Biography

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If you’re from the Bay Area and don’t live under a rock, chances are you have seen Barbara roaming your favorite local hang out, rock show or festival. And if you had a good time, well it’s for good reason. Barbara Wahli, known as “Barb Rocks” to the San Jose scene faithful, has been a dedicated and respected member of the Bay Area music scene since 2006. As a promoter, manager, publicist and writer, there isn’t much going on in the Bay Area that she doesn’t have a hand in. If there were a local Hall of Fame, she would not only be in it but probably be one of its founders.

Dubbed the "queen of the south bay scene" by local FCC Free Radio DJ of the Unbound Sound Show, Barbara has become the hub of an ever-expanding local music scene, continually increasing her network of music contacts.  Barbara has always kept the passion and experience at the forefront of her every endeavor, keeping the philosophy of "music first" and making sure the bands aren't taken advantage of. Being involved in all-things music has encouraged Barb Rocks to work on various local music festivals, including Left Coast Live, Santa Cruz Music Festival, SoFA Street Fair, and West Fest, as well as sponsor of the San Jose edition of Your Music Olympicks, the 2009 South Bay Vans Warped Tour After-Party, the 2010 Bring It Back Tour stage at Left Coast Live, and other local music events.

As a promoter, Barbara is relentless when it comes to making sure a “Barb Rocks Show” is synonymous with quality and success. She is known for offering high-paying gigs, delivering quality sound and competent staff, as well as shows that are well attended and effortlessly executed.

In Summer 2015, Barbara joined Nemesis Media Inc., a company she's collaborated with on many events and occasions, as their Vice President of Artists & Repertoire.  With decades of experience combined, Nemesis Media Inc. and Barb Rocks will be able to reach out to more audiences and continue to place the needs of their artists first.  Together they manage six up-and-coming solid bands that they are proud to have on their roster, and have expanded their services to include a booking roster.


Achievements

  • Helped grow indie-blues trio Fritz Montana into one of the biggest unsigned bands in the San Francisco/Bay Area music scene, earning them sought-after spots on Live 105's Not So Silent Night in 2013, Live 105's Soundcheck Holiday Party in 2014, and on the 'Emerging Artists' stage at BottleRock Napa in 2015, all in just two years of managing the band and picking them up after having played only one live show at SJSU.  The band is now getting bigger show opportunities due to her hard work, including Faithful Mile Tailgate Party for the San Francisco 49ers at Levi Stadium and playing Oracle OpenWorld in 2015.
  • Due to her success booking bands in Austin during SXSW music week, started Ugly Whale Music Fest, showcasing Bay Area bands in 2015 and 2016, and growing to more showcases in 2017.
  • Picked as Best South Bay Scene Queen by Metro Newspapers in September 2010, stating that "her energy is infectious, and her ear for local talent remarkable."
  • Named as #1 revenue generating promoter by Homestead Bowl & The X Bar in Cupertino.
  • Currently heading the South Bay chapter of Balanced Breakfast, a group of music industry professionals that meet regularly for breakfast and talk about actions they can employ that will help grow the scene. 
  • Book a "Barb Rocks" stage at SoFA Street Fair, a FREE music festival in downtown San Jose that brings the best local, regional and national live music acts to the middle of South First Street for one day twice a year.
  • Worked with San Jose event pioneer Chris Esparza (Giant Creative Services) and the City of San Jose on a multi-genre, multi-venue annual live music festival called Left Coast Live (LCL), which premiered in May 2009 with over 5,000 attendees, and with over 100% increase in 2010 to 12,500!
    * In 2009 her role for LCL included securing a third of the participating venues, booking most of the rock-oriented music, and running one of the bigger venues with two alternating stages.
    * In 2010, Barbara's responsibilities for LCL increased to heading the music selection group, handling booking coordination with bands and booking agents, website/blog editor, guerrilla marketing and promotions planning, and social media outreach, as well as having a "Barb Rocks" sponsored stage featuring nine local favorites.
    * In 2011, Barbara was one of the main bookers (focusing on the rock-oriented genre), recommended the headliner The Limousines, handled all booking coordination with the bands/artists, wrote most of the website/program biographies, handled social media outreach, and oversaw stage management at the event.
  • Stage-managed Woodstock Pizza stage (2013) and Streetlight Records stage (2015) at Santa Cruz Music Festival, with a few of her management roster bands playing each year.
  • Was on the committee that organized West Fest in 2009 and 2010, an annual free all-ages show at West Valley College.
  • Handled social media outreach for the Woodstock 40th Anniversary Celebration (Sunday October 25, 2009, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco).
  • Was on the Board of Directors for South Bay Live, a non-profit organization grown out of a coalition of venue owners, musicians and promoters wanting to help improve and grow the local entertainment culture. 
  • Maintained a leadership role in the San Jose Nightlife & Entertainment Committee (SJNEC), which formed to oppose the proposed promoters licensing ordinance in 2008.

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