Our youth ministry is considering holding a "Battle of the Bands" type event for worship bands in the area as a fund raiser. I have a few questions?
Would you consider participating in this kind of event if one was held close to you?
What things would the event have to offer to appeal to you as worship leaders/musicians?
If you have participated or hosted events like this what were the pitfalls/obstacles you encountered?
Thanks for any input,
You might wanna think about whether you could call it something other than a "Battle of the Bands," maybe a "Festival of Praise" or something. Play down the competitive aspect.
I would suggest getting one good drum set and a few amps onstage, so that all the bands have to do is to plug in their own instruments - minimize setup time between bands. If you have a way of doing two "stages" and maybe set up a soundproof practice room for the "next band" that might be cool. Also, if you could have a "practice day" some time before the real event so that bands could come and check out the room, play through the standard equipment, etc., that might be helpful. If you can work it out to have a separate "monitor mixer" person who sits up on the stage so the bands can get the monitors adjusted quickly. And have two or three techs available onstage to help with swapping bands and making sure the techs at the board(s) know who's in what channel. Left handed drummers often set up the drum kit in reverse of the way right handed ones do, so determine ahead of time if you have any left-handed drummers and adjust the order of bands so the drum set only has to be swapped around once.
Obviously, you'd need to coordinate with the bands ahead of time to get song lyrics for projection, and maybe coordinate between bands so you don't have six different bands doing "God of Wonder". Maybe work up some "Bible Trivia" to put on the projection screens between bands, or episodes of Davey and Goliath or something :-)
As far as what I might want to get me to bring my band to the event (if I currently had one), I think one thing would be how long we would have on stage - doing two songs or 15 minutes or something might not be "worth it." If the bands have CDs, arrange for them to be able to sell those. Reserve some parking spaces for equipment vans for easy loadin and loadout. Don't make the bands stay there all day just to play their one set, and try to keep to a schedule so that if our band is scheduled to play at 2 pm, we don't show up at 1:30 and not actually get to play until 4:30. Contact lots of other youth groups and make sure you have a nice, big crowd for this.
This might be the sort of event where a commemorative t-shirt would sell well. If you can work out permissions, maybe record all the music and put out a 'best of" CD / DVD later on... maybe ask the bands to do at least one "original" worship song in their sets so you don't have to go through the whole process of getting permission to use a Hillsongs song or something.
Thanks for the input. Josh, I agree, and I was bouncing some ideas around. Battle(of the Bands) for the Kingdom. Or a scripture verse.. iron sharpens iron...
or some type of theme such as being in one accord or lifting one another up.
Charles, I'd really like for this to be a great networking opportunity, with the bands setting up product tables/ booths, and inviting area youth pastors in for an opportunity to preview the bands/ and possibly book them for youth revivals, etc.
One of our ideas was to provide feedback to the younger bands about areas for improvement, and an opportunity to get to know other musicians in the area.
We are also considering sponsorships by local merchants such as Christian bookstores and music stores.
As far as material, we were wanting three songs. An original and two covers.
For the judging, we were thinking of breaking it down into several catagories
Mastery of intruments
Vocals/Use of Harmony
Song Selection (Did the set flow)
How Cohesive was the band
Thanks for the input... Keep it coming...
Not sure I get why this would need to be about "worship bands". If you are trying to use a band competition as a means of raising money then why not just make it a battle of the bands and leave the "worship band" exclusivity out of it? If you are concerned with content then just require a screening of the bands with their lyric content before they are allowed in the competition.
I may be in the minority on this, but a competition just doesn't seem like the place for bands whose sole purpose is to glorify the Lord of all creation, lead the church community in singing praises to Him, and make disciples for Him. I mean think about it, would you apply the same concept to preachers? A Battle of the Preachers? How about those who pray and intercede? A Battle of the Prayers? Or any other ministry?
