Music news

Steve Hammer

In a sign of conciliation and consolidation in the local music scene, organizers of the two major Battles of the Bands are announcing that their entities will merge for the 2006 season.

Jeff Zuckerman, organizer of the Patio's Battle of the Bands, and

Ryan May, Webmaster of and organizer of the Battle of Birdy's, made a joint announcement this week.

NUVO will be the exclusive print sponsor of the event, which will still be called the Battle of Birdy's and will be held at Birdy's Bar and Grill on Fridays and Saturdays starting May 5.

"Our goal is to give away the largest amount in the history of any battle of the bands," May says. "I think that joined together we can offer something better to the local music scene that is greater than what we could have offered alone.""With the joining of our two events, we feel like we have the best of both worlds," Zuckerman says. "There were some really cool things Ryan was doing that was different than us. We've found a way to merge the separate forces. It's a new era for the Indianapolis music scene."

The new Battle will feature a $10,000 cash prize to the winner, as well as other goods and the sum of a pot derived from the door money at the shows. The voting structure will be the same as last year's Battle of Birdy's, which combined judge's votes with audience votes.

There were 106 bands participating in the Battle of Birdy's and 154 in the Patio Battle. May expects about 190 bands to participate in the joint battle.

Asked whether the events would have merged if the Patio hadn't closed last year, May said he didn't know, but that "It is something that may have happened in the future. But this presented us with an opportunity to bring two great events together to benefit the community."

Zuckerman says, "I am very saddened that the Patio closed. The Battle of the Bands will always be remembered for the years it was at the Patio. We had some significant challenges when the Patio closed. We had to make decisions about how to proceed or if even to proceed."

With the help of the Vogue's Matt Schwegman, Patio soundman Jonee Quest and many others, the Patio Battle quickly became a marquee event after its launch in 2001, bringing bands such as The Slurs to a wider audience.

Other venues in town were interested in hosting Zuckerman's event, but after consulting with various music-business friends and former Battle advocates, he came to the conclusion that merging the two battles was the best way to proceed.

"The climate of the Indianapolis music scene is ripe for a little bit more collaboration instead of separate goals and separate mentalities," he says, adding that continuing his series at another venue would "perpetuate" that mentality of competition.

After deciding to proceed with a merged event, May and Zuckerman collaborated on the adoption of new rules, using elements of each of the separate events.

"The most important thing is that every band gets an equal chance to advance" in the competition, Zuckerman says, and the new rules are designed to help assure just that.

The Battle will run from May 5 to Dec. 9, with registration beginning today, March 1.

"Instead of having two different competing battles going on at the same time, one Battle will offer the bands of Indianapolis more exposure," May said.

May will be the president of the Battle of Birdy's, with Zuckerman acting as its director of operations. Amanda Reedy will be the event's marketing director.

Past winners of the Patio Battle include The Relatives, Loretta, Devil To Pay and Stereo Deluxe. Xero Sum was the winner of the 2005 Battle of Birdy's.

"There's sort of an Indianapolis band hall of fame and one of the best resume builders available to a band is being the winner of one of these events," Zuckerman says.

For registration information for the event, visit or


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