|Covenant 31 performs during the 14th annual Battle of the Bands in Prescott Valley Saturday.|
Photo courtesy Matt Hinshaw
|Agent Audio gets the crowd’s attention with ’80s cover songs during the 14th annual Battle of the Bands at Mountain Valley Park in Prescott Valley.|
Photo courtesy Matt Hinshaw
Under bright, sunny skies with an accompanying light, cool breeze Saturday afternoon, Billy and Teresa Niles felt at home on the plush green grass of the Mountain Valley Park amphitheater as a deep bass pulsated through several speakers onstage 100 feet away.
After all, this spring marked the 14th straight year that the couple attended this community's 14th annual Battle of the Bands.
The Town of Prescott Valley, PV's Chamber of Commerce and several tri-city area businesses again sponsored the casual outdoor gathering, which showcased six bands from 2-8 p.m. in a lighthearted competition that invited those in the audience to vote for their favorite act by submitting their ticket stubs.
Like so many others around them, the Niles' plopped themselves down on their blanket - consuming their favorite beverage and snack chips while mingling with other folks in a diverse crowd that numbered in the hundreds.
"The bands keep us coming back," said Billy, a 22-year resident of Prescott Valley as his wife braced for the second act, the cover rock group Crossfire. "We get to see all the people we don't see during the year. We also came down to take in the nice weather."
Jeff and Tracey Van Der Meersche of PV, who were at the show for the sixth time, arrived early and pitched their large rainbow-colored umbrella about 40 feet from the stage. They ate and drank from their cooler and simply enjoyed being outside on a pleasant spring day.
"It's a great place to relax and have a good time," Jeff said. "For us, it's time for family."
Ryan Gross, 33, of PV, who brought along his two young daughters, sister-in-law and nephew, said the positive atmosphere for families, along with the selection of concessions and music, drew him back for the second straight year.
"I love music, and usually all the bands are good," Gross said. "There's nothing better than live music."
Several teens streamed into the event, including a pair of girls, one of whom is an aspiring musician. As they took turns sipping from a syrupy snow cone, they said they paid a visit for the first time to hang out with friends.
Closer to the stage sat two young couples on their lawn chairs - Justin and Cathy Alvis of PV, and Daniel and Janine Morgan of Prescott.
"I've been here three years now, and I love everything from rock and roll to old country," said Morgan, who goes on hiking and backpacking trips with Justin, his close friend. "PV needs this. It's good for the area."
Cathy, who grew up in PV, said the show is "always a blast" and that she appreciates it being inexpensive.
"It's fun for the whole family, and I like how you can listen to the music and still talk to someone next to you," she said.
Across the middle of the field, Eric Ashe, 55, of Dewey - who enjoys listening to rhythm and blues and jazz - had never been to the Battle of the Bands until Saturday. He was on hand to watch his daughter, Kristie-Lee Bollinger, open the festivities with an elegant rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Bollinger, a contemporary Christian/Gospel singer who recently moved back to this area after 12 years in Nashville, Tenn., said she has been singing her whole life.
"When I met my husband long ago, he convinced me to pursue it professionally," she said.
While in Nashville, Bollinger signed with an independent Christian label. She's in the process of building her own fan base and is currently working on a 10-song CD of original music.
Perhaps in the coming years she will return to the Battle of the Bands - as the lead singer in her own band.
"Hopefully the CD will come out by the end of the year," she said. "I want to put together a group and have concerts around town."