2024 Phoenix Independents Bowl returns on Saturday. How to participate | Phoenix New Times

Phoenix Independents Bowl returns on Saturday. How to participate

Everything to know about the locally focused charity bowling tournament for "independent-minded citizens.”
A team representing The Rebel Lounge participates in the Phoenix Independents Bowl in 2015.
A team representing The Rebel Lounge participates in the Phoenix Independents Bowl in 2015. Melissa Fossum
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Musicians, bowling fans and culture vultures of the Valley, start limbering up your wrists. If you can spare an afternoon this weekend, the Phoenix Independents Bowl is rolling back into town.

The latest edition of the “somewhat-annual” charity bowling tournament organized by local concert promoter Psyko Steve Presents and geared toward "independent-minded citizens” takes place on Saturday at Let It Roll Bowl.

The afternoon-long event benefitting Local First Arizona involves four-player teams of local musicians, artists, bartenders and others from the Phoenix’s music and culture scenes vying for bragging rights and bowling glory.

Stephen Chilton of Psyko Steve Presents says that despite the competitive nature of the Phoenix Independents Bowl, the event is more about gathering people together from various local scenes to interact during a fun afternoon.
click to enlarge Men posing at a bowling alley.
A team from a previous edition of the Phoenix Independents Bowl.
Melissa Fossum
“We’re involved with so many different scenes and communities, like all the different genres of bands we book, so this is an opportunity to bring everyone together in a neutral setting,” Chilton says. “The bowling is almost secondary, even though it's the focus of the event.”

Even if you’re not an ace of the lanes, Chilton says there are benefits to participating in the Phoenix Independents Bowl, including its lively social scene and gonzo atmosphere. Participants have been known to adopt humorous team names or wear costumes, for instance.

“It's super-loose as far as a bowling tournament. It really is about getting together and having fun,” he says. “There are some people who are very competitive. Some of the people who are the most competitive at shit-talking are not necessarily the best bowlers and vice-versa.”

Chilton launched the Phoenix Independents Bowl in 2008 as a way to unite members of the Valley’s music and culture scenes. It’s occurred irregularly over the past 16 years (hence the “somewhat-annual” description) but has always benefitted Local First Arizona, the Phoenix-based nonprofit focused on small businesses and community and economic development.

“Honestly, this is a fun side project and in some years we've felt more up to doing it when this time of year rolls around,” Chilton says. “It ultimately helps Local First Arizona, so it's also flowed with their priorities.”

Chilton says one of the deciding factors in staging the Phoenix Independents Bowl each year is whether it will be fun.

“That’s always been the biggest thing,” he says. “We never want this to be boring or a chore.”

If you’re interested in joining in the fun of the Phoenix Independents Bowl, here’s how to get the ball rolling.
click to enlarge The exterior of a bowling alley.
Let It Roll Bowl is one of Arizona's only independently owned bowling alleys.
Melissa Fossum

When and where is the Phoenix Independents Bowl?

Phoenix Independents Bowl takes place from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday at Let It Roll Bowl, 8925 N. 12th St.

How much does it cost to participate?

Teams of up to four people can register via phxindiebowl.squarespace.com. The entry fee is $150 per team, which includes shoe rental. All proceeds will benefit Local First Arizona.

What’s involved with the tournament?

Teams will each bowl two complete games during the first round. The top-scoring teams will then move on to the single-elimination bracket for the remaining rounds of the tournament.
click to enlarge
Melissa Fossum

What are the prizes?

In addition to bragging rights, prizes will include tickets to M3F 2025 and gift cards to downtown Phoenix cocktail bar Quartz.

Will there be live music?

There won’t be any musicians or bands performing, but local selector Anthony “Hartbreaks” Hart will DJ throughout the event.
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