TWIN FALLS | It's winner take all.
Eight bands will compete Friday during the Battle of the Bands in Twin Falls, but only one will walk away with prize money. It's a $1,000 grand prize they will be vying for, but organizer Josh Jensen doesn't expect bad blood between the groups.
What's important is that the competition, to start at 5 p.m. at Twin Falls City Park, gives the groups a platform to showcase their talents, he said.
“There is a sense of camaraderie, and at the end of the day, this is about the music and community,” Jensen said.
Band members agree.
"We are going to go out there to play and have fun," said guitarist Rocky Ferrenburg of the band This Awkward Moment. "It's not about winning, it's about letting people hear our music."
Bands need to work together to strengthen the Twin Falls music scene, he said. His band just got a start this spring, although members have played with other bands.
"It's difficult to get a band established, and this is going to be our first big show," he said.
Earlier this year, Jensen, a youth pastor for Amazing Grace Fellowship, put out a notice that he was looking for the best eight bands in Magic Valley. Whether he got all eight bands, he said, “That's so subjective, that's for sure, but we wanted to find the best talent. We want to show the entire community we have a lot of amazing musicians and they deserve to be heard.”
Many people in the Magic Valley haven't heard of many of the bands that will be performing, and Kingdoms might be one of those bands, Jensen said.
One day was set aside for tryouts. Nineteen bands and musicians auditioned live, sent in unedited videos of performances, or auditioned through Skype. Skyler Crystal, who grew up in Twin Falls, and bandmate Bronson VanWagoner, of Kingdoms, chose the latter option because they live in St. George, Utah.
"We don't particularly have much of a fan base (in Twin Falls), but we are going to get our name out there and spread the word about us in our hometown," Crystal said.
There are a few rules attached to Battle of the Bands. With the event being hosted by church organizations Commissioned Youth and The Pursuit, Jensen asked the bands to agree that no profanity would be used on stage. In addition, lyrics needed to be uplifting.
“None of the bands had a problem with it,” he said. “They have embraced it.”
It's not as if the Battle of the Bands is supposed to be a church event. “We didn't want to create a 'Christian' event; we want a community event,” he said.
Each band will have 20 minutes on stage, and the winner will be decided by a combination of popular vote and a vote from a panel of five judges.
Judges will include radio hosts Dr. Nick Redbone, Andy Reyy and Judah Wilmont, CSI music instructor Scott Farkas and Amazing Grace Fellowship pastory Lynn Schaal, who has a background in music.
The winner will also be invited to play at an Amazing Grace Fellowship event Sunday for youth aged 13-30.
After the success of last year's Battle of the Bands, Magic Valley music lovers can expect it to be an annual event, Jensen said.