How are the award winners decided?
Awards in each category are determined by popular vote. During our two-week voting period each September or October, everyone who wishes to vote is welcome to cast a ballot through this website. To help make the awards as fair as possible, we use several different anti-cheating measures to ensure that each voter’s choices are counted once—but only once. The awards committee might also choose to honor a person or group with one of two special awards: the Freeman Lacy award, for long-term contributions to the local music community, or the Hall of Fame award, for an exceptional record of award winning over many years.
How do you decide who is listed on the ballot?
We have a two-week nominations period every August or September, and anyone can submit nominations during that time. Every local musician and band who is nominated, and who has performed publicly in the Billings area during the past year, will be included on the ballot. If you’d like to be notified when nominations open each year, sign up for our announcement list and we’ll let you know by email, or watch our Facebook page.
How do you decide what category to list a band under?
To keep the ballot a more manageable size, we do limit each band to one category, which we determine by looking at the band’s own description of their music online. When a tiebreaker is needed (for example, if a band describes their music as “country rock”) we list the band in whatever category their fans nominated them in most often.
Why don’t you have a category for ________?
We are interested to hear your suggestions for new categories, and we collect those each year on our nomination form, or send us a note. In general, we only create a category when there are multiple bands or people active in that area—for example, we’d need to have a few different local ska or reggae bands before we create a reggae/ska category.
Why have categories at all?
We hope that it helps our voters find new local music that might interest them. When the 2,000+ people voting see your name on the ballot, this way they’ll have some idea of what your music is like, and hopefully that will lead some of them to want to learn more about you.
Isn’t this just a pointless popularity contest?
We hope not! Our goal is to get Billings excited about its vibrant music scene, and to mobilize the public to support local music and musicians. We also hope that the nominations process, visibility from being listed on the ballot, recognition for runners-up, and our awards show all help to encourage and publicize a large number of local musicians and bands.