Madison Area Music Awards Go Virtual  


Mackenzie Moore, News Editor

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, many have become accustomed to award shows taking place without in-person audiences. The Madison Area Music Awards (MAMAs), an annual night of celebration and reflection for the music scene since 2003, took the same route with its virtual award show on Oct. 4. 

Typically, the MAMAs take place at the Overture Center in June. After the theater’s April announcement that it would cancel all shows in the early summer, the award show was officially moved to a virtual format. As a result, the event’s organizers had to come up with a new way to make the show work. 

Instead of writing the script with a formal stage ceremony in mind, we approached presenters to do self-made videos and gave them more independence in writing their own scripts when announcing themselves as the award sponsors. Also, instead of trying to get a bunch of people all in the same place at the same time for the show, we had to give them instructions on how to create videos. Some of the bands received funding and organizational assistance from the MAMA [Madison Area Music Association] to create their videos,” says longtime Executive Producer, Beth Kille 

Kille goes on to explain that the hurdles did not stop coming once the Madison Area Music Awards began.  

“We had a ton of technical issues during the stream that are still being investigated. I coordinated the collection of the videos and other assets (e.g. images, mp3s etc.) from the sponsors/presenters, but Hinckley Productions put it all together for the show and Audio for the Arts did the Red Carpet. Hinckley ran into issues during the livestream of the video/audio starting and stopping and being intermittently asynchronous and/or inaudible. It was quite frustrating given all the work we put in on the front end, but this is a year of learning for us all. 

Still, according to Kille, organizing the MAMAs was not without its bright spots.  

I think it was just seeing the faces and hearing the voices of the folks who helped put video assets together for the show. It’s been a long year of missing familiar faces, so it was nice to open up the files and feel a little connected with the folks I would normally get to see backstage. 

In past years, audience members and nominees have been able to cheer on and hug the friends that the local scene has created. While this year’s award show had the “like” button and comment section instead, the love within the music community, as well as the adrenaline, remained the same.