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09-03-14-take-the-stage.gifFayetteville and its nearby neighbors are rich with talent. The local music scene thrives with local artists gracing stages, music halls and cof-fee shops pretty much every night of the week. But how do those artists aspiring to enter a full-time music career get from being “in” Fayetteville to being “from” Fayetteville? Unfortunately, the formula for success is not as easy as the myriad of 10-step books lining the shelves of every book store, or they would all be on their way.

The truth of the matter is this: Success for any artist is found only in the eye of the beholder. Period. That’s why WCLN decided to host a regional talent search we called Take the Stage. Putting the call out to musicians and their mothers from Raleigh to Lumberton, we received dozens of entries. We had to work our way through everything from slick, semi-professional videos to recordings made on living room couches, to pare the submissions down to 16 hopefuls we invited to appear on four stages in Fayetteville, Lumberton, Dunn and Clinton.

Show after show, the result was an astounded audience. The profession-alism and musicianship of the bands and artists that entered each venue simply blew each audience away. While there were no losers in the com-petition, we still had to address the challenge of choosing the best. Using a panel of music professionals, we combined their scores with the votes of the crowd to determine a winner for each of the four shows to appear at a final event being staged as part of the Cumberland County Fair on September 7.

Of course, there is a point to all of this. There is an annual event staged by Temple Baptist Church known as NextFest. The free-to-attend event features national acts and has always incorporated regional talent. As the church booked a major tour for 2014, they found themselves relegated to a single local act with some stiff parameters on how they could even stage them. Enter WCLN. Our job is to be part of the bridge between artist and audience. We didn’t see one slot, we saw one opportunity. One chance for a local artist to be exposed to an eager crowd on the same stage as several Top 10 artists.

Now we’re inviting you. We’ve eliminated the judges, and will turn it over to the crowd on September 7th. Four artists will Take the Stage beginning at 6 p.m., at the Crown Complex Theater, and one will walk away with the promise of climbing on the NextFest stage along with Family Force 5, 7eventh Time Down, and the Newsboys in October.

And then we’ll wave goodbye. For together, we will have accomplished the goal: Helping someone go from being “in” Fayetteville, to being “from” Fayetteville.

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