As of last Friday, July 31, we here at The Indy officially closed the polls for round one of our now annual Road to West Beach battle of the bands. But if you missed out on all the online voting action, fret not, because this competition is just getting started. After narrowing down 200-plus bands and artists to the nine most popular, we’re taking this battle off the Web and into the streets. Starting Friday, August 21, our semi-finalists will be broken down by hometown region and pitted against one another for some fierce live music competition. To check out the bands, their profiles, and music samples, visit independent.com/bands. And for more on the battle, read on below to see our reasons to rock the vote.
1) The Winners: Diversity is the word when it comes to this year’s semifinalists. Representing for Santa Barbara in the 2009 Road to West Beach battle are Verna Beware, Ruben Cortez, and Grover Anderson. Goleta, Isla Vista, and North County winners include The Goodland, Springtime Is Wartime, and Watercolor Paintings. And holding it down for Carpinteria, Ojai, and all points south are 8Stops7, Lonesome Dub, and Shades of Day. Congrats, guys.
2) The Prizes: Sure, it feels great to squash your competitors and leave your adversaries in the dust, but we all know the real motivation behind a good competition-the prizes. This year’s Road to West Beach grand prizewinner will score a coveted spot on the Main Stage lineup at this year’s West Beach Music Festival (Sept. 18-20). Don’t be fooled-this is no average gig. The coveted grand prize slot means sharing stage space with the likes of Ben Harper, Slightly Stoopid, G. Love, and The Bravery. Not so shabby for any up-and-coming rock star.
3) The Competition: But before we get to the big finish, these semi-finalists need to battle it out against each other. That means three regional competitions with three bands each, all vying for a slot in the finals. On Friday, August 21, Sandbar will host a battle for the top three bands from Carp, Ojai, and Ventura. On Saturday, August 22, I.V., Goleta, and North County bands will compete in Anisq’Oyo’ Park. And on Sunday, August 23, Santa Barbara’s finest will square off at Velvet Jones.
4) The Bragging Rights: Just because this contest starts as a region-by-region battle doesn’t mean it’s going to end that way. Following the semi-finals, the three winning bands will face off head-to-head (and axe-to-axe) in De la Guerra Plaza on September 3. In other words, if you’re a fan of the Goodland or a proud Carpinteria citizen, you’d better come out to represent, because your hometown heroes are going to be competing on S.B. dirt. Think of it as West Side Story with a little less dancing and a whole lot more amplification.