A staple of the Frostbite Music Festival will kick off this year’s event and showcase the multitude of young talent in the territory. The annual Battle of the Bands competition will take place Friday, February 15 in the Yukon College’s woodshed and will feature eight bands, six of whom will be competing for a coveted spot on the Frostbite MainStage on Saturday night.

“It’s super important and really nice to have an all ages show at such a large event like Frostbite,” explains Scott Carlson, the Whitehorse outreach coordinator for Bring Youth Towards Equality (BYTE), the organization heading up the Battle of the Bands competition. “The youth get pumped to play and they just get a huge amount of exposure.

“People in the music scene see them play and then get interested and invite them to play at other festivals.”

True to his word, two alumni of the competition, who now regularly perform in Whitehorse, will also be participating in the Friday night concert.

Last year’s winners Zipline will be opening the show with long-time favourites Death in Venice reuniting to close the concert.

The high-energy performances of those bands will be sandwiched with a mix of hip hop, electronic, brass boogie and rock and roll.

“Surprisingly there is no metal this year which is shocking because it usually makes up more than half the line-up,” said Carlson.

And like the festival’s entire line-up for 2013 the youth line-up offers an eclectic selection.

Arc is the loud and layered electronic solo project of Andrew G. Smith and combines rock and roll with electronic music — creating a sound described as bold and dynamic.

The Brass Knuckle Society (BKS), made up of trumpets, tubas, drums and sax aims to play music from around the world. The oldest participants in the competition, the BKS perform in suits and call their music the kind your grandparents used to dance to.

Dead Simple and Solid Fuel feature female vocalists in Madi Dixon and Selina Heyligers-Hare and despite their young age, the musicians are already veterans of the Whitehorse music scene. Both have performed at Arts in the Park. Dead Simple played last years Battle of the Bands while Solid Fuel was part of the Blue Feather Music Festival line-up.

Rounding out the six-band competition is the Pelly Road Street Band (PRSB) and Vision Quest, featuring Nick Johnson and Yudii Mercredi, two aspiring First Nation hip hop artists who were born and raised in Whitehorse. The duo is currently working on their first EP.

“Frostbite is such a unique and really cool creative outlet especially for kids who may not be interested in other activities be it sports or academics, says Carlson. “This gives them a really neat way to succeed and get involved.

“A lot of kids feel there’s not enough in town to do so this is really important for them.”

The Battle of the Bands competition is being held Feb. 15 in the Yukon College woodshed, with Zipline scheduled to hit the stage at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10.

For the first time there will also be a People’s Choice Award for the competition. Visit www.whatsupyukon.com/contest-view.cfm?ContestID=26, for more details.