VISALIA, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The Battle of the Bands is a rite of passage for any small-town bands who are trying to make a name for themselves. The competition between bands determines who is the better band and sometimes the best band can win a prize such as money or an opportunity to play at a prominent music festival.

‘Reminitions,’ a metal band from Visalia, won that title on July 9 in an online Twitch stream of the Battle of The Bands and a chance to play at the Kentucky Irate Fest 2022. The festival consisted of 83 bands and was set to happen on the Global Drive grounds in Louisville from August 26 to 28.

The four-piece band quickly booked their Airbnb and airplane tickets and made all the arrangements for their three-day event. All members were excited and some even invited family members to join them on their trip to Kentucky. 

Before winning the battle of the band, Reminitions had previously tried to get on the roster to play at Irate Fest, but spots were already filled.

“This was our second chance, we did everything we could do like get personal funding to go,” said vocalist Jay Muller.

The band did a merch drop beforehand to help support their trip as well as to sell at the festival and even planned to pack light and bring as much merch through their luggage to sell. The total cost of the trip cost them a little over $4000 including the flight tickets for some family members.

Those plans quickly crumbled after the organizers of the Kentucky Irate Festival posted to their Facebook page an unexpected update.

“Yesterday we had fully intended to keep this festival going, tickets are still selling quickly despite the circumstances, and we have many bands still ready and excited to play. As of this morning, Friday, August 19, 2022, Kentucky Irate Festival is officially canceled.“

Kentucky Irate Festival

Crushed, the band quickly canceled their Airbnb, but the plane tickets were non-refundable instead, flight credit was given back to them by the South West airline. 

“Music has given myself and the band some amazing opportunities. The Irate Fest was one of the biggest opportunities that we, unfortunately, did not get to experience and were forced out due to complications of the people in charge of it,” says Michael Villalta, the guitarist. 

This is not only an opportunity to play at a big music festival but to connect with family. 

“My sister from Virginia was going to come down to watch us play, but now I can’t see her. It’s hard to go all the way there to Virginia,” says Eric Elszy, the bassist. 

Catalino Alvarez Jr of Cat Eye View Photography

According to Reminitions, there was a lot of speculation that the organizers were not fully prepared for the magnitude of this event as bands slowly started to drop out and negativity started to surround the event. 

“I’m just disappointed on how quickly things took a turn. Hope people can learn to be more clear with each other in the future for the promoters, event organizers, and bands,” says the Drummer, Johnny Gonzalez 

Now the band members are trying to recover the cost of the trip expenses and pay back their family who intended to join them for the event as well. 

“It wasn’t about money or fame, to us the support we got for the battle of the Bands contest, I wanted to do it for them,” says Muller 

Luckily, people will still get the chance to see the band perform, but it will not be in Kentucky. 

With the help of a local promoter and other local bands, a benefit show will take place at the Full Circle Brewery in Downtown Fresno on October 30.

The band has also set a GoFundMe for anyone who would like to help out in the meantime.