Newfoundland and Labrador is the country’s hothouse of musical talent and when local bands take each other on in good-spirited challenge audiences are in for a treat. Every year for the past decade residents of the capital city have been regaled with a Battle of the Bands showcasing some of the city’s finest up-and-coming talent.

The Battle of the Bands started at Turner’s Tavern in 2008 and moved to The Levee, along with local music promoter Gene Browne, who’s kept it going with the help of others for ten years. The event has been the breeding ground for many bands that have gone on to make careers from music, like last year’s winners Carlyle, and previous winners such as The Combine, Newspaper Fashion Show, and Elk and the Elderly (who have splintered off to form additional few bands between them).

Since the Levee closed last year, Browne decided to take the competition to the legendary Ship Pub; a fitting venue for what has become a musical institution in this city.

The Challenge

How does it work? Every Thursday, starting  at 9:30pm, original bands hit the stage, with four or five of them each scheduled into thirty minute sets each night. They’re competing for 40 hours of recording with GNAudio, a MusicNL membership, and a free trip to play during one of Atlantic Canada’s hottest festivals, The Halifax Pop Explosion in October.

There will be a finals show on April 6 at The Rockhouse. To make the finals you have to be one of the top four scoring bands of the whole event. Scores are made up from a combination of judges’ points and fan votes. You can only vote once, on the night of the performance. The finals will be decided by fan vote only, since it’s presumed that finalists will have already achieved high judging scores during the round robin events.

Sponsors for this year’ battle of the bands are   GNAudioMusicNLLong & McQuade – St. John’s, and Justin Dean of Make It So Productions. The events are 19+ (even for band members) so take note!

If you missed the first two rounds, here’s a recap!

BATTLE OF THE BANDS – ROUND ONE (January 25, 2018)

Thursday, January 25 saw the event kick-off with a fantastic line-up featuring Trend, Disposition, Florizel, Centrefold, and Vagabond.

Battle of the Bands 2018

CHMR-FM News Director Colleen Power, who’s also an event judge, was there and offered some superb coverage for CHMR-FM (Newfoundland and Labrador’s finest source for local and independent music!). Check out her Round One coverage here, featuring live performances and interviews with the bands:


February 1 saw an equally powerful round featuring Fennway, False Myths, Oh My God It’s Burning, and The Blonds.

BotB Round Two

And once again, CHMR’s Colleen Power provided superb coverage of the bands and their music, which you can check out here:

Are you excited yet? Round Three hits the stage TONIGHT, Thursday February 8. Tonight’s line-up includes The Low Ceilings, Dora, Hatch Harnett, Drift, and Chris Osmond’s Blue Mood. Once again CHMR-FM will be there, but if you want the full experience you should head down to the Ship Inn yourself – it’ll be an evening of top-notch musical talent you won’t forget! We’ll continue our coverage over the next several weeks here at CHMR-FM, where you can listen and request several of these bands on our many locally-produced music shows.

See you at the shows!