Sound Off!

The Northwest’s premier 21 and under battle of the bands.

An annual event since 2001, EMP’s Sound Off! supports the all-ages scene by giving artists an opportunity to showcase original music, launch their music careers, and connect with the larger artistic community.

Now in its 15th year, Sound Off! has paved the way for some amazing bands and artists including The Lonely Forest, Dyme Def, Sol, Kithkin, Schoolyard Heroes, Tomten, and Brite Futures. Read more about, listen to tracks, and watch videos below of the 2015 group of Sound Off! bands that joined the ranks of these luminary musicians.

Sound Off! 2016 call for entries is now closed. The 2016 bands will be announced in mid-December!

Sound Off! Info + More


Participants must be age 21 or under and residents of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, or British Columbia.


A panel of music industry professionals will review all applicants and select 12 bands to perform live at EMP. Bands will be scored on song composition and arrangement, creativity and originality, and technical ability and musicianship. All categories will be weighted equally. Judges may consider the following:

Composition and Arrangement

How sophisticated and/or effective are the musical arrangements, vocals, lyrics, and melody, rhythms and/or technologies, and instrumentation?

Creativity and Originality

Have you ever heard anything like this? Is this a sound they have created? Are the musicians taking a unique approach?

Technical Ability and Musicianship

Are the musicians proficient with their instruments? Are they in time and in tune? Are the vocals on key?

Band selection criteria subject to change without notice.

For more Sound Off! info and to connect with other musicians in the Northwest, check out EMP’s all-ages music Facebook page, The Soundboard. Download the Rules + Regulations or FAQ (PDFs) to learn more.


Email SoundOff@EMPmuseum.org

Sound Off! is made possible, in part, by support from:

BNSF Railway

Additional support generously provided by:

ChipotledwDunlopFenderSennheiserKEXP 90.3London BridgeFastback StudiosCapitol Hill Block Party Bumbershoot TimberNorthwest FolklifeTalking Rain