The College Football Playoff National Championship game won’t be the only battle of brawn hitting Phoenix this weekend.
CAMPVS, a Universal Music Group-backed company that brought universities across the country Battle of the Bands and MovieFest, is hosting the final throw down for its DJ competition right in the heart of the Championship Campus Presented by Ak-Chin Indian Community in downtown Phoenix.
Five undergraduate DJs will battle it out on the AT&T Playoff Playlist Live! stage Saturday, January 9, at 4:15 p.m. for a chance to be crowned Top College DJ in the nation, a cash and swag prize as well as the opportunity to open for Ciara, WalkTheMoon and X Ambassadors later that day. The competition, hosted on Block 23 (between Second, Washington and Jefferson streets), begins at 4:15 p.m. and is free.
This year’s competitors — pulled from 18 regional battles held in 2015 — include repeat finalist Jill Strange (Columbia College - Chicago), Almond (Ithaca College), B-Hoff (Ohio State University), Keyst1 (Oregon State) and DJ Kurr (Florida State).
This is the first year CAMPVS and Campus DJ have partnered with ESPN for the finals.
“We’ve always thought about the similarities between music and sport,” says Campus DJ co-founder Evan Shapiro. “It’s a natural fit.”
DJs are no stranger to a workout, that’s for sure. From plastic and Scotch tape-wrapped-laptops to neat-o headbands and dark-colored shirts, DJs are no strangers to sweating it out on the ones and twos.
“DJ’ing to me is an active thing, it’s very physical, and so is music. Having it be presented as almost its own sport is pretty cool,” Kevin Wilson, ESPN’s director of music, said in a press release.
Campus DJ is hitting its stride, and Shapiro says the company plans to add new markets into the mix for next year’s competition.
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Local DJ Tyler Sherman, a.k.a. DJ Munition, was a competitor and finalist in 2013 and 2014, respectively, when he worked with Campus DJ. The experience encouraged him to get more involved with the ASU Program and Activities Board, which has since led to his organizing Arizona events for Campus DJ post-graduation.
“Campus DJ focuses these amateur-esque performers into building themselves and defining who they are,” Sherman says. “It’s a good time in kids’ careers to build that . . . It is a perfect stage for these kids (for whom this is the) largest crowd they’ve played.”
Guest judges, who have included Lupe Fiasco and The Crystal Method in previous years, have not officially been announced. However, Shapiro says last year's winner, Bentley Montes x King Tutt, will be in attendance.
Correction: This article originally said that Evan Shapiro's title was CEO. It is "co-founder."