Longhorns battle it out for spot in Forty Acres Fest

Thomas Galindo

TC Superstar, The Irons, Midnight Archives and Paperback will perform with one goal in mind: the student’s vote.

These four bands with UT connections will compete in the Campus Events + Entertainment Headliners Battle of the Bands on Feb. 6 in the Student Activity Center Ballroom. The stakes are high for competing bands, each with a 15-minute set to vie for a spot as an opener at UT’s annual Forty Acres Fest. In prior years, the Forty Acres Fest has featured marquee artists such as Hunter Hayes and Marc E. Bassey. Battle of the Bands is completely student-run, with student and alumni bands as well as student judges. 

Madison Williams, advertising sophomore and event coordinator, said the competition is a great way for bands to gain exposure to a target demographic. 

“This is a great opportunity for (the winning band) to reach their target audience, college students,” Williams said. 

Student attendees will judge the event via an online poll following the performances.

The fan voting system will benefit bands with a previously established following, such as Midnight Archives. Guitarist and government junior Roger Flores said they are expecting a large turnout from their fans. 

“We’re gonna invite people a little bit more intensively because we’re actually trying to win,” Flores said.

Flores reached out to environmental engineering junior Alexi Hill after seeing her post on a UT Class of 2020 Facebook page seeking a partner to create music with. The self-described alternative rock group — whose music can be found on all streaming platforms — is excited to perform, and they’re expecting a big turnout.

One of the other finalists is band TC Superstar, made up of eight UT alumni who came together during their time here. Lead singer and band manager Connor McCampbell is a Plan II alumnus (‘17). 

Dancer and choreographer LB Flett (‘17) said TC Superstar is completely self-sufficient, handling all management and booking internally. 

“D-I-Y ‘til you D-I-E!” McCampbell said.

Hayden Havard, lead singer of The Irons, described his band’s style of music as a unique brand of pop with traditional song structure. Of six band members, only radio-television-film junior Joshua Winik is affiliated with the University.

Dylan Pacheco (‘16), lead singer, guitarist and songwriter for Paperback describes his group as a DIY punk/noise pop band. Pacheco said the band name intends to poke fun at his degree in English. Three of the four band members graduated from the University, with the odd man out having graduated from Texas A&M.

Each of the four finalists bring their own stories and unique experiences with music, but they can all be connected back to the University, which is ultimately this event’s purpose. 

“Potentially doing the Forty Acres (Fest) is important for us because we have come from a smaller scene in the city,” Pacheco said. “It’s important for me to play music that’s accessible to everybody, and this is a cool opportunity to play in front of people who typically wouldn’t come to our shows.”