HOLTVILLE – The atmosphere was charged from noon to the late evening on Saturday at the Barbara Worth Country Club for the first annual Holtville Music Festival Battle of the Bands.
Ten bands competed for the $1,000 first prize. Most were local bands that came from almost every corner of the valley along with a couple bands from Yuma, Arizona and Mexicali, Mexico. Three judges of mixed backgrounds scored the bands on their talent, originality, and creativity.
As an extra bonus, since the event was considered a part of the Holtville Carrot Festival festivities, the bands had to add carrots as an element into their performance somehow. The bands’ responses ranged from tying bunches of carrots at the end of guitars to wearing carrot hats.
Luke Phillips, the country club employee in charge of booking the band performances, was the man behind the event. Having booked a few of the bands that were playing in the battle already, Phillips knew there was music in the valley for a concert like this.
“There’s way more local talent than I realized,” said Phillips, “There’s a music Renaissance going in Holtville right now.”
According to Phillips, the response was overwhelming and many bands had to be turned away. However, in light of the huge response and success of Saturday’s event, Phillips plans to make a two-day event next year in order to include even more bands.
For local bands, this was a chance to showcase here in the valley and not out of town. According to both Phillips and Eric Sciaky, the drummer for the band Shades of Blue, there really isn’t a place for bands to play live in the valley.
“We played for big crowds in Pasadena,” said the band members of Random Article, the very first band on the stage, “But it’s heartwarming to play here because we’re from the valley.”
“We see other bands out of San Diego around here,” said Matthew Valusek, a spectator at the concert, “This a great opportunity to spotlight the local bands.”
The music kept going all day and didn’t wind down until ten at night with the announcement of the winners. First place winners were Never Victorious, Never Defeated, second place was Downtime, and third were Random Article.