By Jordan Glassock, Contributing Writer 

The Restless Atlantic performs at the 2016 Battle of the Bands. (Photo Courtesy of WUMF 91.5)

The Restless Atlantic performs at the 2016 Battle of the Bands. (Photo Courtesy of WUMF 91.5)

91.5 WUMF is gearing up to host the annual 2017 Battle of the Bands this April in the South Dining Hall.

“Battle of the Bands is essentially a massive concert,” said Julia Lent, the Music Director for WUMF.

The popular event attracts bands from all around New England. “Last year we had people as far away as Massachusetts come to play,” said Lent, “They compete with each other and put on a wicked good show for everybody in the area.”

Richard Southard, the Production Manager for WUMF, said that while there is a competitive aspect to Battle of the Bands, “It really is about just showing off lesser known local bands and really trying to get them out to the ears of the community.”

Local bands are usually invited by WUMF to perform at Battle of the Bands, but Lent and Southard said that it can work both ways. “Sometimes bands will see advertisements that we put up and they’ll be like ‘Hey, we wanna be in Battle,’” said Lent.

Southard and Lent said that preparing for Battle is a long process. “As far as getting the music goes, until up to the event, it’s more or less constant, because we’re either always sending out to bands, or people contact us.”

Once bands respond to the invitation to come to Battle of the Bands, they send in audition tapes that feature a few tracks that they consider their best work. After listening to the tracks, members of WUMF select six to eight bands that they want to perform at the event.

Selecting which bands WUMF would like to perform is only one part of the process. As far as the event itself, Southard said, “It’s an all day and almost all evening operation, straight from early as five in the morning all the way to three o’clock in the evening. It’s something we just mark off the entire day for.”

“We have to break down the entire South Dining Hall,” said Lent. “We have to set up all of our equipment and be ready to go for sound checks before any of the bands arrive. And they arrive still hours before the event. So, for us, it’s incredibly intense, but once the show starts it’s all worth it.”

“We wanna have everything as perfect and as pinpoint as possible,” said Southard. “We usually have a large audience, and of course we wanna make everything as best we can for the groups that are actually performing,” he said.

The winning band last year was The Restless Atlantic. Competitors for the upcoming battle have yet to be announced.

According to Lent, the size of the audience has only gotten larger since she’s been a part of WUMF. “It gets bigger every year, and the bands get better every year.”