In the effort to better greater Knoxville, local bands of diverse genres will compete in a Battle of the Bands to benefit United Way UT tonight at the Relix Variety Theatre at 8 p.m.

Allie Arnette, United Way UT co-founder, helped start the campus chapter during the second semester of her freshman year and said tonight's Battle of the Bands is a big step in their community involvement.

"We're a fairly new club on campus," Arnette, junior in nursing, said. "We're hoping to spread the word and raise money for United Way."

There are United Ways throughout America who work with other agencies in each area to meet the needs of their community, Arnette said. Knoxville's United Way agency supports the Cerebral Palsy Center, Second Harvest food bank, Big Brother Big Sister, the Boys and Girls Club of America and the American Red Cross.

Evan Ford is a member of competing band Cereus Bright, and said United Way brings progress to these organizations.

"It basically acts as a liaison between donors and great community service organizations, empowering amazing progress," Ford, a junior in philosophy and economics, said.

For this fundraiser, bands explained their interest in competing, and United Way UT selected the final four bands.

"We tried to pick different genres, so they're not all the same," Arnette said. "They're also all local Knoxville bands."

Bands themselves applied for these positions, and the community took part in ensuring their favorite local bands would help benefit Knoxville. Brad Fugate, member of the band O Youth, who describe themselves as "doom folk" and "art punk," said they were nominated by an anonymous source, and that O Youth is dedicated to helping the Knoxville community through music.

"We just moved back here from Murfreesboro, and we're ready to start having a great time with Knoxville as much as possible," Fugate, graduate student, said. "This is our hometown, and we know there's a community within UT that's really fun and also wants to positively change things. That's really exciting to be a part of again."

Cereus Bright, a band focused on reviving folk music in its simplest form, pushed to help the cause from the beginning.

"We were asked to play this Battle of the Bands a long time ago as we had a few connections with United Way UT and the people starting it," Ford said. "We really want to bring people out and put on a great show to help raise awareness and money for the charity."

In addition to Cereus Bright and O Youth, the United Way panel selected Plunderphonics, a rap group with a wide fan base and Maplehurst, a soft pop band with singer-songwriter grooves.

Judges include a representative from United Way of Greater Knoxville, United Way UT and a few other local music figures.

"Mainly, selection of the winner will be based on talent and fan base," Arnette said.

The winning band will receive a prize of $500. Arnette hopes the event will draw more students into the campus United Way chapter, which holds a meeting the second Thursday of every month.

"I hope this event raises student awareness about United Way and the opportunities it represents on campus and in Knoxville," Ford said. "Hopefully, we'll put on a good show too."

The show is $7 at the door with the money going to help the Knoxville community. For more information, click here.