The fourth annual Ventura County Music Awards will be held on Friday, Sept. 9, at the Commemorative Air Force Museum in Camarillo. “This is great for our music community,” said Tim Amoroso, event organizer.  “It brings people together.  People who play in bars every weekend, with so much talent. It’s a way to give those artists recognition.”

With dozens of artists nominated in 19 different categories, the VCMA is the largest music awards event in Ventura County.  There will be 20 performances throughout the night, starting with Fallen Saints to open the show. Other performers include Mitchell Blake, The Velveteen Band, Sin Nombre and Galactic Polecats, just to name a few.

In the months leading up to the VCMA, the organizers put on showcases featuring the nominated artists to promote the event. These live shows were held at different venues throughout Ventura County, and were a kind of friendly competition between the artists to see who could put on a great live show and bring out the most fans. Many of the performers at the VCMA are the winners of those showcases.

“The showcases are meant to get people out and involved,” Amoroso said.  “It’s hard to compete with the instant gratification of Netflix. We’re hoping that if we put on a show and say that these are the best bands in Ventura County, that people will want to come out to that. And really it’s just to let people know who are considered the best and give people a chance to see them.”

The most nominated artists at the 2016 VCMA are Laci Kay and As Empires Fall, each with three nominations. 

Laci Kay, the “Italian Duchess,” is a singer, songwriter, actress, model and dancer. She is nominated for Best Female Artist, Best Pop Artist and Video of the Year.

“Being recognized is such a blessing,” Kay said. “because when you put hours into your music, you’re not thinking about being noticed for it, you’re thinking about the quality of the work. So when my following in Ventura County is noticing the message and work within my music, I feel incredibly overjoyed.”

As Empires Fall, whose members describe themselves as “metal, modern, extreme, intelligent and, most importantly, heartfelt!” are nominated for Video of the Year, Album of the Year, and Song of the Year.

The nomination process ran from January through April and was decided by popular vote. Nominees are elected by the community and winners are chosen by popular vote as well.

“We allow the community to decide who inspires them,” Amoroso said. “Some people think there should be a committee that appoints the winners. If we did that, there’d be no difference between us and the Grammys. I want to try to keep this as pure as possible.”

The Ventura County Music Awards will be held on Friday, Sept. 9, at the Commemorative Air Force Museum at the Camarillo Airport, 455 Aviation Drive. For tickets and more information, visit http://venturacountymusicawards.com.