This past weekend, on February 24 and 25, Arvin High’s annual Airband returned for the first time since 2020.
Although it was popularized as Airband, Arvin High rebranded their event as Lip Sync Battle in order to try and garner higher participation from students who didn’t know what Airband was. The event is a competition where high school students form a band with their friends to perform their favorite songs. The catch? Students don’t need any musical talent to perform since they are only pretending to sing or play an instrument. Most of the fun comes from the theatrics such as choreography, props, or confetti.
This competition has been a lasting tradition at Arvin High School. 2019 marked the 25th anniversary at AHS, making it the longest airband in the Kern High School District. This also makes this year’s competition Arvin High’s 29th year.
The Lip Sync Battle is hosted and organized by Arvin High’s Associated Student Body (ASB). They first got the word out to students about the event and held an informational meeting. The only way to continue to organize the event, however, was if at least 10 bands signed up. Lack of participation is what canceled the event last year. Luckily, more than 10 bands signed up, making ASB get back to business.
There were cash prizes for the top three bands. The first-place prize was $400, the second-place prize was $200, and third place prize was $100. A panel of judges judged each band on the first night of the competition, and the winners were announced at the end of the second night.
There were a total of 17 bands, and each one had to attend several dress rehearsals in order to practice for the actual competition. On competition day, the bands had to stick around backstage until it was their turn on stage. ASB was also in charge of directing each band and providing them with props when needed.
“I was in charge of selling tickets, and then I was making posters to promote Lip Sync Battle like the weeks before the competition.”, said Camila Botello, Class of 2025 Treasurer for ASB. “The days of the competition I was helping the teams backstage and doing things.”
Grace Valesco, a sophomore, and member of the group SIO2 shared her thoughts during rehearsal.
“I really wanted to perform a K-pop dance on stage, so that’s my reason to join. My favorite memory so far is probably practicing at my partner Sara’s house and her dog attacking me, well it didn’t attack me but it jumped on me. It’s just funny to me. Of course, I want to win, but my favorite group is the Starlights. I loved how they performed California Gurls and I’m really obsessed with OMG!, the other song they performed. It’s just so great!”
Daniela Uribe, sophomore and member of Team Beach Movie explained how fun the experience has been for her.
“I joined Lip Sync Battle because I thought it was a really cool idea to join and have fun with people. I also did it so that they wouldn’t cancel the event,” said Uribe. “So far, I really liked rehearsing with my band. We even rehearsed for 4 hours straight nonstop. It was like so cool but very tiring, but I had such a great time with them. I have several groups that I like such as the Super Seniors, Runaways!, and Starlights, plus SIO2. They are killing it. I would really love to do this again next year”
The first day of Lip Sync Battle presented a full crowd, mostly of AHS students and friends of the band members, while the second day was joined with parents and family.
Dionisio Chavarin, a senior at Arvin High, went on the second day.
“The performance that was most memorable, and they won first place, was when the guys took off, they ripped off their outfits and they were wearing like those fishnets underneath. And I was like wow, that was revolutionary, a tribute to Tom Holland’s Lip Sync Battle. I don’t really go to many [events] unless there is like my friends, but yeah I like it. It’s senior year so I might as well do something with it. Yeah, I’d recommend it because it’s funny. It’s all about the experience.”
Evelyn Gallardo, Arvin High Class of 2019 also returned to watch the competition.
“I always like to go and watch the shows that the new years put on. I think it’s fun to see what they do and how they do it. And how they do it differently from other years. I’ve gone to watch since I was in 8th grade. I like comparing it to my year and all the others. I also enjoy seeing how the crowd reacts. You don’t even have to be from Arvin. It’s fun to see,” said Gallardo.
After all the bands performed on the second day, the top 3 winners were announced. 3rd place went to “In 5th Gear”, second place went to “Team Beach Movie”, and first place, with the grand prize of $400, went to “Runaways!”. Every band participated in congratulating these teams up on stage.
“I feel like the top teams did a great job. Shout out to Team Beach Movie and the Runaways!”, said Botello. “The hardest thing to do was clearing out the confetti at the end of each performance, but it was fun just seeing all the teams freak out before performing and then getting on stage and slay!”
Each band did an amazing job of performing on stages that the audience loved and allowed for Lip Sync Battle to continue being a celebrated tradition at Arvin High.