Some 28 groups have signed up for this year’s first-ever Independence Day Battle of the Bands, with organizers imposing restrictions to make the event a wholesome family entertainment gig, and as well announcing that winners will perform for President Duterte should his planned UAE visit pushes through in May.

The restrictions include the use of vulgar or cuss words in the songs; excessive shouting and roaring; jumping and diving off stage; very loud distorted music and excessive drum beating.

“We need it to be wholesome,” said Rudy Parilla, vice president of Session Dxb, the group assigned by facilitator for the competition, at a press conference announcing the competition. “This is a family event. Bawal ang magmura. You can’t just do whatever you want on stage,” he added.

FilClub, an aggregation of several Filipino organizations, is spearheading Independence Day celebrations. Its chair, Engr. Maria Fe “Tata” Dayot said the cash prizes are not huge, prompting some band members to propose that the event be turned into a day-long performances by all the bands instead, and turn over the money to distressed Overseas Filipinos under the care of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office – Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (POLO-OWWA) .

“I think it’s better if all of us will just do a benefit concert and not battle of the bands if not we should not expect huge cash prizes. Why not present it as Showdown na lang and let all 24 bands play for the entertainment of the audience. The prize could be given as donations to distressed OFWs,” said Francis del Mundo, Rubbersoul Band’s band leader.

Elimination rounds will be held on April 21 and 22 at the Warwick Hotel, wherein 12 bands will be selected to move up to the semi-final round which will be held on April 28. The best four bands will then battle it out in the final rounds on May 12.

Winners will also be given the chance to play for President Rodrigo Duterte, on his upcoming visit to the UAE. (Henri Abenis-Macahilo)