It's also a place where the music and film businesses can get together, mingle and, maybe cut a deal, said Loretta Munoz, programmer for the Music Café.
"We've created this really lovely setting for artists to come and perform for optimum audiences, which include filmmakers and music directors," Munoz said during a phone interview with The Park Record from West Hollywood, Calif. "It is a listening room that provides a great opportunity for people to get to know each other musically and personally."
For 12 years, Munoz had programmed the café, including a variety of artists such as Rachael Yamagata, Lenka, Danko Jones and The Low Anthem.
"We put together these half-hour-to-hour sets that feature quick changeovers with an eclectic lineup every year, because we want to present as diverse a roster of artists to perform," Munoz said.
This year, the artists include pop artist Natasha Bedingfield, the rock band All-American Rejects, multi-instrumentalist Alison Sudol (who is known as A Fine Frenzy), Terence Etc. and singer/songwriters Ingrid Michaelson and David Gray.
"Each year we try to have artists or composers who perform that are attached to film," Munoz said. "This year we're super excited to have Terence Etc., also known as Terence Nance. He directed the film 'Oversimplification of Her Beauty' that will be screened during Sundance this year. He's also the composer, actor and screenwriter of the film and he's a fantastic performance artist as well."
Programming the lineup is a labor of love for Munoz.
"There is the adrenaline and excitement that comes with being able to present something that is important and great to the film community," she said. "I'm also excited to see who (become) fans of some of the artists, whether it's Katie Herzig or the Civil Wars, who didn't have a major release when they played last year, but now have a Grammy Award nomination and an Americana award."
With the ASCAP Music Café's popularity continuing to grow, managers, record labels, ASCAP members and artists inundate Munoz with submissions and recommendations of artists.
In addition, she has her own wish list.
"Little by little, I'm able to check some of the names off each year," Munoz said with a laugh. "I have to say, one name that has been on the list for years has been David Gray. I've approached David's people every year with some humor to see if he would be available, and this year we got lucky. In fact, the entire festival got lucky to have David perform in this space.
"I talk like it's a huge love fest, and it is because I still get caught up in the excitement of discovering new talent," Munoz said. "In fact, the tent pole of the reason we present the café with Sundance is because we both share the same philosophy of recognizing, developing and creating a space for new talent. Somehow the music all fits together. It's a good melting pot."
The Sundance Film Festival will present the ASCAP Music Café at the Rich Haines Gallery, 751 Main St., from Friday, Jan. 20, until Friday, Jan. 27, from 1:30 p.m. until 6 p.m. The café is open to credentialed festival guests as space allows. For more information, visit www.sundance.org . See accompanying story for the ASCAP Music Café schedule.