It’s that time of year again. Port Alberni and Vancouver Island musicians will have the chance to showcase their skills at Port Alberni’s Youth Battle of the Bands.
Presented by the Zattzoo Project, the contest brings together all genres of bands and solo musicians from around the Island, under the age of 25, to show their talents in front of three judges. The competition takes place on Saturday, May 26 at the Rainbow Room. All ages are welcome to watch the performances until 10 p.m.
Top prize for first place is $1,000 and a chance to perform at the Five Acre Shaker this summer at McLean Mill. Second prize is $500 and third gets $250. There are five separate prizes of $100 each for best guitar, best bass, best drummer, best singer and an other category.
The event was established by Kim Blake and her son Dallas Ward of the Zattzoo Project to provide local musicians a place to play in or near their hometown for their families and friends. The contest, now in its fourth year, is also continued in memory of Zakk Coss, Blake’s music-driven son and Ward’s brother, who was in a fatal car accident in 2014 at the age of 22.
“[Battle of the Bands] has got it’s own energy,” Blake said. “Once we let it go someone else would pick it up. These things are going to happen with or without me as [Zakk’s] mother and either I can be part of it or I can sit back…I’ve chosen to be a part of it.”
Music promoters are invited to join the evening in hopes of finding performers for upcoming events.
“Anyone who promotes events here in town, you’re our guests that night, a lot of these kids get booked right away,” Blake said. “Last year was just buzzing, the kids could feel the vibe.”
Ward said the past three first place winners of the Battle have gone on to do “really well.”
“Non Stop Talk, Malahat and Quadra Sound have been playing Victoria shows and Western Canadian tours,” he added.
This year’s judges are Sydney Reynolds, who won best local performance at the Battle in 2016, Kyle Hamelin, whose band The Atlas Project won second prize at the 2016 Battle, and musician Jason Samson.
“It’s a wonderful night of hope and everything your kid can dream of…it’s a great night of inspiration,” Blake said. “The audience is full of moms, dads, cousins and grandparents, it’s the whole family. It’s a heartwarming night with a wide variety of music.”
To sign up, bands can head to www.facebook.com/portalberniyouthbattleofthebands/ and send a direct message.
The Battle is a fundraiser, with all door sales going to next year’s Battle. Anyone wanting to help with fundraising can donate bottles to the Zattzoo Project’s account at the Port Alberni Bottle Depot.