Report by Paula Antolini, August 8, 2019, 7:45PM EDT
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont and the organizers of the Woodstock Fair today announced the five bands that will participate in the 2019 Battle of the Bands competition that will be held at the Woodstock Fair on Friday, August 30 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Organized to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock Music Festival, the competition will give each Connecticut-based band an opportunity to perform music that was played at the original 1969 festival, which included iconic musicians such as Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker, Jefferson Airplane, and The Who, among many others.
Each band will compete for a share of $17,000 in prize money and the title of “Connecticut Band of the Year.”
The idea to hold the competition was generated by Governor Lamont, who felt that the absence of an official event celebrating the anniversary gave Connecticut an opportunity to mark the occasion and showcase some of its own home-grown talent at the annual Woodstock Fair, which shares a namesake with the historic festival.
“I may have missed the first Woodstock concert in 1969, but I’m won’t miss the 50th anniversary Woodstock tribute concert in Woodstock, Connecticut,” Governor Lamont said. “There is no better way to bring together Connecticut music, arts, ‘60s nostalgia, and tourism all into one fun afternoon. I invite everyone to come enjoy a day filled with peace and music—and celebrate all that Connecticut has to offer. With five incredible local bands playing everything from Janis to Jimi, there is no better place be on Friday, August 30.”
More than 50 bands submitted entries and they were narrowed down to five finalists. They are:
- Among Acres: Originating from Hartford, the band garnered local acclaim, being voted “Best New Band 2018” and “Best Americana/Country Artist 2019” by readers of the Hartford Courant. The band has been asked to record their debut album at the Telefunken Soundstage.
- Balkun Brothers: Born and raised in Hartford, the Balkun Brothers have been impressing crowds around the world, including in Paris, Amsterdam, and London, and have performed at famed venues such as B.B. King’s Blues Club in New York City and Cabaret Sauvage in Paris.
- Hollister Thompson Band: Based in Connecticut, the band has been crossing genres for over a decade, creating their own style of neo-classic-pop-country-retro rock. They frequently perform at venues throughout Connecticut and Southern Massachusetts, including most recently at Mohegan Sun’s Comix Roadhouse.
- Last Licks: Based in the Hartford area, the band has been together for 13 years and frequently play throughout Connecticut.
- Weird Sounds: Comprised of Jay Eddy of New Haven and Zach Fontanez of Meriden, the band is a new folk-rock duo venture.
Each band will perform for 30 minutes and will be judged by a panel of public figures, including Governor Lamont. One criteria of the judging will be crowd participation, so audience members are encouraged to play an active role in the outcome of the competition.
The Woodstock Fair is held annually in Woodstock, Connecticut and continues to be one of the state’s largest entertainment events of the summer. Admission is $12 for adults; $8 for senior citizens and active military with ID; and free for children 10 years and under.
For more information on the fair, visit woodstockfair.com.