Dublin, Ohio (February 28, 2018) — Over 250 attendees gathered at a sold out King Avenue 5 last Friday to hear Ohio’s top 10 high school bands compete for the 2018 Instaband grand championship. Each year students enrolled at GROOVE U Music Career Program host Instaband, a central Ohio high school battle of the bands which doubles as a hands-on, portfolio-building class project. The winner of the 6th annual Instaband competition is Max Beal, a fierce pop pianist and singer-songwriter with influences from classics like Billy Joel and Elton John. Beal will receive a recording contract on GROOVE U’s student run record label, Elementary Records complete with a studio EP, music video, and will headline a spot on GROOVE U’s stage at the Columbus Arts Festival later this June. Beal will be presented with a the Instaband guitar trophy at Dover High School later next month.

Second place at the Instaband finals went to alternative rock group The District Lighbulbs, hailing from Bexley High School. Third place was awarded to the indie trio Dandelion Eyes from Hilliard and Northridge High Schools. 

“GROOVE U seeks to support local teens as they create original music, and Instaband provides a platform for them to perform on a much larger scale,” said Dwight Heckelman, Director of GROOVE U’s revolutionary music industry career program. “Our students produce Instaband from start to finish, providing real-world, hands-on experiences.”

The 2018 Instaband competition marks the first year with the semifinal rounds taking place at GROOVE U’s new Dublin campus. This made for a very unique experience: instead of a live show as in past semifinals, bands performed live in a world-class studio.  Audio and video were recorded and judged remotely by local industry pros. The sold out finals at King Avenue 5 were judged by Ailsa Prohn of Class Acts Entertainment, Maggie Brennan of WCBE, singer-songwriter, Lydia Brownfield and Timothy Eddings of Celebrity Etc. Presents. 

Proceeds from the event benefit Columbus’ local NPR station, WCBE 90.5 FM and GROOVE U scholarships. Any junior or senior who placed as a finalist, received a $1,000 Emerging Talent Grant towards tuition at GROOVE U. 

Over the past 6 years, GROOVE U has raised over $10,000 for local non-profits through the Instaband competition.