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Chicago Video Production, Editing, Photography, Live Performance: Bitter Jester Creative
Bitter Jester Creative
838 Central Ave, Highland Park, IL 60035     847.433.8660

Chicago Video Production
since 2001


Our new website is currently under construction. For information on the 12th Annual Bitter Jester Battle of the Bands in 2017, please visit us on facebook. We will be giving away over $20,000 in cash and prizes and offering a chance to play live at Navy Pier in the fall!

Welcome to the 9th Annual Bitter Jester® Battle of the Bands!

Please "like" us on Facebook!

Email us at BattleOfTheBands [at] BitterJester [dotcom], or call 847.433.8660

Friday Night Battle Winners: $50.00 each (four winners total)
Honorable Mention: $100 prize rack of accessories from Guitar Center Runner Up: $200 from the City of Highland Park
Grand Champion: $400 from the City of Highland Park

Additionally, we have over a dozen sponsoring stores and organizations that donate a wide variety of other prizes. None of the bands go home empty-handed from the 4th July Grand Finale Concert! Prizes include pavilion seats for various performances at Ravinia Festival, live theatre tickets, and various restaurant gift certificates.


  • Up to six (6) bands battle it out on the last four (4) Friday nights in June at Port Clinton Square in downtown Highland Park — bands pick a single Friday on which to battle, and we do our best to meet their requests. Battles begin at 8:30 pm.
  • Bands play a 20-25 minute set for their Friday Night Battle. A professional sound crew, lights, and audio equipment will be provided for each Friday Night Battle — bands must provide their own backline.
  • Judges pick one winning band each Friday night. The winning bands each claim a $50 price and advance to the Semi-Finals, held at Wolters Field in Highland Park on the 4th of July.
  • An additional "Wild Card Band" is then selected by Bitter Jester to compete against the Friday Night Battle winners.
  • On the 4th of July, Bands each play a 20-minute set in front of all-new judges. A professional stage, lights, crew, and audio equipment will be provided — bands must provide their own backline and one drum kit will be shared by all bands.
  • Judges on the 4th narrow the five (5) Semi-Finalist Bands down to two (2) Finalist Bands. An Honorable Mention Band is named by the judges and receives a $100 Prize Rack of accessories from Guitar Center.
  • The Finalist Bands then each play a single song in the final round (also held on the 4th of July), and the Grand Champion is chosen by the audience via applause and cheers using the Official Bluegrass Restaurant Decibel Meter!
  • The Runner-Up band is awarded a $200 prize from the City of Highland Park, and the Grand Champion Band is awarded a $400 prize from the City and the title of Grand Champion!

While our battle is primarily focused on High School bands, all Jr. High, High School, and College bands are eligible to apply. The only requirement is that at least one band member must be either an incoming, current, or recently graduated high school student.

All applicants must be available to play in Highland Park, IL on a single Friday in June and must agree to hold the 4th of July open from 12:00 pm until 10:00 pm should they make it to the Semi-Finals.

Again, email us at BattleOfTheBands [at] BitterJester [dotcom], or call 847.433.8660 to apply!