Sound N Vision Marks 10th Anniversary with Concerts, Fund Drive and New Collaboration

Pixies frontman Frank Black rocks Cellar Door at Sound N Vision show. Photo by John Tipton.
Pixies frontman Frank Black rocks Cellar Door at Sound N Vision show. Photo by John Tipton.

The Sound N Vision Foundation, which creates and promotes culturally diverse events in the Visalia area, marks its 10th anniversary this month.

During that time, Sound N Vision has provided the community with shows featuring national touring artists from around the world, and created events to put the spotlight on local performers. The many acts that SNV has brought to Visalia stages include: “Best New Artist” Grammy Award-winner Bon Iver, indie-rock giant Vampire Weekend, “Best Classical Crossover Album” Grammy Award-winner Jake Shimabukuro and arena-filling band Foster the People.

Through the years, Sound N Vision has partnered with other non-profits and local businesses to deliver a variety of festivals and events. SNV has also provided free music and art classes in the summer for local youth.

“For the past decade, I have spent countless days and nights with local strangers that later have become close friends,” said Aaron Gomes, SNV executive director. “I’ve had the pleasure of hosting concerts by appreciative young bands that have in some cases gone on to become seasoned Grammy Award winners. And, I’ve watched some of our city’s youth blossom into young adult musicians and artists right before my eyes.

“Back 10 years ago, I was writing music and touring with my own bands,” Gomes recalled about the beginnings of Sound N Vision. “I met bands touring up and down the coast.” When Gomes started having children, he didn’t want to perform on stage, but he wanted to stay involved in the music business.

“You get older and you start realizing you want to make a difference on a bigger scale,” he said, adding that as a teacher for 14 years he has long had a passion to help kids, in addition to his passion for music.

Gomes is grateful for the music lessons he had as a child. “Not all kids have this exposure,” he said. “I wanted to give kids this opportunity. The idea was to get their feet wet by exposing them to music.”

Meanwhile, SNV was putting on more and more concerts, which were getting larger. The indie bands started to get signed by major labels. “All of the sudden, the shows started to get really big, and the show guarantees (up-front money paid to bands) got to be hundreds of dollars.”

Gomes credits then-Visalia City Manager Steve Salomon with seeing the value of Sound N Vision as an important part of the city’s image as a “cultural oasis.” Salomon helped SNV get 501(3)c status in two months. “We’ve just passed the five-year probationary period,” Gomes noted.

The Sound N Vision Foundation is planning two concerts on Friday, August 15th to celebrate its ten years of booking events. The first party will be an intimate all-ages free concert at Velouria Records, 101 W. Main St., Visalia, with The Mattson 2 performing at 7pm. The party continues for those 21+ that night with a 9:30pm show at Cellar Door when the Mattson 2 play once again, this time after opening band Taco Wagon. Both events are free, but donations are welcomed.

“The Mattson 2 music has soundtracked some of my favorite modern surf films, and have a new album coming out in conjunction with this show,” explained Gomes about the band’s selection. “The timing of their Agar tour matched up perfectly with our celebration. It was destiny that my favorite instrumental duo would end up playing the party. We had to give the event to the community. “

Two days later, SNV will host its first-ever all-ages show at the Cellar Door.

“For many years now, Sound N Vision Foundation has been trying to find a suitable all ages venue to allow youth to experience the top-tier entertainment they’ve been bringing to Cellar Door on a weekly basis,” said Gomes.

“Organizers finally realized that their all-ages venue had been waiting for them all along.

“Emails were exchanged with the city planning commission and we learned that the Cellar Door can function like a regular downtown restaurant as long as the all-ages concert event is over by 9pm. So the Cellar Door will finally be able to offer a few all-ages shows to the kids every year.

“Being that this is our first all ages show at Cellar Door, we figured Helio Sequence was a great choice,” he continued. “They’ve influenced much of the younger bands coming out of the Portland area. We want young kids to experience a band that has pioneered and fostered a sound and helped build a scene in their city, that later blossomed on a large scale. In addition, they’re the nicest guys, always talking, encouraging and inspiring fans after the show.”

SNV will channel its efforts into a collective known as Culture 5, a group founded over the past two weeks that will combine Sound N Vision and people who “are going to stay unnamed,” said Gomes.

“Culture 5 is going to exemplify the finer tastes in music, visual art, craft beers, food and artisan crafts,” Gomes explained, adding that those five elements inspired the group’s name. “Culture 5 is a collective that will work alongside Sound N Vision. It will be bringing in all the other aspects of life and what people enjoy. Beyond the festival, we will have free events along with social media and print. We’re going to announce all that. I can guarantee you that by next year it’s going to have a huge presence.”

Culture 5’s first major event will be a festival on October 18th at Rawhide Park that will feature music, visual art, artisan crafts, food and craft brewers.

“It’s just bringing all the art mediums together,” said Gomes, estimating that the crowd will “easily be in the thousands.”

The headliner will be Nick Waterhouse, a rhythm & blues and soul revivalist.

“He’s a really big deal,” said Gomes, adding that he sells out concerts everywhere he goes. “The reason I chose Nick Waterhouse is that his sound is timeless. Your dad can enjoy it with you, as well as your kids. He’s cool and superhip.”

Meanwhile, Sound N Vision will continue planning its own programs and events. In fact, SNV has plans to grow.

The next step for Sound N Vision, according to Gomes, is to provide free music and art classes for the youth of Visalia year round. SNV has an Indiegogo campaign underway for this goal, as well as to purchase a variety of instruments, including quality ukuleles to get even younger kids (with their smaller hands) involved in music, and have some money in the bank for deposits on bigger shows.

“Our fundraising partnership with Indiegogo ends on August 23 and we hope to raise at least $6,000 to grow our services,” said Gomes. “I’m hoping that the community SNV has invested so much in, will in turn, invest in SNV by donating to this fundraiser campaign.”

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