photo: contributed

Kelowna’s metal bands to battle it out for coveted spot on line-up

The Wacken Metal Battle will come to Kelowna for the first time

Kelowna metal bands are about to have the chance of a life time.

They will have a chance to face off against each other in front of a crowd of roaring metal-heads for a spot on the Wacken Open Air festival line-up in Wacken, Germany that is attended by an estimated 100,000 people.

Armstrong MetalFest organizer, Jesse Valstar knew he wanted to get involved and bring Wacken Metal Battle to Kelowna from the first time he attended Wacken Open Air years ago. Now he says he feels Kelowna is ready to host the third round of the preliminary rounds of the battle.

“It (attending Wacken Open Air) was a life changing moment and its circled back to where I am now a judge,” said Valstar who will be judging the Kelowna event, B.C. final and national final.

“Canada is not an easy place to be a band if you want to tour and play a show it can be five hours away, in Germany you play a show and it’s only half an hour away and you are playing to a whole new audience.”

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The Wacken Metal Battle has been taking place around the world since 2003 and has given bands such as Drone, Torture Squad, Battle Beast and Hammercult their big break. The battle supports young, unsigned bands from more than 40 countries. Canada has won the coveted first place twice in 2013 and 2015 and has come in second once in 2016.

Valstar says that there has never been a better time to bring the battle to Kelowna.

“When I was a younger guy in the heavy metal scene in the Okanagan there were not a whole lot of venues, there wasn’t a scene. It’s thriving now… we are now being recognized as a scene that is strong enough to support something like this,” he said.

This year the national final will be held in Calgary, Alta. after being held in Toronto, Ont. for the last five years. The Wacken Metal Battle Round One will be held March 9 in Victoria, round two will be held March 10 in Vancouver, round four March 24 in Vancouver and the B.C. Final will be held April 28 in Vancouver. The winner of the national final will be awarded $2,000 for airfare to travel to perform in the 30th edition of Wacken Open Air Aug. 1 to 3 in Wacken, Germany and the opportunity to win monetary prizes and gear.

The Wacken Metal Battle will be in Kelowna Saturday, March 23 at 7 p.m. at Munnin’s Post as Northern Steel, EdenEcho ArkenFire, Apollyon and Death Machine battle it out on the stage.

Tickets are available at theinvisibleorange.tunestub.com

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