Battle of the Bands

CATAWISSA – Catawissa’s sixth annual Teenage Battle of the Bands will take place 6:30 p.m. June 7 at Cara Park, South Fourth Street. Rain location is at the Catawissa Fire Co., also on South Fourth Street.

The lineup for this year’s show is: Covert Express; Kids in the Corner; Darling Run; and Steel Wings. Also performing in between bands are solo entertainers Madison Stewart, Alex Scott and Michaela Wagner.

As the name indicates, all performers are between ages 13 and 19. The event is open to school districts within a 25-mile radius.

“We give them a whole package to try to recruit teenage bands. The whole point is that it is for teenagers only. It’s a competition, but more importantly it’s a night of camaraderie,” Joe Gaughan, an entertainment coordinator for the area, said.

Gaughan has been a driving force, in addition to much backing from the community, in keeping this effort going since it began in 2008. Catawissa’s past mayor, Pat Sinclair, lost his son to a drug overdose, which served as the catalyst to start this positive event designed to give teenagers a chance to have fun with music, without drugs or alcohol.

Last year’s winner, the band Velour Fog, of Lewisburg, won $300 and the opportunity to perform at Quaker Steak and Lube restaurant, near the Columbia Mall in Bloomsburg.

This year’s winner will receive the same, but will open up for a band at the Quaker Steak and Lube and also the opportunity to perform at the Bloomsburg Fair. Second place will receive $100. The solo performers also will be judged in their own category. There are three adult judges, who Gaughan says are professional musicians. There also are three peer judges for each band – teenagers themselves.

“They judge one particular act and the names are pulled out of a hat so they don’t know when they’ll be called,” Gaughan said, noting there have not been any discrepancies so far in the process.

Audiences can expect a wide array of musical performances.

“All different styles are performed, classic rock, more modern stuff, old jazz, all kinds,” Gaughan said.

There is a double-curtain set up so that when the solo performers perform between each band, there will not be much waiting time for the audience. More than 400 people turned out to watch these teenagers rock out last year, and this year, Gaughan said, they are expecting even more; each year the event has grown.

“The caliber of these kids is unbelievable. They love music and you can tell,” Gaughan said, noting that this event is completely not-for-profit and solely for the teenagers. One year, a team that took last, returned the next and won.

“The best part for me is the fact that at the end of the night, they’re all exchanging contact information. It’s really a wonderful thing,” he said.

To support this drug and alcohol-free effort, just bring a lawn chair to Cara Park on June 7.