Aaron Colyn of Twin City Brewing (far right) presents a cheque for $1,625 to Kim Blake of the Battle of the Bands, accompanied by Lance Goddard from Five Acre Co. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Aaron Colyn of Twin City Brewing (far right) presents a cheque for $1,625 to Kim Blake of the Battle of the Bands, accompanied by Lance Goddard from Five Acre Co. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Port Alberni’s youth Battle of the Bands is back

Zattzoo Project’s sixth annual youth band competition returns after two-year COVID-19 hiatus

Port Alberni’s Youth Battle of the Bands is back after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19.

Young musicians will take the stage at the Rainbow Room on May 28, 2022 to showcase their talents, competing for a cash prize and a spot in this year’s Five Acre Co. summer concert series.

The music competition is open to all Vancouver Island musicians under the age of 25.

Battle of the Bands was started by the Zattzoo Project eight years ago to give local musicians a place to play for their families and friends. The Zattzoo Project, named after late Port Alberni musician Zakkaree Coss, was started by Zakk’s mother, Kimberly Blake, and brother, Dallas Ward, after Coss’s death in 2014.

The sixth Battle of the Bands competition has been a long time coming in Port Alberni, after it was cancelled in 2020 and again in 2021.

“We’re just getting a routine back,” said Blake.

Blake recently met with Five Acre Co. founder Lance Goddard and Twin City Brewing owner Aaron Colyn to accept a cheque for $1,625, which came from the sale of Twin City’s Shaker Session Ale in 2021. Blake says Five Acre Co. has supported the Battle of the Bands “from day one” with donations and promotions.

Although a Five Acre Shaker is not planned for 2022, Goddard says the company is organizing a “summer concert series” where the winner of Battle of the Bands will be able to perform.

The battle has been held at the Rainbow Room every year, where Coss used to perform. The owner, Dave Rutherford, recently renovated the venue, and Blake said she is looking forward to seeing it full again.

“The room’s always full of local promoters and photographers,” said Blake. “It puts [the performers] in the limelight for the night.”

Previous winners of the event, including Quadra Sound and Sean Lyons, have gone on to have some success in the music industry.

Spectators will be welcome this year, too. Blake is planning to sell 100 tickets, but the event will follow whatever COVID-19 public health orders are in place at the time.

The battle will now be capped at 15 bands or solo acts. All genres are welcome and there is no cost to sign up. Each band gets about 12-15 minutes of stage time.

“People can expect a really warm, inviting atmosphere,” said Blake. “A lot of energy, a lot hope. There’s a lot of love,” she added. “Parents, siblings are there. Even grandmas with their ears plugged.”

“It’s always emotional, because of the reason behind it,” said Blake. “But it’s not a sad event.”

A callout for bands will be posted on the Zattzoo Project Facebook page in the coming weeks.

Blake is still looking for adult volunteers for the night, as well as volunteer photographers. Anyone who is interested in volunteering can contact Kimberly Blake on Facebook or The Zattzoo Project on Facebook.



elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

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