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Battle of the Bands Seeking Entrants

The annual competition pulls in bands from all over the Tampa Bay area.

Pasco County is looking for a few goods bands that want to lay it all on the line for a chance to win cold, hard cash and professional recording time.

The county’s library system plays host to the annual battle that pits bands from all over the Tampa Bay area in a competition to win $1,000 in cash and $1,200 worth of professional recording studio time.

The field is open to bands from anywhere in the state of Florida with a few caveats: each band must have at least three members, the majority of members must be 21 or under and all bands must have at least two original songs.

Dubbed Rockus Maximus, the annual competition is in its 16th year. Last year’s battle drew bands from Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough and other surrounding counties. The winning band, MBL Trio, hailed from Lutz and has since gone on to perform at such venues as the State Theatre in St. Petersburg.

While the competition isn’t until March, the deadline is fast approaching for bands to enter the fray, said Paul Stonebridge, youth services librarian for Pasco County Libraries.

“We need bands,” Stonebridge said.

The competition is staged to allow up to eight bands to battle it out for the title. Bands can represent any genre – rock, death metal, country, new age – it doesn’t matter, Stonebridge said.

Rockus Maximus typically features four bands from Pasco and four groups from other parts of the state, but that’s not a hard-and-fast rule.

“We’d like half of them to be from Pasco, but we’re trying to make this bigger than just Pasco,” he said. We want this to be “locally grown, but nationally known.”

The actual battle takes place March 22 at the Rotary Pavilion at the Concourse, 15325 Alric Pottberg Road in Shady Hills. Admission is free with a library card. All told, this year’s battle has $6,000 in prizes on the line. The competition also includes an online contest with prizes.

Two promotional concerts will also be held at Pasco library branches prior to the actual battle.

So why would a local band want to enter?

The answer is simple, Stonebridge said.

“Aside from the obvious fact you can win money and recording time, this is a chance to get yourself known in a market. There’s a guaranteed crowd (at the final battle) and it’s all about making the bands look as good as possible.”

Bands that wish to enter the competition can sign up online on the library’s website. Rockus Maximus 16 also has its own Facebook page. For more details, call Stonebridge at the Land O’ Lakes Library, 813-929-1214. The deadline to enter is Jan. 19.

Funding for the battle and its prizes comes from sponsors and the Friends of Pasco County Libraries. No taxpayer dollars are used for the event. Clearwater’s Clear Track Studios is providing the recording time for winners.

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