ITHACA, NY — There’s no such thing as friendly competition — and with a performance slot up for grabs at next year’s Grassroots Festival and nothing to lose, why not take part in the Battle of the Bands of Grassroots?
Each year, Grassroots gives participants the chance to compete in a performance battle. The grand prize is to perform at next year’s festival as a featured artist. This year’s winner was singer-songwriter Max Shuhan, who performed under his stage name, Max Childs. Shuhan often performs with a group, although he did this solo performance. Each act in the competition was allowed to perform a song to show off their talent, and the winner was determined by a secret panel of judges scattered among the audience.
Shuhan said he sang an original song while playing the keyboard, likely winning over the crowd when he revealed the song was written for his partner who he proposed to on Thursday of the festival.
Shuhan said he was delighted to have won, but was still surprised with the result.
“I was ecstatic, but I didn’t want to get too excited,” Shuhan said. “I thought I performed really well, but the other people playing were awesome, so there was definitely competition. So when they said my name, it was kind of a “too good to be true” moment.
The opportunity to perform at Grassroots Festival next year isn’t far off what Shuhan is used to. The singer-songwriter has performed with several bands over the years, each playing sets across New York State. One of Shuhan’s bands, Dean’s Kids, plays frequently on Funk Nights at The Range.
Shuhan said he enjoys supporting the other contestants as they perform and seeing the musicians who travel to Grassroots up and down the East Coast.
“I think there were 16 or 17 acts that performed and they were all wonderful,” Shuhan said. “Everyone sounded great and it was really cool to be a part of it. The musicians that came in were from all over, like Miami, Vermont, and all the power for them to come up there and sing a song because it can be quite annoying.