World Battle of the Bands

World battle of the bands

Mark Koh on the success of the World Battle of the Bands 2005 and the event’s return to Singapore this year!

World battle of the bands?

Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Australia, New Zealand, Manila and Singapore will play host, with three more cities, New York, Beijing and Taipei, joining the battle. Despite my personal peeve with the American ‘Pay to play’ concept, the World Battle of the Bands is truly a global competition for the new millennium organised by musicians for musicians.

Overall, the aim of the competition is to unearth the best unsigned acts worldwide. For $50 SGD, musicians can aspire to fill stages across 4 heats, 2 semi finals and 1 national final with a chance to win a flight to Hong Kong to compete in the World final. Prizes include recording contracts, studio time, instruments and much more.

WBB Originated from a remarkable music tradition, the New Zealand Battle of the Bands, which is a respected, national music event that has grown significantly in popularity and size over its 15-year history.

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The competition was launched globally in 2004, setting up platforms across Australia, Hong Kong and Los Angeles with over 400 bands performing in 200 shows spanning June to late November last year. The first final was held in Auckland, New Zealand, culminating in a sell-out performance.

“World Battle of the Bands has been a terrific eye-opener for the upcoming bands. Instead of the one song, two song format..we get to have a full 30 minutes onstage to really put on a good show!” – Md Izaar, Fat Skunks

In 2005, the event grew from four to six countries in the Asia Pacific, with the inclusion of Singapore and The Philippines. The 2005 World Final was held in Hard Rock Cafe in Hong Kong, providing a more central destination for all participants. 2005 saw significant growth in many aspects of the event, particularly media coverage and turnout.

The Ocean Band
The Ocean Band

Singapore 2005 winners The Ocean Band (pictured, right) have received rave reviews in Straits Times for their debut album ‘Bar Codes’ and have performed in large-scale events such as the Sembawang Festival and opening for American Chart toppers Hoobastank (‘The Reason’) in Sentosa. The runners up were Summer’s Over and scene veterans Fatskunks.

WBB provides a platform for emerging bands to present themselves to a larger audience, as well as to industry figures. It potentially bridges their first performances and resulting careers in the music industry. Conversely, the venues that host the World Battle of the Bands gain manifold benefit from increased patronage and recognition in the local scene. For new musicians, I recommend taking part, because a competition environment is far more professional and taxing than casual gigs organised by friends, it also provides opportunity for honing instrumental skills live and coping with an audience.

“A new experience … Fun meeting new people and learning new stuff … It’s never about winning, it’s about the love of music where all different genre appreciate and support each other … That’s what this competition is all about.” – Sher Iqbal, Summer’s Over

The event schedule?is as follows:
Gashaus (114 Middle Road, #01-00 Lee Kai House) Heats – 18 Aug, 25 Aug, 1 Sep (Friday), Semis – 15 Sept, 22 Sept (Friday) Final – 29 Sept (Friday), Timbre (45 Armenian Street, The Substation) Heats – 16 Aug, 23 Aug, 30 Aug (Wednesday) Semis – 16 Sept, 23 Sept (Saturday) Final – 30 Sep (Saturday), Home Club (20 Upper Circular Road, #B1-01/06 The Riverwalk) Heats – 17 Aug, 24 Aug, 31 Aug (Thursday), Semis – 14 Sept, 21 Sept (Thursday) Final – 28 Sept (Thursday) Venue to be confirmed National Final – 14 Oct (Saturday)
Entries are now open for Singaporean bands to enter the event. All applications can be made online at or at any of these registration outlets: Black Label (#04-48 Far East Plaza / #05-10 The Heeren) City Music (#02-13/13 Peace Centre) Jade Music (#02-03 Peninsular Shopping Centre) Jamwerkz Music Studios (114 Middle Road #01-00) Tiet Studio (27 Kreta Ayer Road)
– Registration Hotline: +65 6459 0061