Bands compete in 31st annual OPUS event

Max Byram, Box Turtles, preforms at Opus Battle of the Bands in Manhattan, Kan. on Sept. 22, 2017. (Photo by Alex Shaw | Collegian Media Group)

As the sun set over the Bosco Student Plaza, concertgoers filled the area to hear bands contend for prizes at the Union Program Council’s 31st annual OPUS Band Competition on Friday night.

Five bands were part of the event: Walking in Traffic, Box Turtles, Pool Culture, Side Attraction and Joy Camp.

Swap Gupta, co-chairman of the event and undergraduate in computer engineering, said the competition is hosted by UPC in collaboration with other organizations to provide a platform for Kansas State students interested in music performance.

“I think it is a great spot for local bands to put their music out, and it definitely gets their name out,” Gupta said.

In addition to the performance exposure, the top three bands received cash prizes of $500, $200 and $100, as determined by the votes of concert-goers and a panel of three judges.

The judges critiqued the bands on their originality, sound, crowd interaction and stage presence. The judges panel consisted of the student director of KSDB 91.9, a previous OPUS competition band member and a K-State graduate student.

Bands were encouraged to show off their musical skill and creativity by playing original songs.

Five bands, ranging in size from one to five people, were selected to compete. In order to qualify for the competition, at least one member of the band had to be a current K-State student or alumn.

Camila Rivera, graduate student in architecture, performed for the first time with her band, Walking in Traffic.

“For our first gig, it could not have gone any better,” Rivera said. “It was awesome and really nice. They had all the equipment for us.”

The top three winners were Joy Camp in first, Box Turtles in second and Side Attraction in third. Box Turtles were also picked as the crowd favorite and they will receive the opportunity to perform in the UPC Lunchtime Lounge.

Julia Wilson, freshman in environmental design, enjoyed the music and the free food.

“The concert is a nice casual setting, which I liked,” Wilson said.

The competition was free to all attendees and UPC provided free drinks and popcorn. Wildcat Watch live streamed the event on its YouTube channel.

“The competition has been going on for a long time and making things like this available to K-State students to follow what they want to do is a great opportunity,” Gupta said.