The City Paper has joined forces with Young & Free S.C. — South Carolina Federal Credit Union’s new program aimed at “the 25 and under crowd” — to organize a big battle of the bands event called Young & Free: Last Band Standing.

Young & Free programs provide a forum and educational outlet for college students and young adults.

The main Last Band Standing event is set for Wed. Oct. 7 at the Wild Wing in Mt. Pleasant at 7 p.m. The prizes are impressive: first place wins $1,000 and a set at the upcoming ShineFest 2009 event set for Sat. Oct. 17 at the Joseph P. Riley Stadium; second place wins $500; and the three runners-up will be awarded $100 Wild Wing gift certificates.

Local bands can fill out the official forms and enter the contest online at youngfreesc.com (the fast-approaching deadline is Sept. 7). The public will be able to vote online at the Young & Free homepage between Sept. 9-15 to determine who will reach the finals.

A panel of three judges will score each performance based on five categories: stage presence, vocal strength, instrumental technique, crowd interaction and response, and musical originality. See youngfreesc.com for details.