How do I plan a battle of the bands?

Written by james gilmore
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How do I plan a battle of the bands?
Give amateur musicians a shot at stardom with a Battle of the Bands. (band isolated image by Alexey Klementiev from

A Battle of the Bands is an opportunity for local bands to show off their talent and earn some recognition and potential prizes along the way. If you want to see local bands go head-to-head and you've never organised a Battle of the Bands before, you'll need to know how to plan for one. Go above and beyond basic booking and promotion and create a concert event that features a multitude of talented acts.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Brainstorm ideas for the Battle of the Bands a few months in advance in order to give yourself time to arrange a venue, register bands and promote. Planning a Battle of the Bands will require more on your part than simply finding a bunch of eager amateur bands. You will need to spend money and direct a lot of people in order to run a smooth event.

    Running a successful Battle of the Bands will cost you hundreds of dollars up front. This cost includes renting a venue, hiring a sound engineer, renting sound equipment and printing out flyers.

  2. 2

    Secure a venue at least three months in advance to the Battle of the Bands. Allow yourself more time the more grand-scale a Battle of the Bands you wish to organise. If you're planning a Battle of the Bands as a school function, reserve the school auditorium for the day of the event. Otherwise, look into renting out a VFW or Elks Lodge hall, church basement or bar.

  3. 3

    Alert local bands to the upcoming Battle of the Bands by posting flyers at record stores, coffee shops and on telephone poles, visiting local music message boards and by talking face-to-face to local musicians.

  4. 4

    Audition local bands by taking in a live performance or listening to demos. Determine set times according to how many bands will be playing and for how long you have your venue reserved. For example, if you have four hours of allotted set times and 16 bands, reserve 15-minute set times for each band. Create a schedule for the day and distribute it to each registered band.

  5. 5

    Secure sound equipment and a sound engineer. Rent or buy a public address (PA) system and microphones with stands. If possible, secure a drumset and amplifiers for each band to share in order to cut back on breaking down equipment between sets. Depending on the area you live in and the level of sound quality you desire, you might end up fronting a few hundred dollars to ensure professional sound.

  6. 6

    Approach local music critics/musicians/teachers to judge the event. Hire at least three judges in order to ensure a more balanced judging process. Present your judges with criteria by which you wish to judge the bands, such as stage presence, musicianship, and song quality.

  7. 7

    Determine the types of awards you will give the top bands at your Battle of the Bands. For example, award the best band with a demo recording at a professional recording studio. Coordinate this aspect with local businesses and promote any businesses you work with on your event flyer.

  8. 8

    Create a flyer/poster for the Battle of the Bands event, listing the date, time, location, cost of admission, featured bands and sponsors. Promote your now solidified Battle of the Bands by posting flyers around town, in places like record stores and coffee shops.

Tips and warnings

  • Hire a well-known local act to headline the event in order to ensure a larger crowd, but beware that this will also cost you up front or a share of the gate.

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