bring your axe into battle

Attention all young, local* musicians playing original music. How'd you like to open the Pleasantville Music Festival this year?

You can, if you win our Lagond Music School Battle of the Bands, just like our 2018 winners, The Bluechips, pictured above. We're offering at least two winners 20-minutes each at 12 noon — one to open the Party Stage and one to open the Chill Tent Stage.


Scroll down for full details, including eligibility requirements and answers to frequently asked questions.

What is the Battle of the Bands?

The Battle of the Bands is a way for residents of Westchester and surrounding counties, 26 and younger*, to earn their way onto a stage to open the Pleasantville Music Festival.

How does it work? What are the phases, places, and dates?

It's a multi-step process, depending on how far you get. You need to be available and on time for every phase in order to be considered. Here's the list of what you need to do and all the important dates:

  1. Download the complete Rules and Regulations and read them carefully!
  2. Submit 2 original songs (mp3 or web link) by 11:59 pm on Sunday, April 21, 2019. Send all submissions to
  3. We will let you know on or before April 28th whether you've been selected to participate in one of 2 live finals.
  4. If you are selected for the live finals, you must download this Registration Form, fill it in and and keep it with you.
  5. If chosen for the Chill Tent Stage finals, you will perform those 2 songs on Saturday afternoon, May 4th. If chosen for the Party Stage finals, you will perform those 2 songs on Saturday afternoon, May 11th. Both live finals will take place at Lagond Music School in Elmsford, NY before a fresh panel of judges.
  6. If you are one of our two winners, you will get to perform 20 minutes of your original music at the Pleasantville Music Festival at noon on Saturday, July 13th, 2019.

Did you say something about age and geography limits?

Yes we did. Here they are:

  1. All solo and duo performers must be under 27 years old as of April 30, 2019. Bands of 3 members or more may have no more than 1 member who is 27 or older. The rest must be under 27. We will check IDs.
  2. More than half of all band members must reside within the following counties: Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Fairfield, Bergen or the Bronx. For solos and duos, that means that all performers must live within these counties.

We do check IDs. Please make sure you adhere to the eligibility rules. We don't want to have to turn you away, but we will.

Are you serious?


How much does it cost to enter?

Nothing. It's free to enter. But if you get chosen to play the Festival, we'll pay you. See the Rules and Regulations for details.

What are you looking for?

We're looking for talent that's good enough to open a day-long Music Festival. Our internationally-known headliners don't take the stage until later in the day. So we want musicians who are so good that ticketholders want to arrive early. No pressure.

Any particular kind of music?

No, not really. The Party Stage winners are more raucous. The Chill Tent Stage winners are more chill. But that's about it. There's no secret sauce. Whatever the judges decide.

Do we have to tell you which stage we want?

Nope. That'll be apparent. The judges will make the call.

Okay, so any advice?

Good question. While we're not the judges, we have observed a few things about what works, what doesn't, and what can trip you up. The judges will evaluate you in 3 categories:

  1. Your songs. Are they well-crafted and shaped? Are the lyrics (if there are lyrics) fresh and original? Do you have great musical ideas or a unique musical approach or point of view? Pro-tip: Take a good look at your songs and be your own judge: Do they say what every other song says, or do they stand out?
  2. Your performance. Are your musicianship and vocals as good as your songs? Do you have the chops to bring your musical ideas to life? Pro-tip: If you have equipment that makes your performance special, be sure that you've mastered it as well as your instrument and that your gimmick doesn't trip you up. We've seen it a few times, and it's not fun.
  3. Your stage presence. Whether you're a full band playing the Party Stage or a soloist on the Chill Tent Stage, how well can you captivate a crowd? Pro-tip: The Festival is outdoors, either in the open air or underneath a huge tent. There's a lot to be said for eye contact, standing instead of sitting, and moving to your own music.

What happens if I don't win?

Let's face it: There's only one winner per stage. Sometimes you do your best and still come up short. If you don't win, there's always next year, provided you'll still be 26 or younger. So try, try again.

Really? That's all you've got?

Okay, here's a longer answer. We love music, and we love musicians. Telling people that they didn't win is the hardest part of the job. If you didn't win and you can't understand why, talk to us. Pick our brains. Ask us what the judges thought or what we might have observed that could help you. We'll be those friends with the honest feedback.

Short, true story: At our Battle 3 years ago, there were a number of great bands. One really good band that we liked a lot did great but didn't make the cut. They wrote to us and asked where they fell short, and we gave honest, constructive, objective feedback about something they couldn't have seen themselves.

The next year, that band won the entire competition.

Any final words?

Now that you mention it, yes: It's great to be enthusiastic about your own performance. But please respect the judges' objective, professional opinions. Their decision is final.