Food Bank organizes Battle of the Bands at Cain’s Ballroom

The night of April 5 was a year in the making for many, including Tulsa Community College student Cobey Brown.

Brown is a part of The Odyssey, a local alternative/blues rock band who competed at the Battle of the Bands at the legendary Cain’s Ballroom, located in the Tulsa Arts District.

The Battle of the Bands is an annual event organized by the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma’s Junior Ambassadors, a high school age advocacy group that along with the hosting responsibilities, advocate and volunteer to alleviate hunger in the local community throughout the year. According to the Food Bank, last year’s support raised enough funds to provide 42,552 meals for the community.

Food Bank of Easter Oklahoma’s Junior Ambassadors program organized the event.

Battle of the Bands’ lineup includes five bands and five singer-songwriters who compete for various prizes ranging from studio time and music video shoots to other valuable opportunities. The winners are then chosen by a panel of expert judges, one band and one singer-songwriter. There are also the audience’s choice winners, determined by the funds each band raised through contributions made to the Food Bank. For every dollar donated in a band’s name, a vote would be counted in the act’s favor.

Quinton Hoagland of Hoarseman and the Heard accepts one of the awards on behalf of the band.

As an all ages event, a very diverse and youthful crowd could be seen surrounding the stage at Cain’s. Friends and classmates showed up to cheer on their favorite acts, as well as family to support their loved ones.

Although most everyone attended with a certain act in mind, there was a sense of camaraderie and kinship that extended beyond individual performances and to the entire night, a feeling that was shared with the musicians themselves.

Brown described the crowd as “really supportive”. He went on to add that “usually the people who go to the local shows only know one band, and then they’re gone… but the fact that they were getting down to everybody’s music was good… that’s really important to artists.”

The event also provided opportunities in addition to the prizes just by taking place at the legendary ballroom.

Originally built in 1924, Cain’s Ballroom is located in the Tulsa Arts District.

Many of the acts grew up in the Tulsa area going to shows at Cain’s. Performing on the stage they looked up to for years was like a dream come true to many. Brown could not help but rave about the venue, from hanging in the Green Room filled with the names of the various acts who have graced the historical stage to the minute details of the space only to be found when empty with the closest attention. Brown described the experience as “pretty surreal” – a description that can surely be applied to the entire night.

For more information on the Food Bank, as well as the Junior Ambassadors, you can visit their website at

Listen to our interviews with Cobey on our podcast, Connection Conversations.

Photos courtesy of Sam Levrault