I'm one of the last guys who is going to overstate the importance and uniqueness of those who are called and serve God and His church through the creation and performance of music, but the idea of creating a competition where some person or persons will be quantifying the excellence of those servants and their ministry just seems........unedifying and maybe even destructive. I'm not saying I'm against constructive critique, I think it's necessary, but when the purpose of the critiquing is compare one ministry to another in order to declare a winner the motivation is out of place.
Thanks for your input. The only reason that I was considering limiting the entries to worship bands was to enable more of an apples to apples comparison for the judges. I think your point about opening the competition to a wider variety is a valid one, and I will discuss this with my team.
I believe that we can use this to glorify God. This type of event may appeal to someone who wouldn't be intrigued at all by a traditional church service. As far as a battle of the preachers, I get your point. But I could also see how those called to that ministry would like an opportunity to assemble with others, deliver a message, and have their collegues enlighten them on areas for improvement. In fact, I'm sure that in some seminary schools, this is the case, where one must deliver the message to their peers and then they are "graded" so to speak.
I do take some issue with your last point. I agree that on some level unsolicited or misplaced criticism can wreck a persons motivation to serve. But, we must realize that everyone involved in this will do so by their own free will. Declaring a winner in this is basically way to make the event fun, and in no way establishes any one worship team any more valuable than any other.
Thank you for your reply Joshua. You've definitely given me something to consider and pray about. I do think that it is very important how we frame this and your feelings may be shared by other worship leaders in my area who may decline form the same reasons.
I was in a worship band a few years back that did this. This is my experience:
1) It gave us the opportunity to focus on musicianship which made us all grow.
2) We met and experienced other worship teams all around Kansas and Missouri. Some of these people have been friends ever since.
3) It was great to watch the other worship bands. We were all there to be critically reviewed, we got to share ideas through the mechanism of watching the other bands.
4) I wouldn't have exchanged that experience for the world.
I think that your experience is what our goals for the event need to look like.
Thank you for the input.
Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I think you are moving in the right direction if you are aiming for the experience that Cory seems to have had. I would personally cherish the chance to be able to take the bands I serve with to an event where we were able play along side other "worship bands" in our area for the purposes of encouragement, celebrating the gift of music God has given, community building, and constructive criticism. I think it would be a blessing.
If I'm honest with myself though, even if I went to an event like that that was not a "battle of the bands" I would be tempted to start comparing myself as a leader and my band as a ministry with the other bands there in terms of "who is better". That's because, like many leaders, I struggle with pride. I think holding an event like that under the banner of "this is a competition and one band (ministry) is going to be declared the winner" only serves to fuel that kind of sinful thinking.
If your goal is to bless "worship bands" (ministries) in your area by giving them a venue to perform and be encouraged by the constructive criticism of fellow believers and to connect with other musicians serving in other churches then I think making it a competition only serves to create a stumbling block for the musicians serving in those ministries.
If your goal is to create a fun event that people will pay money to go watch, and I'll give it to you that making something a competition does create a sense of anticipation and excitement that might increase the number of attendee's, then why not just make it a straight up battle of the bands? If you don't want to run into having to judge a metal band next to an acoustic jam band then restrict it to a certain genre of music. Then you can just focus on the fun and community aspects of the event.
As a last thought, and this really off the subject, it makes me feel a bit sad inside that the music of the church has become so cookie cutter that we would assume (and usually not incorrectly) that we could compare any two random "worship bands" and it would be like comparing an apple to an apple. In a world where God created music of such diversity, why doesn't the church reflect that kind of Godly character? That's for another thread I guess.
God bless you John, and I really do hope for your success in this endeavor for the sake of the Gospel.
I think you are moving in the right direction if you are aiming for the experience that Cory seems to have had.
I want to provide a bit more detail here because, while I think we really got something valuable from the experience, a few of my band mates had to grow into that value.
There were a few who were upset by some of the comments that the judges made. They were even more upset when one band that was, by all measure, pretty lousy took second place, one point behind ours.
While that sounds like a bad thing - I wasn't. As the leader of the band, I really had to check myself, then check my brothers and sisters. Perhaps the most important part of the experience was that we found how proud we were and then spent the next few months working on our humility issues. We grew a lot during that period.