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How to Organize a Battle of Bands Competition

Organizing a battle of the band takes time.
band image by pdesign from Fotolia.com

Organizing a battle of the bands event usually requires about three months of planning. Think about the event in stages--such as before, during and after--to get a better handle on the different areas of attention needed. When organizing a battle of the bands, you work to support two different audiences: the bands that are participating, and the audience that is listening. Part of the event includes judging. Organizing a battle of the bands is hard work, but it can be fun when you know what to think about and plan for.

Things You'll Need:

  • Prizes
  • Venue
  • Refreshments

Three Months in Advance

Talk to fellow musicians, put flyers up on music store community boards, and list an ad in the paper. Attend other battles of the bands to size up your potential audience, get feedback ,and ascertain possible number of attendees.

Determine what kind of battle of the bands you want to have, including genre and any age limitations. Come up with a theme or a purpose.

Decide if profits from ticket sales are given to charity, or if they are used to offset operating expenses. You may need seed money in advance to front contracts or reservations. Track and recoup your costs before identifying profits.

Book the location of the venue and apply for any permits you may need. Enlist the services of a sound man/light man based upon the size of the venue.

If food is offered, hire a caterer or food services group. Include clean-up as part of its contract.

Two Months in Advance

If it is a charity event, ask others to support the cause by making donations. Obtain prizes and include them in your advertising. Provide receipts to any participant that gives you a donation so that he can use it as a tax deduction. Record everything received, and send thank-you notes for the donations.

Collect the names of those bands that intend to participate as quickly as possible as this helps you outline a schedule. Get both mailing addresses and email addresses. Give each band tickets to pre-sell, and keep track of tickets given and money collected.

Have band members help you create a fan contact list to increase advertising through flyers and emails. Create a web page and allow them to link to it from their websites. Add contact info to the fan list of local radio and newspaper entertainment reporters.

Check out the venue for power, lighting and pre-stage room. Advise the sound man and light crew of any potential problems or any special needs.

One Month in Advance

Determine how you the acts are judged and who will judge the contest. Create a judges' sheet that highlights things such as stage performance, crowd interaction, song substance, sound and singing.

Once you have a solid list of names that are participating, include these names in your advertising. Use friends, family and band members to promote the event through the use of T-shirts and premium items.

Put the name of the event, the date, time, prizes and location on the tickets. Use friends, family and participating band members to pre-sell tickets.

Use friends, family and participating members to plaster the area with flyers. One week before the event, go back through hot spots and make sure advertising is still up and visible. If not, refresh and hit new locations such as restaurants, grocery stores, libraries and local businesses that will allow you to put up flyers.

Create press releases announcing the event, genre and prizes, and email them to local newspapers and radio stations. Confirm with vendors that they are ready for the event.

One Week in Advance

Collect money from ticket sales and continue to pre-sell tickets. Contact local media and send out a public relations message reminding everyone of your upcoming event. Sell T-shirts and other premiums to friends, family and band members to help them advertise the battle of the bands.

Fine-tune the schedule. Create a list of bands in order of appearance and post the amount of time they have to play. Create a contract that band members sign the day of the event that states what rights, if any, you have to any recordings of the event.

Touch base with vendors and the sound man to make sure everyone still is scheduled. Enlist the help of friends to register the bands when they arrive and provide them with instructions on where to place their instruments.

You may want to hire security to help you keep control of the crowd. Call the police station to find out who might be freelancing. Although this can cost a bit, bad publicity about someone getting hurt will ruin the event and affect your reputation if you should decide to hold a battle of the bands again.

Day of the Event

Set up a judging area and cordon off the backstage.

Post the line-up and prizes.

Enlist aid to make sure bands sign and turn in their contracts before performing, and collect money from them for advanced ticket sales. Place someone at the door to collect money for day-of-event tickets. Have someone cover the stage and move the acts along.

Ensure the judges are comfortable and have their judge sheets ready for each act. Give them the responsibility to report back to you who the winners are at a specific time.

Ensure caterers and sound/light crew have what they need to operate, and help them troubleshoot any last-minute problems. Touch base with security personnel and explain any problem situations or concerns you might have.

Provide your cell phone number to those working with you.

Announce the winners of the battle of the bands, present prizes and celebrate. Thank the participants, the judges and the fans for coming. Take photographs for press releases and website updates. Make sure each contractor gets paid for her services, and that the facility is left cleaned according to your contract.


Most musicians are willing to play for free in a battle of the bands if the location is easy to get to, if the prize is worth winning, and if they can be assured an audience will hear their sound.

Track all money spent and all money received to ensure money is not lost or unaccounted for. You have to pay taxes on any profits you receive.

Normally, the price at the door is $3 to $5 more than the pre-ticket sales.


  • If you are planning to use an outdoor venue, have coverage for inclement weather. Gigs like this normally go on rain or shine; put this on the tickets so that your audience knows to show up even if it is raining. Understand the capacity of the event.
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