing, bada-boom –– here’s your ballot.

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As you may notice, the 2014 edition represents a couple executive decisions I’ve made over the past few months, the most noticeable being in the individual categories. Instead of voting for a musician for an entire body of work, voters now get to select a favorite performance, Oscars-style. The change was necessitated by the fact that the same few musicians were being nominated (and, in some cases, were winning) every year. Voting for performances simply will allow some new blood to join the fun. Vote now by following this link.

The best part of the whole shebang, of course, is the festival. Our 12th Annual Fort Worth Weekly Music Awards Festival will take place on Sunday, June 22, at several venues in the West 7th Street corridor. Once I reach a critical mass of confirmations, I’ll announce some of the 48 performers, all 2014 nominees, in this column. As always, the festival will be free. For a smorgasbord of 817-based or -bred talent, a free smorgasbord, there’s really no better event in the world. Mark your calendars.

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  1. It bears repeating – if you’re gonna do a music awards show, you should learn about the bands so you can properly categorize them. At the very least, consult a committee of your peers to figure that out. If you can’t understand why that’s frustrating to the people in bands who get mis-categorized, you’re extremely thick!

    • I would imagine it’s difficult to categorize bands. No matter how much thought is given to it, you’ll still end up with some bands in categories that don’t fit right because great bands don’t always fit neatly into categories.

    • It’s tougher than you think. The music awards nominations are picked by a committee of his peers — local promoters, booking people, club owners, music writers, etc. As someone on the committee, I can tell you categorizing the bands is the toughest part.

      Some bands, in my experience, toe the line between multiple genres. So I think the way it works is that two or more people on the committee have to have nominated a band in a category in order for that band to get on the ballot. So it’s not one guy arbitrarily assigning a band to a genre.