Hodag Battle of the Bands

The Hodag Country Festival

Regional Pick-Off Contest


On Sunday, February 26th, local and regional country bands will compete for $1,500 at Anchor in Newville (1st place $1000, 2nd and 3rd $250)!  Plus, the winner will advance to the Hodag Country Music Festival for a shot at the state title!  At the state competition, top bands win cash prizes and the winner will kick-off the Hodag Country Music Festival!

Join us for an afternoon of FREE live local country music, Sunday, February 26th starting at 11am!


The Voice Season 15 runner-up and Wisconsin’s own

Chris Kroeze

Chris will perform a few tunes and will help judge the bands
at the Big Radio Battle of the Bands on February 26th!

BAND LINEUP (in performance order)

The Dawg Bones

Dirt Road Rebelz

Scotty Tyce & Power Take Off

Diamonds & Lead

South of Stonebridge

Dan Lepien

Mathew James & The Ramble



These are the rules governing the Battle of the Bands promotion on the Big Radio stations of 99.9FM WJVL and 101.9FM/1490AM Iron Country. This contest runs from December 7, 2022 through July 7, 2023.

  1. All rules governing the Hodag Country Festival Country Band Contest apply to the local competition in addition to the rules outlined herein. Should there be a conflict in the rules, the local rules shall apply in the local competition and the State Hodag Championship Rules will apply for the State Competition.
  2. The WJVL/Iron Country “Battle of the Bands” event is a regional qualifying event for the Hodag Country Festival Country Band Contest held on Friday, July 7, 2023, in Rhinelander, WI. The WJVL/Iron Country event will take place beginning at 11 am on Sunday, February 26, 2023 at The Anchor, 718 WI-59, Edgerton, WI 53534.
  3. The WJVL/Iron Country “Battle of the Bands” competition is open to non-professional solo, duet, and group country music performers. This is not a karaoke contest and no recorded accompaniment or backup tracks are permitted.  Professional performers for the purposes of this contest will be considered any act to have had a record on the charts in Billboard magazine.
  4. Auditions for the WJVL/Iron Country “Battle of the Bands” contest will be accepted starting December 7, 2023, and continuing until 5 PM on Monday, January 30, 2023. Auditions must be submitted through the station website at wjvl.com/battle .
  5. All audition applications are subject to a $50 entry fee if the applicant is accepted into the performance line-up.
  6. A maximum of eight auditions will be selected for performance in the final show. Should more than eight auditions be received, radio station personnel shall serve as judges to determine the eight performers who will compete based on the criteria set forth in the state rules.
  7. A WJVL/Iron Country representative will notify all selected performers no later than 5 pm on Wednesday, February 1, 2023. Once notified of their acceptance into the contest, selected performers will have to submit the following items to WJVL:  a) Signed and dated entry form(2/26); b) $50 entry fee (2/26 check payable to Big Radio); c) stage layout(2/13); d) setlist(2/13).
  8. In the event a selected performer fails to submit the required materials by the deadline, WJVL/Iron Country reserves the right to select an alternate performer.
  9. There will be no refunds of the $50 entry fee once received.
  10. During the “Battle of the Bands” competition, the following will apply to the selected performers for the contest:
    1. Bands must arrive on-site no later than 30 minutes prior to their assigned “load in” time. Bands arriving late may be rescheduled at the complete discretion of the contest officials on-site, and will be subject to a judging point reduction of 10 percent of their total score.
    2. Bands will have a total of 20 minutes for load-in, setup and sound check. Bands should plan to bring all necessary instruments, keyboard, etc., for their performance minus drum kit.
    3. A backline will be provided on stage including a drum kit, monitors, and PA.
    4. Bands may not use their individual drum kits and must use the kit provided.
    5. Bands will have a 20-minute performance maximum. Bands going over the maximum allotted time will be subject to a judging penalty reduction of 10 percent of the total points awarded.
    6. Bands will only perform the music agreed to be in the Country music genre’ (to be determined by radio station officials based on setlist submitted).
    7. Bands will have a five-minute time limit to exit the stage after performing.
  11. Judging of the contest will follow the State Contest Rules.
  12. The winner of the WJVL/Iron Country “Battle of the Bands” contest will receive a $1000 prize and will compete as the WJVL/Iron Country representative in the finals at the Hodag Country Festival on Friday, July 7, 2023. The second and third-place finishers in will each receive a $250 prize.
  13. WJVL/Iron Country, as it pertains to the “Battle of the Bands” rules and The Hodag Country Festival as it pertains to the state contest, reserve the right to modify and/or change the rules and shall enforce any such changes after notification to the affected contestants.
  14. Employees of Big Radio, contest sponsors and their immediate family members are not eligible to enter to win. Immediate family includes the spouse, grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters, children, and grandchildren of the employee and his/her spouse. This also includes individuals for whom the employee is a current legal guardian.
  15. All winners of a prize valued at $600 or more are responsible for all taxes on prize awarded. Winner must complete the appropriate tax forms at the Big Radio studios, and provide a valid photo ID before receiving the prize.
  16. Big Radio reserves the right to use the voice and/or picture of any and all winners for promotional and broadcast purposes.



  1. Contestants must be of legal age in the state in which they enter the contest. If the contestant is a minor child, they must provide a legally signed waiver by a parent or guardian.
  2. Contestants must be of good moral character.
  3. Contestants will be responsible for their own expense to and from the local and state contest.
  4. Contestants must perform Country Music in the local and state competition.
  5. All local contest winners agree to appear at the State Finals. If for some reason a local winner should be unable to appear, the Radio Station or the Hodag Country Festival has the right but not the obligation to replace the local winner not appearing with the 1st runner-up from the local area which would not otherwise be represented. The winner on the State level is expected to attend the opening ceremonies for the Country Band Contest and the Hodag Country Festival the following year.
  6. Contestants will be judged by 5 qualified judges on appearance, professionalism, preparedness, material, audience interaction, stage ability and vocal ability.
  7. All regional winners will receive at least $250.00 cash prize money upon competing at the finals July 7, 2023 at the Hodag Country Festival.
  8. The Hodag Country Festival and Miller Beer of the Northwoods will provide cash prizes at the State Championship contest held in Rhinelander, Wisconsin: 1st Place – $2,500.00, 2nd Place – $1,250.00, 3rd Place – $750.00, 4th through last place – $250.00
  9. The winner will be titled “Wisconsin State Champion Performer(s)” for 1 year from the date of winning.
  10. 1st, 2nd, 3rd place winners of Regionals will receive free weekend passes to the Hodag Country Festival – July 6, 7, 8, 9, 2023 (Band Members Only – Performers).
  11. Any regional winner of the Wisconsin State Championship Contest 2023 may not compete in another region for prizes or awards. Contestants who do not win in a region may compete in any of the other regional events with the permission of the radio station sponsor.
  12. All regional winner band members must be the same members that compete at the State contest. Any changes must be approved by the Hodag Country Festival Committee.
  13. Solo contestants must provide own back-up band if needed.
  14. State winner at Hodag Country Festival cannot enter contests for 2 years after reign. (example: 2020 winner cannot compete until Spring of 2022)