Hard rock, country, blues and many other genres regularly fill the weekly live music schedule of the increasingly popular Jefferson City venue The Bridge.
However on every Saturday in March, this music will have more than just a mission to entertain. It will pit a total of 12 bands against each other in friendly competition and hopefully raise thousands of dollars toward a worthy Mid-Missouri cause: SafetyNet.
The inaugural Bands Battle for the Badges event begins this Saturday, inviting the public to enjoy three local bands' music and vote for their favorite along with two celebrity judges based on performance, audience reaction and overall energy. Three more preliminary Bands Battle for the Badges competitions with three different bands will take place on March 10, 17 and 24. The four preliminary finalists will face off in the last competition, with one band claiming the 2018 Bands Battle for the Badges championship title.
The idea for this musically charged competition came from a conversation SafetyNet board President Mark Edwards had about the nonprofit organization that generates resources to support families of fallen heroes with individuals from The Bridge. This prompted further dialogue with the board about partnering with The Bridge on an event that would publicize SafetyNet and its mission, provide entertainment for the community and help expose local and regional musical talent.
"The idea of Battle of the Bands formed, which morphed into the Bands Battle for the Badges, as a fundraising event for SafetyNet," said Doris Boeckman, SafetyNet board member. "Not only do we hope to draw local community residents, we are hopeful that the families of public safety servants and law enforcement will come out to support the event, with all funds raised going to support the families of future fallen servants."
SafetyNet's event committee worked to secure Redwood Financial Group, LLC and Colonial Life as the event's main sponsor, as well as Pita Pit as a generous contributor that will provide meals for the bands each week, weekly prize raffles and an office party for 10 on March 31.
Organizers jumped to gather as many family-friendly bands to compete as possible, luckily with most of them confirming early before their spring gig schedules filled.
"That really helped out as other bands confirmed we could match bands up better. The music you can expect to hear ranges from country and blues to hard rock," said Chad Brown with The Bridge. "All the bands are from Jefferson City and Columbia areas. This should be a good competition with a wide variety of acts."
Kicking off the first contest Saturday is Chemical Mass, Here's Hoping and Seconds 'till Sunrise. A five-piece hard rock group from Jefferson City, Chemical Mass started hitting the Mid-Missouri music scene in early 2014, releasing a four-track demo with featured songs such as "Denial and "Nibiru" and two more singles since. Drew Murphy, Corey Dean and Nathan Nichols make up the electro/pop punk band Here's Hoping, blending vocals, guitar, piano, drums and synthesizers into their own unique sound across the Midwest. Hailing from Jefferson City, Seconds 'til Sunrise is a rock trio, delivering original punk, metal and many other tunes to a growing fanbase.
Bands scheduled to compete on March 10 are The Travis Feutz Band, Ben Green and Collin County Steel and Wire. On March 17, Richard Parker, Plain & Simple and Jg3 will battle, and Dark Below, Never Blue Ave and Magnus will be the final bands stepping into the battle ring March 24.
Brown said celebrity judges will include members of SafetyNet, local television and radio personalities, and a few select members of the Mid-Missouri music community. The final round on March 31 pitting the weekly finalists against each other will be judged in the same way.
"There is a cash prize for the overall winner and a gift certificate to Rosewood Music good for maintenance and repair of stringed instruments," Brown said.
Reo Feedwagaon will be on site to sell food to guests, who can also enter to win a variety of weekly prize drawings and a 50/50 prize drawing starting at 5 p.m. each Saturday. So far, Theo's, Paddy Malone's, Gumbo Bottoms, Spectator's, Shrunken Head Lounge, Goodrich Quality Theaters, Pita Pit and others have contributed to those drawings, Brown said.
Operating since 2012, SafetyNet has generated resources to support families of our fallen heroes in Boone and Cole counties. Assistance may include, but is not limited to financial contributions, savings bonds for spouse and children at holidays, annual birthday and Christmas cards, grief counseling, financial counseling, meal preparation, assistance with funeral expenses and services, etc. Within 24-hours of an on-duty death of a police officer (city and county officers, school resource officers, university campus officers, and Capitol police), firefighter (including volunteer firefighters), publicly-funded paramedic, EMS responder or correction officer, his or her family receives a visit from SafetyNet and funding in an amount up to $5,000 to meet immediate financial needs, with an assurance of ongoing support, SafetyNet board member Brian Neuner said.
"SafetyNet recognizes the tremendous sacrifices that these first responders make every day. We understand the burdens placed on surviving spouses and children when a line of duty death occur. We believe we have an obligation to care for the loved ones of those who have protected us," Edwards said.
Doors open at noon each Saturday at The Bridge, with performances beginning at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance or at the door with all proceeds benefiting SafetyNet.
For more information regarding SafetyNet or Bands Battle for the Badges, visit www.safetynetmo.org or visit The Bridge's Facebook and Twitter pages.
Keep up with Bands Battle for the Badges, its finalists and the big finale each week in the News Tribune's Escape section.