Verona Area High School student Max Beardsley and his band, Quick and Painless, are getting a second chance to play on one of the world’s biggest stages.
Beardsley and his band, the defending champions from last year’s “Rockonsin” competition, will play at Summerfest again this year after being named one of 12 finalists.
“It’s just a really great experience overall,” Beardsley said. “Last year it really helped us grow as a band.”
Rockonsin is a state-wide garage band competition for students in grades 7-12, where the top 12 finalists get a 15-minute set at Milwaukee’s Summerfest in late June, and the winner of the competition gets a second 45-minute set and studio time for a professional recording session.
This year’s competition will take place on Thursday, June 27, and Friday, June 28, on the Johnson Controls World Sound Stage on the Summerfest grounds.
Bands that perform all genres of music are eligible to compete in the Rockonsin competition.
Quick and Painless is comprised of Beardsley and three other students from local high schools: Everett Karlen from Lake Mills High School, and two recent graduates from Waunakee High School, Emma Deppen and Ryan Badger. Beardsley plays drums for the band, with Karlen performing lead guitar and lead vocals, Deppen on the bass guitar and Badger on keyboard.
Quick and Painless was selected as a finalist out of around 70 applicants, Beardsley said.
The application process was “educational” for the band members, Deppen said, as the judges gave the band feedback on its performing style.
They were told that as a band, Quick and Painless had a good stage presence and connected well as a group, Deppen said.
“Really the only criticism they had was our outfits, and how we needed to look more like a band, which is pretty funny,” she said.
Karlen told the Press that performing in the Rockonsin competition last year really solidified the members’ desire to keep moving forward with the band.
“Playing ... a professional show like that really helped us realize, ‘Wow, this is really, really fun, we should get serious with this and put work into it,’” he said. “If this is what it’s like to take it to the next level, then that’s what we want to do.”