Each year, on the last Friday of June, Magnusen Park in Seattle (which is Seattle’s coolest park, by the way) hosts the annual Teenage Battle of the Bands. For me, summer doesn’t officially begin until the Magnusen Park Teenage Battle of the Bands has happened, and while there are scores of ‘battle of the bands” events in Seattle year round, the battle of teenage bands at Magnusen Park is the very best, the most fun, and a great opportunity to check out young up-and-coming musicians and bands in the Seattle area… musicians and bands that I like to call the “future of rock.”
The Magnusen Park battle of the bands usually features 8-10 bands playing 15-20 minute sets each. The event starts around 5 PM and goes on until 9:00 PM. There are prizes for the winning bands — the top prize being free recording time at a local recording studio — and the acts are judged by the event judges on showmanship, talent, song writing skills, and crowd interaction. Of course, it’s not really about the competition — this is about young people getting a chance to perform live in a cool setting on a stage with a real PA. This is about fun. The event is held at the Magnusen Park outdoor amhitheatre which, if you’ve never been there, is a very cool amphitheatre with a small stage set up for the acts and a nice green lawn to sit on. In the event of rain, as happened a few years ago, the Magnusen Park battle of the bands is held in the Magnusen Park auditorium which has a very big stage and seating for a couple hundred people.
I have been attending these Magnusen Park battle of the band events for many years now to check out what the kids are up to musically, and I must say I have been impressed by the talent and the variety of the acts. You’ll get your punk rock bands, your bluesy rock bands, and your alternative style bands, as well as the occasional “totally out there” weird bands. Mainly these are rock bands performing, and I must say It’s good to see that the kids these days still enjoy rock music and I am very happy to see — speaking as a “bitter and jaded” rock musician — young blokes who are genuinely excited to perform their music in front of a small crowd.
The Magnusen Park teenage battle of the bands is a good event for teens, families, and hipsters such as myself. An added bonus of this event is that you can walk around the park — which is a huge and beautiful park — and still hear the music. The setting for this battle of the bands is very cool, and I must say it makes me wish I was a teenager again so that I could play it myself. Yes, I have thought of donning an emo wig and putting some pimples on my face to enter the event, but I don’t think they’d fall for it…
The Magnusen Park teenage battle of the bands is open to all local bands whose members are between the ages of 11-18 (at least half the band members must be that age to enter) and to enter you must contact Magnusen Park event coordinator Marc Hoffman (his contact info can be found on the Seattle Parks website) and it’s a good idea to sign up at least a couple months early.