Out of the garage and into the Den

By Eric Fung

An inter-school battle of the bands encourages war, not peace, in campus bars.

Garage Wars is a four-night battle of the bands featuring 18 acts from the University of Calgary, Mount Royal College and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. Chosen from over 60 submissions, finalists will vye for a grand prize that includes a studio recording session at Sundae Sound.

"It’s everything from singer/songwriters to folk to pop to rock to punk to metal," explained U of C Students’ Union Vice-President Events Chris Kerr. "It’s a pretty diverse line-up for each night, which was done intentionally. There’s music to please everybody."

Over three nights, six semi-finalists will each play a half-hour segment and, every night, the top two groups advance to the finals, where the winner will be crowned. Various campus icons and people from the music industry compose the adjudication team.

"We want to find all those bands that are just rehearsing in their basements and [get] them out, give them the chance to get a gig," says Kerr. "The event is just meant to give bands more exposure and to have some good times."

After a four-year hiatus, Garage Wars is being resurrected this year, encouraged by previous success.

"The last winner was Tegan and Sara, which goes to show what kind of opportunity comes out of this," explains Kerr. "They were the underdogs, but they came out and won the contest. Now they’ve been signed to a record deal and just finished touring with Neal Young. [Garage Wars] really helped to kick start their careers."

Kerr encourages students to show their support for the local talent from all three institutions.

"All the bands have put in a lot of effort to get to this point," Kerr says. "Let’s give them an audience."