Nine SFX-owned venues will set up second concert stages, sponsored by Levi’s, in order to give emerging local artists an opportunity to open for national touring acts during the summer.

Mars Music superstores in the vicinity of the venues will select bands on the basis of demo tapes submitted for review.

“SFX is proud to provide a stage for the most innovative new talent,” said Robert Sillerman, executive chairman of SFX.

The huge live entertainment company has made a name for itself by purchasing many of the biggest concert promotion businesses in the U.S. In the process, SFX has been criticized for valuing money and corporate alliances over music. Sillerman has insisted all along that SFX will support emerging talent and the second stage project is a step in fulfilling that promise.

SFX is using its deal-making expertise to provide an opportunity for bands who wouldn’t otherwise get to play at a major amphitheatre. And the corporate sponsors get something in return, according to Sillerman.

“We offer marketers the unique opportunity to integrate their brands into the overall event environment and reach their targets when they are the most engaged and involved to create powerful brand awareness. This alliance with Mars Music and Levi Strauss & Co. is a perfect example,” he said.

The venues participating in the local showcases are: Mars Music Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach, Fla.; Deer Creek Music Center outside Indianapolis; Sandstone Amphitheatre in Kansas City, Kansas; Tweeter Center in Boston; Riverport Amphitheatre in St. Louis; Blockbuster Pavilion in Charlotte, N.C.; Alltel Pavilion in Raleigh, N.C.; AmSouth Music Center in Nashville; and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion near Houston.