Big Sturgis Gig

Big Sturgis Gig Band Search Showcases Community of Buffalo Chip Hopefuls

One Band Wins $10,000 in Cash plus Prizes and a Shot on the Big Stage!

The Buffalo Chip’s Big Sturgis Gig™ is a new interactive band-submission platform that allows artists to showcase themselves among the community of bands hoping to play at the Chip’s annual Sturgis Rally festival. Bands can now upload mp3s, video, photos and bio information onto their own dedicated Big Sturgis Gig band profile page. This page will allow fans to explore the community of interested bands, and to vote for and share their favorites. Each time a fan interacts with a band’s page, that band will earn valuable points. At the end of the voting period a panel of celebrity musicians and music industry execs will review the top ten bands with the highest points and choose one to win the Big Sturgis Gig on the Buffalo Chip Main Stage. 


Meet the Judges

Dee Snider
Dee Snider is an American singer-songwriter, screenwriter, radio personality and actor who is most famous for his role as the frontman of the heavy metal band, Twisted Sister. He was ranked 83 in the Hit Parader’s Top 100 Metal Vocalists of All Time. Dee joined Twisted Sister in 1976, helping bring the world hits such as “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock.” He has also been a television personality, hosting “Heavy Metal Mania” on MTV in the ‘80s and later, with his wife and family, on reality show, “Growing Up Twisted” on A&E. Dee a world-class musician who knows what it takes to rock the Best Party Anywhere, having performed at the Chip with Twisted Sister in 2005. 


Pat Simmons
Pat Simmons is a musician most well known for being the lead vocalist for the rock band, The Doobie Brothers. Pat wrote many songs for the band including “South City Midnight Lady,” “Dependin’ On You,” “Echoes of Love” and “Black Water.” When Pat decided to leave the group in 1982, the band temporarily disbanded and he released his first solo album, Arcade. While taking a break from the Doobie Brothers, he formed the band Skin Suit and released a second solo album in 1998, “Take Me to the Highway.” Pat Simmons and the rest of the Doobie Brothers have been a mainstay to the Chip’s annual Motorcycle and Music Festival, having performed in 1991, 1995, 2010 and 2013.


Phil Jaurigui
Phil Jaurigui is the President/CEO of Swing House Studios, which is celebrating being in business for 20 years. He started the company out of desperation - pursuing the Rock & Roll dream was not exactly lucrative. After being laid off from Capitol Records, where he worked in the copy room,and having surviving the L.A. Riots and Northridge Earthquake, he found a building in total disrepair with affordable rent and learned to deal with the various miscreants who also called the block home. Slowly the business grew from 1 room to 3 rooms, and now there are 7 rooms in the 'Rock & Roll Compound'. Swing House Studios includes 2 sound stages, 3 rehearsal rooms, 2 recording studios, radio broadcasting booths for The Independent.FM, as well as a fully stocked rental and cartage department for outside productions. Many a famous band was showcased, created, signed or even broken up in the storied studio over the years. The Killers, Awolnation, Yellowcard, The Fray, Maroon 5, Fitz and the Tantrums and The Goo Goo Dolls all grew to stardom at Swing House. The Red Hot Chili Peppers wrote, rehearsed and demo’d the classic “Californication” album and Aerosmith recorded their latest release all at Swing House. 


Kevin Lyman
Kevin Lyman is best known as the producer and creator of the hugely successful Vans Warped Tour, the world’s longest running traveling music and extreme sports festival. The “punk rock summer camp” has introduced audiences to such artists as No Doubt, Sublime, Blink-182, My Chemical Romance, Eminem, 3OH!3 and Fall Out Boy among hundreds of others. In 2007, Lyman partnered with John Reese to present the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, a summer hard rock festival featuring 15 metal bands including acts such as Slipknot, Disturbed and Slayer. Kevin and 4 Fini, Inc. have also produced numerous other successful tour events including the Country Throwdown Tour, Rockstar Energy Drink Taste of Chaos Tour, The Watcha Tour, Down From the Mountain Tour, Sprite Liquid Mix Tour and Great High Mountain Tour. In addition to production, Kevin is part owner of Side One Dummy Record Company, which has an impressive yet diverse roster including Flogging Molly, Suicidal Tendencies, Bedouin Soundclash, Gogol Bordello and Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band.


