Participants Info & Application:
Information for Entertainers
Registration begins April 16th / deadline is June 15th (annually)
(Applications can not be accepted after the selection / review process in June.)
- You may apply electronically by using SonicBids (A user fee is involved, but a great/paperless option!)
- Bands who have performed for two years in a row must take a mandatory one-year break to make room for new talent. This condition only applies to bands – not dance troupes etc.
- Please submit a Press Kit by mail or through SonicBids.com. If you choose not to use SonicBids, please print out an application, and submit it with a photo, promotional materials (which may be used in the press) and an audition media/CD with this application. Audition performance must be the same people/group/type as that at the Stroll. We will not return your media. You will be contacted intermittently (by email only) prior to a final email in late June.
- Performances will be mostly two 1-hour sets (AM or PM) every other hour (an hour on, an hour off), although there are a few exceptions for three sets. During the Parade, which starts at 10AM at the east end of Solano, and finishes at about 11:30 at the west end in Albany, stop performing until it passes. Getting equipment onto or off of the street after 10am poses a problem since the street is closed to traffic. There is no check in site. There are no parking passes. Drive carefully and do not block any driveways; please respect the residents and business owners on the street, thank you.
- Our pay ranges from $0 (we love volunteers!) to $300 plus any grant money that may be available. We know there is not a lot of money involved; you will get fantastic exposure and participate in a great community event! You may solicit donations and/or actually sell materials. You are responsible for collecting all sales tax if you do.
Here is everything you need to know about a sellers permit.
- Minimal amplification only. Your sound may not interfere with other activities on the street or you will be asked to leave. No sound is allowed from your site during your hour off, not even recorded music. Performers in the Berkeley area will have to sign sound permits and be accountable directly to the City of Berkeley for the allowable sound limits, although the SAA will pay for the permits which will be sent to you when accepted. We need to know in advance if you need electricity since these locations are limited. We do not provide sound systems or stages. You provide your own PA system.
- Begin set up at 8am. All vehicles must be off Solano by 10am. Parade begins at 10 as well. Shut down by 5:00PM! Street opens at 7pm when you may bring your vehicle onto Solano to load up, not before. You provide all that you will need: chairs, electric cords & duct tape to cover them, sunscreen, hats or shade. Be prepared, we can get a lot of wind from the bay – remember this if you read your music. Leave adequate room so that pedestrians may walk freely down the center of the street. Consider room for your audience. Do not block wheelchair ramps or fire hydrants. Each 3-block area is assigned a block captain to help with any problems (they wear bright safety vests). They and the police are in communication with the event headquarters at 1451 Solano.
- Attention Dance Performers and DJ’s: Please use edited or “radio versions” of the music that you play. Be mindful of the fact that the Solano Avenue Stroll is a family event, and the street will be full of very young ears. Thank you in advance.
We recommend that you provide a banner/sign with the name of your group, and have business cards available.
- In case of extremely bad weather or disaster, the show may be canceled (at the discretion of the promoter). Call 510-527-5358 for recorded information that morning if you think there may be an issue. Forecast rain (showers / or a greater chance than 25 percent) cancels all performances without compensation.
Frequently Asked Questions:
I am a performer, when will I know if I am going to participate?
Reviewing of the performers takes place every year promptly at the end of June. We will let you know soon afterwards by email – usually by mid-July.
What kind of music are you looking for?
The SAA [volunteer] Board of Directors changes frequently and so there is no “preference”. That being said it is safe to say that the Board looks for something exciting and up-beat. “Festival” music is a good way of describing it; however we do have space for more “reserved” acts.
Additional advice includes making the first cut/track on your demonstration CD really count. The Board has hundreds of CD’s to listen to so we do not have the resources to listen to full songs/albums during the review process.
How many “stages” do you have?
We technically only have one stage – our main stage or “grandstand”; we book two performers there. The other performance locations are typically on “the street”.
Do I have to submit a CD every year, even if it the same one I sent in previously?
Yes. The SAA [volunteer] Board of directors “updates” every year, and so current Board Members need to be able to review your work. Volunteers usually take the cd/media home after the “jurying” (at the end of June.)
Do performers have to pay for electricity?
I have been turned-down in the past. Should I bother applying?
Yes. We encourage and appreciate your diligence. The SAA Board of Directors evolves every year (they review the entertainment) and with every fresh Stroll comes a new state of affairs.
Do I need to include a self-addressed stamped envelope?
Yes, however note that media will not be returned to you.
I am a martial artist with a performing group, can we ask for money even though we are paying for a separate booth-space?
Yes, you can ask.
Do you supply the “PA” or sound system?
No, we really only provide “real estate” on the Avenue.
Do you provide “hospitality suites” or hotel accommodations?
No, we hope someday we can afford to provide “VIP” services to out of town performers.
I am considering the Solano Avenue Stroll through “Sonicbids” and am considering visiting Solano from another State, is the Solano Avenue Stroll worth the trip?
It depends on your goals and resources. If your goal is to develop new business, Solano might be a little far. If you have always wanted an excuse to visit the wonderful San Francisco Bay Area (or California in general) then this is it. The Solano Avenue Stroll is a closed-street festival and so if you do not consider yourself a “street” performer, this might not be the caliber of event for you. It is not a “music festival” with a “main stage” or other concentrated “focus of attention”. Obviously it is not a trip you would do for the money.
Can I sell materials (CDs etc.)?
Not unless you possess a valid sellers permit. It is my understanding that you can “give-away” items based on a financial “donation” like public television does (in some cases). You can get a single day resellers permit from the California State Board of Equalization.
Here is everything you need to know about a sellers permit.
Can I just email you a link to my website instead of a CD?
Unless you are using Sonicbids, we prefer a CD (and an “ink” signature on the registration release).
How do you choose the headlining act for the main stage?
Reviewing of the performers takes place every year promptly at the end of June (after registration is closed). Of the bands chosen at that time, we then designate the act that stood-out during that process as the “headliner” for the main stage. Depending on the logistical needs of the group(s), we may only host one, and have a maximum of two groups (a co-headliner).
Why do I have to send physical materials (photos / CDs / DVDs) with my registration; why can’t I just send you a link to my website or email you photos?
The selection for music and crafter “jurying” is essentially done in a circle of people (the Solano Avenue Association voluntary Board of Directors), passing around your registration packets. Because of the number of participants, having information “scattered” is not practical, and in the case of technology failure (via lost emails, failed memory devices, dead laptop batteries and more) it is best that we have physical materials from you “in-hand” during the screening process. (The exception being performers who apply through Sonicbids.)
How does the pay scale work?
Typically, the most we pay for a band if $300. $300 is our maximum rate with a larger band with usually three performance times. Solo / duo artists should ask for a little less. The distance you are travelling and number of performance slots are major payment factors. We do not typically pay for performances from “organizations” or performing art schools. We know this is a pittance; with the cost of amplified sound permits and the sheer number of acts this is the limit of our budget at this time. We may even offer you less than you ask for on your registration form.
Please distribute all relevant information to your entire group!
You can find a performers [day of event] “instruction sheet” on the FAQ page here:
Stroll FAQ (Frequent Questions and Answers)