A Red Deer group took home the top spot at the RD Battle of the Bands this past weekend.
Four bands made up of musicians under 18 years old competed in the inaugural event, which took place at The Flex in downtown Red Deer on Saturday.
The Dillmans, a group created through the rock band program at Hunting Hills High School, was named the best act by a panel of judges at the event.
The top two bands at the RD Battle of the Bands earned the right to open for Whale and the Wolf and the New Rationals at a New Year’s Eve concert at Red Deer’s Memorial Centre.
Mixed Blame, a punk band based out of Calgary, finished second and will be joining The Dillmans at that New Year’s Eve show.
“The Dillmans and Mixed Blame kind of stole the show,” said RD Battle of the Bands organizer Roy Rhyno.
“Everyone that competed was very talented. The Dillmans showed themselves to be dynamic in their music and their songwriting was very evolved. That’s why they took top spot.”
Rhyno said the event went “way better than expected,” with well over 100 people in attendance.
“It was a very heartwarming day, to be honest. There was no negativity behind the competition. Everyone just wanted to see each other do well,” said Rhyno.
“The kids were calling each other up on stage, they were moshing for the other bands when they were playing. They were being incredibly supportive to one another, which was very good to see.”
The other two bands competing – Ethos, a group based out of Sylvan Lake, and Rotted Youth, a punk band based out of Red Deer – didn’t go home completely empty-handed, Rhyno noted.
“We had so many donated prizes that everyone was able to walk away with something good,” said Rhyno.
While judges were deliberating, Red Deer band Safety Gear performed a 30-minute set. When the winner was finally announced “the whole place erupted” from excitement, said Rhyno.
“Everyone seemed very grateful they had the opportunity to play alongside their peers. That’s exactly why I did this. We need more places and people to do things like this to help the kids find the ambition to do things like this on their own,” said Rhyno.
The plan is for RD Battle of the Bands to return next year, Rhyno said.
“Instead of the whole thing being 18 and under, maybe we’ll open it up a bit and just have an 18 and under category, as well as an adult category,” Rhyno said, adding that would help generate even more interest.