The Vermont Cynic

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Bands battle for the SpringFest stage

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Self-described nomadic disco punk trio Bison performs at Battle of the Bands March 18. The group won the chance to be the opening act at SpringFest. Jen Ramirez/The Vermont Cynic

[/media-credit] Self-described nomadic disco punk trio Bison performs at Battle of the Bands March 18. The group won the chance to be the opening act at SpringFest. Jen Ramirez/The Vermont Cynic

The UVM Battle of The Bands drew an enthusiastic crowd to campus and downtown this week.

The event kicked off March 14 in Brennan’s Pub in the Davis Center and culminated with a final battle March 18 at Club Metronome.

The winner of the battle, Bison, will open for The Head and the Heart at Springfest April 30. Tickets will be available through Flynntickets.org and go on sale March 21.

The competition allowed student-formed bands to compete for the opportunity to open for this year’s SpringFest headliners The Head and The Heart.

The bands who entered the contest were judged on four categories by a panel of judges: quality of sound, quality of performance, quality of stage presence and level of overall musical talent and whether or not judges would recommend the band to play at SpringFest.

The judges also have their own individual criteria.

“Stage presence is really important to me,” senior Isabelle Joseph said. “When deciding who’s going to perform at SpringFest, I really look for good performers.”

“They need to be well-rounded musically,” sophomore Jagger Linsky said. “All the bands have been great musicians and you can tell they all love it.”

Senior Catharine O’Neill had a different perspective on judging the bands.

“I’m a member of the UVM Program Board concert committee so I have to make sure the band is what UVM students want to see at SpringFest,” O’Neill said. “I have to make sure they’re going to draw in a crowd on top of everything else.”

[media-credit name=”Jen Ramirez” align=”alignnone” width=”351″]squimley[/media-credit]

The contest was judged by both current and former UVM students. Jason Marchand ‘14, who now works at Nectar’s,  judged the event.

“I have to take off the Nectar’s hat and think about what students would like to see and hear,” Marchand said.

By the time of the finale at Club Metronome March 18, the competition had been narrowed down to three bands: Bison, “BUMF” (Becker, Ullman, Markley and Freedberg) and Squimley and The Woolens.

Each band brought a unique sound, stage presence and energy to the club.

While Bison showcased their self-described “nomadic disco punk,” BUMF brought a funky, jazz-inspired, instrumental sound. Squimley and the Woolens brought a groovy alternative sound to the show.

“I really liked BUMF,”  sophomore Meghan Nanan said, “They have a really sophisticated musical sound which I can appreciate as a music minor.”

The judges all said the high level of talent made choosing a winner a difficult task.

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Bands battle for the SpringFest stage