Michael Canter
Michael Canter is the founder and CEO of Milwaukee-based, a DIY digital press kit distribution and social marketing platform for independent bands and fans of indie music. Michael got his start in the music industry in 2009 writing album reviews for various online publications. Over the past two years Michael has helped book over 600 bands into festivals and gig opportunities across the country, including the annual Spring Break ATX at South By Southwest, International Pop Overthrow, Milwaukee Summerfest and Rocklahoma. Michael also provides video content for local television network affiliates nationwide and is launching the Jivewired Television Network in September 2014, focusing on music and extreme sports programming. Michael has worked with some of the top independent bands in the country, including Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds, Jeff Campbell, Lee Bains III & Glory Fires, The Belle Brigade, The Heroine, Buffalo Killers, Left Lane Cruiser and Robby Krieger’s new touring band, Jam Kitchen.  


Michael Arfin
Michael Arfin has been a booking agent with Artist Group International since 1997. He has contributed to the development and worldwide success of many superstar acts including Linkin Park and Rammstein. His diverse roster also includes Hollywood Undead, Mindless Self Indulgence, Redlight King, Stone Temple Pilots, The Unlikely Candidates, Truckfighters, The Dirty Loops, Icon for Hire, MC Yogi, Japanese pop star Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and Japanese Metal Kings Dir En Grey, among others. Arfin started his music business career at Concrete Marketing in 1991, toured the country in 1992 on U2’s ZOO TV Stadium tour as a merchandise coordinator and also worked as a management rep for Moby at MCT Management immediately prior to joining AGI.


Kevin “Chief” Zaruk
Kevin Zuruk is owner and manager of Chief Music Management, a world-class Vancouver-based management company, which has represented some of rock and country’s biggest names since 2006. Their current roster includes: Florida-Georgia Line, Hinder, My Darkest Days, Dallas Smith, Joey Moi, Matt Walst (of My Darkest Days/Three Days Grace), Jason Newsted, The New Electric, Wes Mack and Head of the Herd. Chief has over 20 years of experience in the music industry. During his early days at a Vancouver music studio, he began working with members of the now world-renowned group, Nickelback. After forming a connection and mixing sound for the band, Chief became a mainstay in the partnership as Nickelback’s audio engineer, and toured the world as its sound tech and tour manager for 11 years. In 2011, Chief’s reputation as a tour manager connected him with Charlie Sheen on his North American comedy tour, then later the top eight contestants from NBC’s “The Voice.” Chief is also a partner in Big Loud Mountain Records, a company offering publishing, production and management service, which has already signed both Florida-Georgia Line and Dallas Smith.


Pamela "Sunshine" Washbourne
Pamela “Sunshine” Washbourne is the founder and CEO of AXiS Entertainment. This Tulsa-based company offers event production, coordination, and promotion, as well as artist management and booking. Sunshine has established herself as a leader in the entertainment industry nation-wide. AXiS partners with AEG Live each year at Rocklahoma as one of the four official stages, and assists local and national festivals with production, booking and management. In addition to AXiS, Sunshine is owner and editor-in-chief of NO Cover Tulsa, a music-only, full-color, travel-sized magazine.


Sean Fuller
At an early age, it was clear Sean Fuller was destined for drumming. Most recently, he joined the country super-duo, Florida Georgia Line, where his experience in varying playing styles has allowed him to excel in the group’s mix of hip-hop, R&B and rock feels. Fuller came from a family of musicians and began playing his first “pots and pans” drum set at age six. After playing the local club circuit in multiple bands, Fuller moved to Nashville, where he worked his craft playing the famous Lower Broadway circuit and on demo records for some of the hit songwriters in Music City, such as Hilary Lindsey and Dallas Davidson. Fuller soon met his first major act, Luke Bryan, and continued to play through the launching stages of Luke’s career—appearing in music videos such as “We Rode in Trucks” and “All My Friends Say.” Fuller then toured with rock group, Vulpine, then spent five years touring with country star, Justin Moore. You can catch Sean on the current “Here’s to the Good Times” 2014 headline tour with Florida Georgia Line and on the Jason Aldean “Burn it Down” Tour.


