UNCW students win chance to perform in 2018 Azalea Festival

Kyle Kissinger


Frontwoman of Feebs, Haley Norris, performing during Battle of the Bands

Maddie Driggers and Kyle Kissinger

UNCW’s annual Battle of the Bands competition took place on campus on Friday, Feb. 9 in the Burney Center as one of the Association for Campus Entertainment’s (ACE) Homecoming week events. Five student-based bands from the university took the stage to compete for a $500 prize and a spot to play in this year’s Azalea Festival.

The process to pick which bands were going to compete in the competition started in November 2017. ACE Concerts Chair Hannah Williams says the process was more difficult than years past.

“When all the applications were in,” Williams said, “ACE’s Concerts Committee met to listen to all of the music and vote on the bands they thought would be the best competitors. This year we received more applications than ever before so it was super competitive as we could only accept half of our applicants.”

10 bands were narrowed down to five in January. New Atmosphere, Feebs, Odd Elbow, Four From Friedan and Adventure were the bands chosen to compete in this year’s competition.

“Since the selection process was so competitive this year, we had five of the best!” Williams said. “We had a good mix of genres from rap to indie to classic rock.”

Williams also shared how Battle of the Bands was not only a competition but a showcase for bands of different experience levels and musical tastes.

“We had a good mix of genres from rap to indie to classic rock,” she said. “We also have some diversity in experience levels. Some of our bands perform frequent local gigs, while some have never played in front of an audience before. Giving these different bands the opportunity to perform alongside each other is what really makes the competition unique to any other event at UNCW.”

After two hours of musical comradery and entertainment, Feebs was voted by the panel of judges as the winning band. This rock-inspired group features all male instrumentation with a female lead singer. The band’s frontwoman, Hayley Norris, says their story wasn’t exactly common, but they found the sound that worked for them.

Four of us, Chandler, David, Tyler and myself, were in a band together for a few years before deciding to head a new direction,” Norris said. “We picked up Wyatt and Jeff a few months after that and have been playing altogether since August 2017.”

Norris says the opportunity Battle of the Bands is giving Feebs to play bigger venues means a lot to her and the band.

“We are so excited for the opportunity to play at the Azalea Festival,” she said. “We can’t wait and we really appreciate all the support from our fans and families. Without y’all, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

Williams knew that no matter the outcome of the night, the event would always hold a special place in her heart.

“Most of the concerts ACE put on just feature one artist,” she said. “Battle of the Bands is that, but times five. It’s so amazing to see the bands cheer each other on and support one another as artists.”