The national search for a rising musical star began several months ago. Charter Communications hosted the Battle of the Bands, which saw nearly 300 entries, all competing for a prize package valued at nearly $25,000. The package included a musical equipment allowance and the importantly the opportunity to appear as the opening act for Panic! At the Disco, Fitz & Tantrums, and Plain White T’s at a show in Madison, Wisconsin.
Charter Center Stage is an innovative approach to the traditional music festival, in which bands from across the country entered and competed in a twist on the classic “Battle of the Bands” idea: Allowing bands to submit videos online, many more bands had the chance to win. The contest drove more than billion impressions to the official voting site, earning all the entrants more publicity. Charter also rewarded contest voters with a host of prizes.
Sunderland was started by four high school friends in a small town in Oregon named Hood River. McKinley Kitts, lead singer and guitarist, decided he wanted to be a rockstar in middle school and started playing the guitar. Vaughn Heppe, friends with McKinley since 5th grade, couldn’t stop banging pencils on his desk. After eventually buying a drum set, they decided to start playing music together. Fast-forward to their later high school years, Vaughn met Dylan Bauld, bass and back vocals, in study hall and asked if he wanted to jam after school. Looking for a lead guitarist, the three asked Zachary Grace to join – and the magic of Sunderland was born.
After three years of hard work, Sunderland is establishing themselves as one of the biggest unsigned alternative pop/rock bands on the West Coast. Primarily known for their sold out EP recording, “Change of Pace,” these clean-cut rockers chose the name Sunderland after McKinley’s middle name. Having already opened for many national acts, and recently released a music video for their new hit single “Campus” off their newly released self-titled sophomore EP, they are excited to add the title of Charter’s Center Stage Battle of the Bands winner to their accomplishments.
“We are incredibly grateful to receive the most votes,” said Sunderland’s Dylan Bauld. “We entered the competition just before half of our equipment was stolen on tour in Denver. Thanks to Charter, we’ve been provided this opportunity to replace our equipment, along with the thrill of opening a live concert for three great bands.”
The lucky band, Sunderland, took home the title of Charter Center Stage winner and will perform at the festival, not only in front of the Madsion audience, but also in front of online viewers as the concert will also stream live on Facebook.
“We’re passionate performers who love to have fun on stage,” Bauld stated. “And we’re looking forward to rocking the crowd in Madison and those watching live on Facebook.”
“Charter is an enthusiastic proponent of digital music, and Charter Center Stage is a way to encourage the growth of new musical composition, cutting edge and online,” said Robert Ladd, Charter Vice President, National Sales. “It’s a thrill for us to give talented bands an opportunity to be discovered.”
The event takes place at Willow Island at the Alliance Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin, on October 15. The event is completely free to attend, tickets are required for entry (available at http://www.charter.com/festival).
“We hope our concert will be a great next chapter for Sunderland,” Allan Samson, Charter’s Senior Vice President of Marketing.
With loyal fans in Hood River, across the country from their travels and the contest, and soon to be fans in Madison, this is an incredible opportunity to really jump-start their career on a national stage.
This article is from The Odyssey, a fraternity and sorority weekly newspaper that produces a unique paper on campuses across the United States. Check out the Odyssey at www.TheOdysseyOnline.com
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