After months of deliberation, debate, promotion, online vote-tallying, and finger-crossing, the organizational team from South Carolina Federal Credit Union’s Young & Free S.C. program recently announced the five finalists in the Last Band Standing “battle of the bands” event. On Wednesday evening, it’s all up to the five up-and-coming bands — Stereoreform, Meet the Sky, Hollow Reed, The Whisperjets, and Chaos in Gotham — to jump on stage, plug in, and give it their all. Of course, as the optimistic phrase goes, they’re all winners here, but the act that most decisively dazzles the five-judge panel across the board will earn big prizes and acclaim.

Scheduled for Wed. Oct. 7 at the Wild Wing Café in Mt. Pleasant, Last Band Standing features the top online vote-getters from a total of 24 entrants. The judges include longtime Charleston trumpeter and educator Charlton Singleton (a member of Plane Jane and conductor with the Charleston Jazz Orchestra); guitarist and songwriter Mark Bryan (of Hootie & The Blowfish); R&B/soul/funk vocalist, musical collaborator Quiana Parler; radio personality Joel M. Frank (music director, assistant programming director, and disc jockey with The Bridge at 105.5 WCOO); and yours truly.

It’s a tight schedule, but every band will be allowed between 20-25 minutes for each set. After an introduction at 7 p.m., funk/rock trio Stereoreform kicks things off at 7:20 p.m. Alt-rock quartet Meet the Sky perform at 8 p.m., followed by acoustic groove/pop act Hollow Reed at 8:40 p.m. Local pop/rock quintet The Whisperjets hit the stage at 9:30 p.m. Punk-rock four-piece Chaos in Gotham crank things up around 10 p.m.

Judged and scored in five categories (stage presence, singing, technique, crowd interaction, and musical originality), the top-scoring act wins $1,000 in cash and a spot on the schedule at the forthcoming ShineFest on Oct. 17 at the Joe. Second-place wins $500 in cash. The runners-up receive $100 Wild Wing gift cards.

Admission is free, but a donation of canned goods at the door to support the Lowcountry Food Bank will be much appreciated.