Only two spots remain in this year’s Movin’ On festival, and in a tradition about as well known as the concert itself, the festival’s core committee will be hosting a Battle of the Bands to fill them.
Saturday night, 12 bands — representing a wide variety of genres and each featuring at least one Penn State student — will use 15 minutes to prove their musical ability to a panel of four judges in Alumni Hall. Doors for the event open at 8:45.
Tim Gould, overall director of Movin’ On, said the selection process began at the beginning of February, when the committee posted band applications on its website.
One of the festival’s Battle of the Bands chairwomen, Aliza Berger, said that by the month’s end, the committee had received “about 50 applications” from bands hoping to earn the chance to open for the concert’s eclectic lineup of Kids These Days, Gloriana, Brand New, Big Boi and headliner MGMT.
From there, the committee narrows the applicants down to “25-30” contenders by reviewing their past performance experience as well as two songs they have submitted for consideration, among other factors, and the larger core finally selects 12 to compete in the battle, Gould said.
Though the decision ultimately rests with the judges, Movin’ On Director of Marketing Karisa Maxwell said the organization ideally wants to feature bands that can “keep up the energy,” especially given the caliber of the main lineup.
“If the audience loves what [the bands are] performing, then obviously they’re going to be an asset to the festival,” Maxwell (senior-broadcast journalism and political science) said. “It’s a lot of fun and it’s a great way to spend a Saturday night.”
Maxwell also said the panel of judges will be made up of The LION 90.7FM’s Steve Valenti, State in the Real’s Monica Consbruck, student Scott Toebe and 2011 THON Idol winner Rachel Yurchak.
The roster of diverse bands set to take the stage — including last year’s winners, ska band The Wondershop Showdown and DJ Keegan Tawa — could ensure the range of music genres is a major component of the competition.
Nevertheless, the members of the festival’s committee say that this is all part of giving everyone an equal shot.
“So long as you’re still a student at Penn State, you’re still allowed to apply,” said Gould (senior-geobiology), adding that the winners will receive “approximately 30 minutes” of stage time on the day of the festival. “If they’re still the best band, we’d still like to have them perform. We like to keep it open to everyone.”
Other performers include Flashback Forward, who also played in last year’s battle, LoveStain, Pantomime Dame, and Dark Tower.
Gould said the battle is about more than simply filling vacancies in the festival’s lineup.
“We really like to include Penn State musical talent in the festival,” said Gould.