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Bands battle to beat diabetes in Shirley showdown

The Battle of the Bands for Diabetes takes place Saturday, June 29 at 2 p.m. at Pioneer Park

Local bands with an axe to grind will put their best licks on the line in the Battle of the Bands for Diabetes.

The event will feature about 10 mostly rock-flavoured bands, including several from Sooke and Greater Victoria. The performers will be judged by a panel of three judges, and compete for votes from the audience.

“The judges are extremely talented and have broad experience in performance and teaching,” said event organizer Leslie Ann Blunt. “We’re delighted and fortunate to have them. The bands will be judged on musicality, technical proficiency, overall performance and creativity, and the audience will vote to score the audience appeal category.”

Judge Maria Mannas, a former Juno Awards judge, has more than 40 years experience in the entertainment business as a performer of jazz, blues gospel.

Sooke resident Allie Picketts, a performance and teaching piano specialist, has some experience with folk music as well.

The third judge, Julia Hensley, is a Sooke-based performer and songwriter who teaches singing, in addition to four instruments.

Bands confirmed so far include Doz Cabezas, EnChanted, and Shallow Water from the Sooke and Shirley areas, while Baba Chaka, Low Winter Sun, Contravention, and Kala Moteey hail from Victoria.

“I’ve done a couple of jazz-oriented fundraisers in the past, but nothing like a battle of the bands,” Blunt said. “It should be a lot of fun and a great way to check out some up and coming and seasoned local talent.”

All proceeds from the event go to Diabetes Canada to support research, advocacy and diabetes-related programs.

Blunt has been volunteering with Diabetes Canada in a number of ways since she was first diagnosed in 1975.

“Helping fundraise for the cause is important and impactful for people living with diabetes,” she said. “I’m extremely grateful for all of the medical advancements that have resulted in significant improvements to diabetes care and reducing the risk of complications.

“I’m also thankful because I may not still be here without them,” she added.

About one in three Canadians have diabetes or pre-diabetes, so it impacts everyone in some way, Blunt noted.

One in 10 adults over 20 have been diagnosed with diabetes, which is the leading cause of blindness in Canada.

Diabetes contributes to 30 per cent of strokes, 40 per cent of heart attacks, 50 per cent of kidney failure requiring dialysis, and 70 per cent of all non-traumatic foot and leg amputations.

The Battle of the Bands for Diabetes takes place Saturday, June 29 at 2 p.m. at Pioneer Park in Shirley, across from Shirley Delicious.

This is a cash only event. Tickets are $10, which includes admission and one vote. Additional votes can be purchased for $2 each, and refreshments will be available for purchase.

“Long & McQuade and Tom Lee Music have very generously donated prizes for the top three bands,” Blunt said.

Organizers suggest bringing lawn chairs or blankets and to consider carpooling, as parking is limited. The gates open at 1:30 p.m.

If you are interested in helping out as a volunteer, email

ALSO READ: In Shirley, all that jazz to support a good cause

About the Author: Rick Stiebel

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