Charleston will join top music-centric cities like Nashville, Athens, and Portland in BandSwap 2014, a nationwide cultural exchange program of sorts. Sponsored by the City Paper, BandSwap is a chance for one lucky Charleston band to travel to Colorado alongside other winning bands from participating cities on an all-expenses-paid trip that includes paid gigs, networking and educational events, and media blasts to boot.

“It’s an opportunity to advance as a band and a small business,” BandSwap Founder Dani Grant says, “to learn more about marketing and promotion, and it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet bands and make industry connections from all over the country and proudly represent Charleston, SC.”

It all starts by voting now for your favorite band via the City Paper, choosing from five different genres. The open nomination process ends April 23, at which point the public can vote for qualifying nominees. Voting ends on May 6,and a panel of local and national industry professionals will choose a winner. The winning artist will be announced on June 7 during the Piccolo Spoleto finale in Hampton Park.

The Royal American will host the Charleston BandSwap event on September 20 during an all-day, three-stage event with the city’s winning artist co-headlining with their counterpart from a partner city. The BandSwap tour begins on October 1.

Musicians take note: To qualify, you must be over 18 years old. Be sure you can draw a local crowd of 50 to 100 and have a wide-open schedule. Musicians must not have current management or label representation, and you should be serious about pursuing music as a career, a.k.a living the dream.

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