FloydFest's On-the-Rise Competition Opens Saturday, April 2

Mix up some Swampcandy, Annabelle's Curse, Look Homeward and The Midatlantic in a bowl, and what you get are some of FloydFest fans' favorite flavors.

What do you call it? Who knows, but it sure sounds good.

All were chosen as winners and runners up in the festival's On-the-Rise (OTR) Competition in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

Now, FloydFest fans have a chance to choose who takes part in the festival's OTR 2016 competition during an eight-week roster of shows at The Phoenix, a little "cubby-of-cool" in Roanoke, Virginia's Old Southwest neighborhood. The competition starts April 2 and runs through the end of May, says Kris Hodges, co-founder of the festival set for July 27-31 off the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milemarker 170.5. Several of the bands are alumni of other area festivals, including Rooster Walk Arts and Music Festival and Front Porch Fest, among others.

Jason Andre of the Wilmington, North Carolina-based The Midatlantic says competing against so many other talented bands is no joke.

"The fact that a majority of people took the time to walk down to the ballot box, circle our name and vote for us was really humbling," he says. "FloydFest in general was the highlight of our year last year. Winning runner-up alongside our friends Look Homeward was icing on the cake. We are very honored that everyone enjoyed us enough to make the concerted effort to make sure we came back and sure enough we are coming back and we can't wait! Playing FloydFest has vastly expanded our fan base and has led to meeting several amazing people, bands and booking some amazing shows around the region. It's only going to get better this year!"

Hodges calls The Phoenix, "a little bit Austin, a little bit Roanoke, and a whole lotta' rock 'n roll." We had the pleasure of seeing The Will Overman Band and The Floorboards perform on Halloween at the 120-person capacity venue. It's very intimate and a fun place to catch a show. There's even room to dance if you're so moved. Hodges describes The Phoenix as a place "where live beer and fresh music are served with a sprinkle of mayhem."

The venue is open only on Saturday nights from April through the end of May. Hodges says The Phoenix serves as a unique proving ground for On-the-Rise bands.

"Hearkening back to the old-school, battle-of-the-bands format of the '80s and '90s, everyone in the door receives a token, votes for their favorite act and the winners -- who are announced at the end of the night -- go on to do battle at the next level, FloydFest's annual On-the-Rise Artist Competition."

2016 FloydFest On-the-Rise Competition Schedule at The Phoenix

April 2 -- Rebekah Todd & the Odyssey vs. C2 & the Brothers Reed

April 9 -- Forlorn Strangers vs. Riverbank Ramblers

April 16 -- Lord Nelson vs. The Hip Abduction

April 23 -- Skribe VS. Two Ton Twig

April 30 -- Ripejive VS. The Shack Band

May 7 -- Soundwave VS. Octopus

May 14 -- Doby VS. Dale & the ZDubs

May 21 -- Raising Caine VS. Urban Soil

May 28 -- Adwela & the Uprising VS. FeelFree Want to go?

Date: Every Saturday, April 2 to May 28, 2016

Time: Doors 8 p.m. to 12 a.m., music starts at 8:30 p.m. First set: 8:30 to 9:45 p.m. Second set: 10:15 to 11:30 p.m. Winner announced at 11:45 p.m.

Location: 813 5th St. SW, Roanoke, Virginia

Cost: $5 at the door

For more information, email info@atwproductions.com or call (888) VA-FESTS. Learn more about FloydFest here.