John Bongiorno
John Bongiorno is an agent at The Windish Agency and based out of NY.  His diverse roster includes many left of center bands including Les Claypool, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Goblin, and Buffalo Chip staple The 4OnTheFloor.  Over the years he has worked with a wide range of artists from Alice Cooper to Mastodon to BB King to Halestorm to Dr. John and many more.  Unlike many of his peers in the music business, he skipped college and jumped right into a tour van out of high school and played drums in various bands over the years, and for a long stretch was pulling double duty as an agent by day and musician by night.  He’s now settled down into his career but his passion for music, both old and new, has never subsided. 


Dave Kiswiney
A native of Detroit MI., David started his music career at the age of 6 with classical piano lessons. He graduated from high school playing slide trombone in the Marching Band. From there he played drums in small college rock bands until he moved over to the bass guitar and eventually ended up playing with Ted Nugent, The Motor City Madman, from 1979 to 1990 and is still actively playing music ...part time of course. David moved to Nashville in 1984 and started in the agency business in 1986 and eventually settled down at BLA. He has been with BLA since 1995.


Steve Peck
Veteran agent, Steve Peck, has been working in the music industry as an agent since 1977. Steve is Vice President of Skyline Music, a booking agency that has brought in acts such as Roger McGuinn, Victor Wooten, The Family Stone, Edgar Winter, Georgia Satellites, and the Rebirth Brass Band. Previously Steve Peck was with Buddy Lee Attractions and was formerly the head of Fantasma Booking. Steve Peck has been with Skyline Music since 2011. 


Nat Burgess
Nat Burgess, former Executive Vice President of the Agency for the Performing Arts, began his music career with a guitar in 1962. He began playing in small clubs and church basements with the likes of Joe Walsh, then started his booking career at the William Morris Agency in 1973. Nat landed a job in the famed mailroom of the Morris office, went on to become an assistant in the concert department and was eventually made an agent with responsibility for a mid-west territory. While at William Morris during the ‘70s, nat had the opportunity to work with both established and emerging artists, and was involved with many of the acts that are considered legend today. In 1984, Nat had the opportunity to move to APA where he eventually became a partner. While in New York Nat was responsible for APA’s music departments in Nashvilee, New York and Los Angeles, and was overall head of the Manhattan office. He worked to expand the music program, to grain agents, and to book artists in venues around the world. In 1995 he began to concentrate on the lucrative casino market and successfully placed many artists in these and other “non-traditional” venues. In June of 2005, Nat opted to leave the agency world. He and his wife established Whitepine Entertainment, a talent management and consulting company in northwest Montana where they are surrounded by 2.5 million acres of national forest and there’s no cell service.


Bujie Leichtweis
Bujie Leichtweis has had a life driven by music. Even when she owned her own skate shops and indoor skate parks, she would often volunteer at Meridian Entertainment Group, simply to be involved in the music industry. Her time spent at Meridian would eventually lead to a full-time position with the company where she worked closely with many bands, and ran many venues in the Michigan/Indiana/Ohio area. Bujie established relationships among agencies, management companies and bands alike, including Buffalo Chip favorite Alice Cooper, with whom she now works as a Production Assistant. During her time with Alice she has had the opportunity to work with many artists including Iron Maiden, Marilyn Manson, and, another Chip favorite, ZZ Top. 


Glen Sobel
Currently on tour with rock legend, Alice Cooper, Glen Sobel has played drums in a variety of genres including rock, hip hop, pop, metal, punk, and fusion. Recent live events have found Glen playing behind such heavyweights as Steven Tyler, Rob Halford, Weird Al, Pat Simmons & Michael McDonald of The Doobie Brothers, Robie Krieger of The Doors, Ke$ha, Orianthi, Johnny Depp, Mike Meyers and many more. In 2013, Glen placed 1st runner up in DRUM Magazine’s Drummies Readers Poll in both the Rising Star and Rock/Metal categories. Glen has also conducted and appeared at CLINICS AND DRUM FESTIVALS internationally for Mapex drums, Regal Tip Sticks and Sabian Cymbals. In addition he has established establish himself as a respected player and teacher in LA, being hired on as instructor at MUSICIANS INSTITUTE (Percussion Institute of Technology or PIT). A seasoned pro with world tour experience, Glen has developed a reputation for being a quick study, known to learn an entire set of material in a day or record a CD’s worth of songs on short notice. He spends much of his time in Los Angeles doing sessions for some of the music industry’s top producers. His performances are dynamic and visual, and his track record as a session player is impressive.

More Judges To Be Announced Soon

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