Band Requirements & Eligibility

The Cincinnati’s Next Big Band contest is open to anyone who is in a band, owns their own equipment, and has the desire to make it. There are no music genre restrictions, no age restrictions, and no geographical restrictions. If you play polka in a kazoo & triangle band in Tempe, Arizona and are only 14 years old, you are welcome to travel to Rick’s Tavern in Cincinnati to compete!

  • Each band is required to fill out our online application to request and entry into the contest. You can find the online form here.
  • Each band member is required to download and fill out a release form to allow Rick’s Tavern to use their sound and likeness for future promotions and marketing. You can bring it in – completed – when you show up.
  • Each band is required to bring their own instruments.
  • The band applying cannot already have a signed management contract

Equipment & Instruments

Rick’s Tavern will supply the sound equipment, but band members are required to bring their own instruments to the contest. Bands are allowed to bring their own props or banners to promote themselves, influence the judges, and pump up the crowd.

Number of Bands Allowed

The competition is initially limited to 30 bands and the bands chosen to participate will be determined by Rick’s Tavern, so get your applications in as early as possible.

Contest Structure

  • The contest will consist of 30 eligible bands
  • The contest will be MCed by a local elite band member.
  • The regular contest will be held every Thursday (for 10 weeks) beginning June 6th 2019
  • 3 bands will play a set of 5 songs each Thursday nights starting at 7pm.
  • 3 judges will observe each bands performance and crowd reaction, critique the bands at the end of their set, and determine who the best band is at the end of each night.
  • Each Thursday at the end of the contest, 1 of the bands playing that night will be chosen as a winner and an entry into the semi-finals.
  • At the end of the regular 10-week competition, the 10 winning bands will be required to show up for the semi-finals dates TBD
  • At the end of the semi-finals, 3 bands will be chosen to move to the finals on [TBD].

The Prizes

There will be 3 judges who will critique and judge each band. Those judges will comprise of local band members in the greater Cincinnati area.

  • Each band will be judged in the following 4 categories
  • Overall Musical ability
  • Stage Presence & Look
  • Composition/Interpretation*
  • Audience Response

* Composition/Interpretation: For original music – compositional elements such as song structure, chord structure, syntax in lyrics, imagery in words, etc. For cover songs – played similar to original band or intentionally different.