High school rock bands from across the state are invited to sign up for The Off-Ramp, Reindeer Records’ annual competition and six-month music marathon that takes original young bands on a journey filled with music industry challenges, live shows and educational opportunities.

Showcase Auditions are slated for Saturday, Oct. 23 at the new, state-of-the-art Westbrook Performing Arts Center; and 12 bands will be selected to compete in the event. Registration deadline is Oct. 1.

A semi-final run-off will be held in April to determine the top five bands that will go on to the Final Showdown in May. The top three bands will split $3,500 in cash. One band will earn the title of Best Young Band in the State of Maine.

Since 1983, thousands of high school musicians in hundreds of bands have taken part in Reindeer Records’ flagship competition, The Rock-Off.  After 25 years, Reindeer pulled the plug on its trademark event and created a bigger-and-better competition, closely linked to its bigger goal to develop an innovative and accredited music program for Maine’s Alternative Education students. Making its debut last year, The Off-Ramp is described as The Rock-Off meets “The Apprentice.”

“We’ve taken the best components from our 25 years of producing experience and incorporated them with elements of a reality TV show,” said Reindeer executive producer Louis Philippe.

The competition offers a broad spectrum of educational and career exposures, as well as opportunities to develop stage skills, artist expansion, marketing, promotion, audio-visual, communication and organizational skills — all while gaining networking, industry and media exposure, Philippe noted. Throughout the entire competition, friends, fans, the industry and the world will be able to follow the bands on their journeys via online coverage by media sponsor Current Publishing (keepmecurrent.com).

As much as The Off-Ramp is fun and beneficial for all the participating bands, it also is designed to raise funds and awareness for another project, Reindeer’s Alternative Music Program. RAMP’s goal is to create a 45-hour accredited curriculum for Maine’s alternative education students. To produce the high-quality innovative curriculum envisioned, Reindeer wants to raise $145,000 for administrative costs, manpower, equipment, training and research and development to expand the curriculum, create others, and market those products statewide, regionally and nationwide.

For the registration packet, contact Reindeer at 857-9002 or by email at events@reindeergroup.org.