By Rick Gustafson, Special to Colorado Community Media
The second High Plains Battle of the Bands is set for Feb. 21 at the Elbert County Fairgrounds in Kiowa. The competition features six bands competing in a head-to-head competition for cash, prizes and the opportunity to perform at the 2015 Elizabeth Music & Art Festival.
The organizer and president of Peak Events, Mike Anthony, said that the six bands participating are school-aged musicians ranging from middle school to high school, coming from across the Front Range, including Douglas County, Denver and even as far away as Fort Collins.
“There are two types of battles of the bands,” Anthony says. “The first type is where the band plays for a panel who judges their musical ability. Ours isn't like that. Ours is a pure popularity contest.”
Each band will have a 30-minute window to set up, perform and strike. Audience members then vote for their favorite band via a text network, donated by Viaero Wireless in Elizabeth, that tabulates the results. The winning band will take home half of the door receipts along with an invitation to perform at the Elizabeth Music & Art Festival in August. The other half of the take covers expenses and building rental.
“The faster they can set up, the more songs they can play,” said Anthony, who estimated the average playing time of each band at around 20 minutes or about four to five songs.
The first High Plains Battle of the Bands was held in the winter of 2013 as a way for Anthony to encourage younger musicians to participate in the Elizabeth Music & Art Festival, of which he is the organizer. According to Anthony, the 2013 winners took home around $600.
“That's a lot of money for a high school band for a 20-minute performance,” he said.
This year, Peak Events will again collaborate with Musicians in Action (MIA), a Colorado nonprofit, which will host a “Not-So-Silent-Auction” during the performances. Anthony jokes that the auction takes place while the bands are performing and is anything but silent.
The auction is designed to raise awareness and resources for the homelessness agencies MIA supports, such as the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, the Gathering Place, Urban Peak and Senior Support Services. Businesses wishing to participate in the auction may donate items up until the start of the event, but Anthony encourages donors to contact him as early as possible.
Doors at the County Fairgrounds in Kiowa open at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 21 and the performance starts at 6 p.m. Tickets for the show are available at the door for $5 and children under 10 are free.
Peak Events is a production and management business run by Mike and Jami Anthony, who have been organizing events in Elbert and Douglas counties and are founders of the Elizabeth Music & Art Festival, which is scheduled for Aug. 22.