Teens take the spotlight in Battle of the Bands

CATAWISSA – The Seventh Annual Teenage Battle of the Bands will kick off at 6 p.m. June 13 at Cara Park, located on South Fourth Street. The rain location is at the Catawissa Fire Co., also on South Fourth Street.

The competition welcomes performers between ages 13 and 19, from school districts within a 25-mile radius.

“The performers are from the surrounding communities and each year it grows,” said Joe Gaughan, entertainment director for Catawissa Borough and the event’s organizer. Past events have brought in more than 400 people to watch the competition, although last year’s event had around 200 due to inclement weather.

This year’s musicians come from Williamsport, Watsontown, Beaver Springs, Nescopeck and Numidia.

Cash awards are offered to the winners: the first place band receives $300, the second-place band receives $100, the first-place solo winner receives $100 and the second-place solo winner receives $50. More importantly, each band is able to provide a true “concert” experience for its audience.

“We really do it up big for the kids, providing a beautiful setting near the river with quality sound and lighting for them,” Gaugan said, adding that the event opens up networking opportunities for young performers as well. “My favorite part of the evening is the end of the night when I watch the teenage musicians who, for the most part, were strangers upon the start of the evening, now exchanging contact information with each other. Who knows what sparks,” he said.

The winner of last year’s band competition was Steel Wings, from Lewisburg. The band was offered a post-competition performance opportunity at Quaker Steak and Lube in Bloomsburg. Steel Wings will return this year and compete against area bands Blue Dream, Urban Souls, Covert Express, The Black Strat Blues Company and Send Request Band.

“We added a solo entertainer category a couple years back, so we have expanded the event over time and our audience size grows each year,” Gaughan said.

Last year’s solo winner was Michaela Wagner, of Beaver Springs, who also will return to the competition this year. Along with Wagner, this year’s solo entertainers include Morgan Foust, Steph Lynn, Aiyona Haymen and Maiah Farley.

A focus of the event remains on anti-drug and -alcohol initiatives, as the event was founded to present music as a healthy alternative to harmful life choices. Past events have been supported by such organizations as the Columbia County Drug Task Force.

The event will offer food and beverages for sale.

Attendees are invited to bring a blanket or lawn chair to enjoy the music.

For more information, call 570-356-2561 or visit