PORTLAND – The talent search is on once again for the best high-school rock band in Maine. But the 25th annual Reindeer Rock-Off, put on by Portland-based independent label Reindeer Records, is being presented for its final year.

The competition is open to original high-school bands from across the state that would like their moment of fame in the Rock-Off spotlight. Besides the title of Best Young Band in Maine, the winning band will win $1,000.

Deadline to register is Feb. 1, after which bands will be slotted for a live showcase performance on March 15 or 22 at McAuley Performing Arts Center. Five bands will then be selected to play in the finals, slated for Sunday, April 19.

In the past 25 years, the Rock-Off has become a household name among high-school musicians of all levels and contemporary genres. Many local artists have taken advantage of their Rock-Off experience and exposure to garner regional and national success – Howie Day, Jeremiah Freed and Rustic Overtones, to name a few.

Having reached its silver anniversary status, Reindeer decided to move away from live event production and focus more on artist and product development.

“The Rock-Off is designed to provide lots of benefits to every band whether they win or not,” said Executive Producer Louis Philippe, who created the event when he was president of the local music union. “It’s a great platform for learning and growing as individual musicians, with plenty of industry exposure and networking opportunities, and it’s just plain tons of fun.”

“But,” he stressed, “the Rock-Off is a very structured, intense, no-nonsense competition that is unlike any typical battle-of-the-bands. A band will face several panels of judges who evaluate pretty much everything about their act – their presentation, their live show, their original material and numerous other record industry criteria.”

“It’s not just about a band’s music, it’s about their aptitude, acumen, image and ability to be stars,” Philippe said.

Musicians interested in obtaining a registration packet or more information should contact Reindeer at 857-9002 or e-mail [email protected]

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