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NIAGARA FALLS – Music fans can vote online for performing groups that they would like to hear at the local Hard Rock Cafe in the preliminary competition for this year’s Hard Rock Rising Global Battle of the Bands.

Fans can vote on Hard Rock Niagara Falls’ Facebook page by downloading free tracks from the bands of their choice that are registered for the competition. This online voting will continue through Feb. 11.

After fans choose their favorites, the cafe will feature these local bands in a series of live competitions every Thursday from Feb. 21 through March 14, with a final battle March 21.

One winner will be selected in the local competition, and then the local winners from Hard Rock International locations throughout the world will be narrowed down to the top 25 by a second round of fan voting on Hard Rock Facebook pages.

Once the top 25 are determined, a panel of music industry professionals will select the grand-prize winner and two runner-up bands. The grand-prize winner will play a world tour in cities including Sydney, Tokyo, Hong Kong, London, Chicago and Honolulu. That band also will record an album with Hard Rock Records, shoot a music video and receive new music equipment and gear valued at $10,000. The two runner-up bands each will receive new music equipment and gear valued at $10,000.