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C OF C BATTLE OF BANDS: FINALISTS ANNOUNCED

The Fifth Annual Charleston Battle of the Bands Competition, presented by CofC's Dept. of Communications, has announced their five finalists for the big live gig at the Music Farm on Thurs. March 29. Four Charleston-based bands -- Ahoy, Matey!, Fareview, Jon Blalock, and The Fire Apes -- and a Norfolk, Va.-based group called Still Pink will each perform a brief set in front of an audience and a panel of local "celebrity judges" -- including 98X DJ and Local X host Amy Hutto, 95SX's Special Ed ... and yours truly! Check www.musicfarm.com for more.

HOLY CITY POP FEST: II

The second annual Holy City Pop Festival is scheduled for Fri. March 30 and Sat. March 31 at Cumberland's and will feature local and regional guitar-pop bands, experimental rockers, and songwriters. The lineup so far includes locals Cary Ann Hearst, The Wagoneers (formerly The April Invention), and A Decent Animal with visiting acts De Novo Dahl, How I Became the Bomb, The Never, Peter Alvanos, King of Prussia, Second Shift, and special guests.

Hackler Debuts Stuff

Local trumpeter Kevin Hackler and his current gallery of jazz cats have recorded and mastered a new album and are set to release it this week. The eight-song disc, titled Absalon, was written and performed by Hackler and bandmates Dave Linaburg (guitar), Stuart White (drums), Michael Hanf (vibes), and Ben Wells (bass). The quintet have an unofficial "soft release" album party scheduled for Fri. March 16 at Johnson's Pub. See www.kevinhackler.com for more.

SAVANNAH FEST: A PEACH!

The 2007 Savannah Music Festival, set for Thurs. March 15 through Sun. April 1, will feature a seriously impressive lineup of over 100 classical, jazz, rock, Americana, gospel, and bluegrass artists performing at various venues around the city's historic district. Highlights of the ever-growing two-week series include blues singers Dianne Reeves and Susan Tedeschi, Peach State rockers Shawn Mullins and Randall Bramblett Band, acclaimed sitar player Anoushka Shankar, and New Orleans jazz greats Wynton Marsalis and Porter-Batiste-Stoltz. Tickets can be purchased through the Trustees Theater box office (216 E. Broughton St., 912-525-5050), and range in price from $15 to $85 for each performance, with some events for free. See www.savannahmusicfestival.org for more.

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