Band Blast part of July 4 festivities

WEIRTON – The Weirton community will be celebrating Independence Day with a blast.

In addition to the traditional parade and fireworks display, area residents can catch check out the inaugural Band Blast competition, being organized by Renaissance Weirton.

The festivities will begin at 10 a.m. July 4 with the annual Weirton Fourth of July Parade – with a theme of “Independence Day: Red, White and Blue” – presented by the Weirton Board of Parks and Recreation.

The parade will follow its traditional Main Street route, ending at Marland Heights Road.

Area residents then will be invited to the Weirton Event Center at 5 p.m. for Band Blast, with three area bands vying for a $1,000 grand prize.

Participating bands for the contest are the Lo-Fi Project, Semi-Supervillians and Led By Mercy.

The Lo-Fi Project is a group of local musicians utilizing modernized cigar box guitars and hand-made guitars in their performances. Their music is described as a mix of classic rock and delta blues.

The group’s members include Jesse Smith, Jake Booth, Dean Dillener, Stephen Saner and Brian Saner.

The Semi-Supervillains, fronted by Madonna graduate Vinnie Longhi, along with Ron Rekowski, Kyle Yoho and Jake Locke, have been creating a buzz in Pittsburgh for the last four years.

Described as “garage rock goodness,” the band takes its cues from the likes of Jack White and The Strokes.

Led By Mercy is a contemporary Christian band from Weirton, performing both covers and original music.

The group’s members are Jim Schwab, Sandy Pucci, Aldo Pucci and Todd Staley.

A panel of three judges has been assembled to score the bands’ performances in determining a winner.

In addition to the judges, the audience will be able to cast their own votes in exchange for a $1 donation per vote.

Following the competition, local oldies band Legend will take the stage at 7:30 p.m., to be followed by the community fireworks display.