The San Diego Music Awards Return

The San Diego Music Awards announce their return -- and some changes

They’re back: After scrapping the 2016 San Diego Music Awards altogether this past October, the show’s founder Kevin Hellman announced Monday, Nov. 21 that the show will go on -- at downtown’s House of Blues on March 21, 2017.

Hellman, who has organized the show for the last 25 years with the San Diego Music Foundation (SDMF), retired from the nonprofit earlier this year -- a departure that raised questions about the annual event’s future. As we reported in October, the SDMF eventually announced that the 2016 awards show originally planned for Nov. 10 would be postponed to an undetermined place/date in 2017.

Thankfully, Hellman (now with SDS Events) is back in the fold again and the gala is officially scheduled to return, albeit with some changes.

The most obvious differences are the venue and date: Instead of being held at Humphreys Concerts by the Bay (as it has been since 2010) in the fall, the show now heads downtown in spring -- and it’ll have a redesigned San Diego Music Award trophy with it.

“After 25 years, it was time for a change,” Hellman said in a press release. “I was asked to step in to once again produce the event. I’m pretty excited to once again have the opportunity to continue what we started 25 years ago … With the new venue, it’s a new era for the event. It just seems to be the right time to create and present a brand new San Diego Music Award.”

The show’s focus remains unchanged though: The gala will still donate a portion of its proceeds to the SDMF, in partnership with the Taylor Guitars for Schools program, to purchase Baby Taylor guitars and place them into elementary, middle and high schools throughout San Diego county. Over 75 schools have participated in Taylor’s program.

As for local musicians, the clock is ticking. The deadline for album submissions is Saturday, Dec. 31 -- and with 2016’s awards ceremony having been skipped, the release date time frame for album submissions now has an extended range from July 1, 2015 through Dec. 31, 2016.

Hopefuls can either mail a physical CD to an address (San Diego Music Awards, 4876 Mount Royal Place, San Diego, CA 92117) or submit a link to digital files at

Nominees, the Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, and performers are set to be announced Jan. 15, 2017, with SDMA voting taking place between Jan. 16–Feb. 26. Tickets to the show will also be available to purchase starting Jan. 16 at 3 p.m.

For tickets, VIP seating and more information, please visit the official San Diego Music Awards website.

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