WINSLOW — The Battle of the Bands at Fort Halifax Park endured showers, thunderstorm warnings and a low turnout on Sunday afternoon, but band members didn’t seem to mind.

“It went great,” said drummer John Gladu, minutes after completing an hour-long set with Bangor-based Sound and Vice. “We kept everybody going and did what we could to keep the crowd pumped up.”

Dozens of spectators formed clumps under tents, gazebos and trees when it rained and took drier moments as an opportunity to buy a hot dog or a cold drink from a handful of booths.

Gladu said that small events like Winslow’s Fourth of July celebration are a way for the bands at the heart of Maine’s rock scene to maintain friendships and keep the music alive.

The competition was definitely friendly.

A veteran of the scene, Gladu said that he has played events with some of the other bands as many as 25 times over the course of the last several years. It was the first public appearance by Sound and Vice, his latest group.

Rural Maine’s sparse population helps to draw the state’s rock bands together, he said.

“It leads to friendship and amicability because we know that’s needed to make the scene gel.”

Winslow resident Katrina Demrak said that she and her boyfriend, Steve Keider, were impressed by the debut.

“Sound and Vice were awesome,” Demrak said. “They could really connect with people.”

Demrak said that she first heard about the event the night before and was looking forward to Maine-based Loki, one of the more established bands in attendance.

The Veayo Twins, 16-year-old sisters from Hallowell who are managed by their father, agreed that sometimes a music event is as social for the bands as it is for the audience.

“It’s more like a get-together,” said Katherine Veayo, just before they took the stage.

Win or lose, said her identical twin, Kristen, “we’re still doing what we love.”

Still, they said, they hoped that it stopped raining before they had to go out on stage with their well-coiffed hair.

“It’s a girl thing,” Katherine said with a laugh.

Winslow residents Toby Cress and Nikki Taylor said that they come to the celebration every year. They particularly enjoy the Veayo Twins, said Taylor, and were looking forward to seeing them perform.

The Jessica Prouty Band, based in the Boston area, is coming off of some acclaim — Prouty and drummer Cam Pelkey each earned top honors at a national industry competition.

Prouty said Maine’s music scene is as vibrant as in more urban areas.

“The rock scene is really alive up here, even compared to Boston,” Prouty said. “There, it’s more alternative music, but here, it’s more rock.”

Gladu agreed.

“The only difference between here and a more urban scene is the distance,” he said. “You have to be ready to travel. There’s just as much quality here.”

Other bands in attendance were The Hollow Glow of Portland, Fifth Freedom of Portland, Better Than of Gray and The Resistance of Burnham, Augusta and South China.

Two bands — the winner and the runner-up — will headline the street dance Tuesday night in the St. John’s parking lot. The winner was scheduled to be announced late Sunday night.

Matt Hongoltz-Hetling — 861-9287
[email protected]

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