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USF inviting young bands to battle it out

Register for shot to win studio time to record own EP

The University of Saint Francis is bringing back its Battle of the Bands competition.

Emma Bachtel

Whatzup Features Writer

Published March 8, 2023

Rock. Win. Record. 

These are the three simple rules Sydney Wagner, a music technology student at the University of Saint Francis, wants young bands to follow at the USF Battle of the Bands on April 15 at the USF Robert Goldstine Performing Arts Center downtown.  

USF Battle of the Bands is seeking entrants who want to leave it all on the stage for the chance to record an EP in the USF studios for free. Registration is open to bands with members that are 23 years old and younger.

Get Ready to Rock!

According to its Eventbrite page, “The USF Battle of the Bands is a musical competition for high school and college age bands. They will be graded by a panel of judges on their originality, musical expression, technical skills, professional behavior, stage presence, and musical individuality.”

Bands of all genres and styles are invited to perform 15-minute sets in front of the judges and a live audience. The judges will be populated by members of the Fort Wayne music community. 

“Even though the bands will be evaluated by judges, this is also an awesome chance for them to perform in front of a live audience,” Wagner said. “It should be a lot of fun for both the band and audience.”

Attendees can expect to see some incredible local performers and enjoy concessions. 

Source of Inspiration

USF Battle of the Bands traditionally has been initiated and run by music technology students with faculty support, debuting in 2014 by then-student Rachelle Reinking, then again by former student Krystal Davis in 2017. 

The 2014, the competition was held at North Campus auditorium and had 10 bands. In 2017, it moved to the downtown USF Performing Arts Center and again had 10 bands battle it out for the grand prize. 

This year, Wagner is hoping to revive the event with her own flare.  

“I knew the battle of the bands was something that USF had done in the past and something I was interested in doing,” Wagner said. 

She said the idea of bringing it back was brought up by her professors as she began discussing ideas for her senior project.

“I was talking to one of my professors and said I wanted to do something big in the USF Performing Arts Center,” she said. “My professor told me about how the battle of the bands had been done at the USF Performing Arts Center in the past, and I fell in love with the idea of putting on the event this year.”

The University of Saint Francis Robert Goldstine Performing Arts Center, once known as the Scottish Rite Center, was built in 1925, according to USF’s website.  Now owned by the university, this stunning theater hosts numerous events, including music technology student concerts and USF choir concerts plus performances by other performing arts groups. 

“I wanted to utilize the PAC because it’s a really awesome space,” Wagner said. “It’s beautiful and well-equipped, and it has so much potential.”

Getting to Work

Once the decision to pursue this idea was made, it was time to get to work. 

Wagner has worked with numerous faculty across USF to bring this idea to fruition, including the music technology faculty, members of the USF marketing team, and other students. 

Wagner was able to leverage the robust network of musicians that her faculty are connected to as she searched for judges. 

“It was really great to have professors who were able to get me in touch with so many local music industry professionals,” Wagner said. 

She was also able to lean on the expertise of other USF students. Promotional flyers and graphics that you might have seen on the USF Battle of the Bands social media pages were designed by Elly Moryl, a graphic design student at USF. 

“It’s kind of a funny story,” Wagner said. “I had a flyer I initially designed myself, but when I showed it to my professors, they challenged me to try an create something better.”

So, Wagner sought out the help of her classmate to achieve the final version of the flyer. 

Still time to register

If you or anyone you know is interested in entering the USF Battle of the Bands, now is the time. 

To enter, go to the USF Battle of the Bands on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. The link for bands to register is in the bio of these accounts, and you can reach out via email to with any questions. Priority will be given to bands that submit their applications before Friday, March 17.

Tickets for audience members can be secured for free on The battle will take place on Saturday, April 15. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and bands will begin performing at 7 p.m. 

This event will be a great way to support local artists and listen to some great music. 

When asked if she had any final thoughts to share about the event, Wagner responded, “Come join us for a jammin’ good time!” 


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