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The City Journals

South Jordan promotes local musicians through annual Battle of the Bands competition

Jun 18, 2019 03:30PM ● By Jordan Hafford

Psychedelic Purple performs for a South Jordan crowd at the Battle of the Bands competition (South Jordan City)

By Jordan Hafford | [email protected]

Cotton candy, endless rounds on the carousel and a colorful array of local music artists welcomed the much-anticipated summer season for South Jordan residents at SoJo Summerfest 2019 for the third consecutive year. 

“South Jordan is committed to the arts, including music,” said Rachael Van Cleave, South Jordan communications manager. “Not only do we want to promote musicians, we want to be known for and have the best Battle of the Bands competition in the state. We have a South Jordan Arts Council that is also putting on its first musical this summer, ‘The Sound of Music.’”

South Jordan City used to host artists such as country singers Wynonna Judd and LeAnn Rimes at their Summerfest but decided a few years back to invest that money instead to encouraging local musicians through the Battle of the Bands competition right in the heart of the summer festivities. 

The Battle of the Bands takes place throughout the SoJo Summerfest, which is a local, carnival-themed celebration of the beginning of summer. Popular food trucks, activities for adults and children alike, as well as artistic activities and inspiration are all key elements to the well-attended celebration. 

10 bands total competed, six of which were in the professional category and four in the student category. Acacia Ridge, Michael Barrow and the Tourists, Moodlite, Behind the Wheat Grinder, Jacob T. Skeen, and Sarah DeGraw and the Band were the finalists for professionals. The Sandfish, Psychedelic Purple, The McSwizzles and Last Minute Takeout were the finalists for students. 

All participating bands performed with intense, high-energy, competing for a cash reward, a studio recording session and the highly coveted opportunity of opening for musician Alex Boye’s concert held the closing evening of the weekend long festival. 

A member of the band Moodlite plays on the SoJo Summerfest stage. (Justin Adams/City Journals)


The fans cheered and swayed to the music of their friends, peers and family. The fresh vitality that comes with the awakening of a new season rang through the warm summer air through the art of these local talents. 

All in all, there were four judges for the battle, which included Boye himself. Boye is a British-American musician, recognized for his popular and diverse blend of African-infused pop music. Boye even expressed interest in attending the battle next year, so inspired by the event he was. 

Other judges included Mike Paine, Boye’s former guitarist, Rowan Stinger (recording technician at Audio Inn Recording in Salt Lake City) and David Limutau. 

“Alex insisted on being a judge,” Van Cleave said of the competition. “He is very passionate about supporting and promoting young artists. When he arrived, he was impressed by the scope of the event and said it was so much more than he expected.” 

The band Moodlite was crowned the winner of the professional category, and Psychedelic Purple won the student category. Both were openers at Alex Boyes concert the last evening of the festival, and it went out with a bang. 

Moodlite describes their unique sound as “a refined blend of evocative melodies, silky grooves, and a deep electric pulse.” Check out their work at