Calling all budding bands - we want your demo CDs

Fed up of the same old bands releasing the same tired out tunes? Entertainments writer WAYNE SAVAGE invites Suffolk’s stars of the future to step up to the mic.

CALLING all budding bands - your Star and EA Event wants you. Well, your demo CDs to be more precise.

Picking up from where the Love Music Live 2011 tour left off, we want to continue shining a spotlight on the wealth of unsigned, original acts out there.

“Last year was great for young musicians across the county; there is plenty happening and we need to be investing in this,” said tour manager Sam Robson.

In its third year, but the first county-wide tour run by Archant, Ipswich indie rockers Underline the Sky visited Amberfield, Royal Hospital School, Stowupland High School, Westbourne Sports College, Ipswich School, Stowmarket High School, Ipswich Academy, Ipswich High School, St Albans, Northgate High, Thurston, Farlingaye High School, Holbrook High School, St Joseph’s and Stoke schools.

Students took part in curriculum relevant workshops aimed at helping new bands and solo performers get their careers off to the best possible start.

Areas covered included modern-day music, business, song-writing, performance and image and the Road to V and Live and Unsigned winners also shared their experiences of playing the 02 arena, V Festival and dealing with record labels.

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It ended with an awards night at the Ipswich Corn Exchange were ten of the 15 school bands that took part in the tour competed in various categories from best image and best sound to best performance. Up for grabs, musical equipment donated by Sounds Plus, Bury, worth �2,000.

Performing on the night were Far From The Ordinary, Stowupland High School; Ipswich School 6th Form Choir; Overload, Stowmarket High School; Lauren Dixon and Meg Kalafat, Ipswich High School; The Rest Is Noise, Farlingaye High School; The Five Stripes, Holbrook High School; St Joseph’s College Choir; The Bunny Catchers from Stoke High School, Irrelevant Protest, Northgate; and Abbi Harrison of Leiston Community High School.

The tour definitely hit the right note with all the schools.

“It gave a great insight into the music industry and the on the spot song-writing motivated my exam class in a way I can only dream of doing,” said Jonathan Abbott, Holbrook High School’s head of music.

“Confidence among some of the students, particularly Kate who sang onstage with the band during the workshop, has soared. She is volunteering to perform now. Without hesitation I would recommend this experience to other schools. Sit back and watch your students go.”

Liz Evans, Ipswich Academy’s head of music, said her students had begun performing music together and been inspired to start thinking about their future musical careers after being given an insight into the day-to-day running of a band.

“The whole event was organised with lots of imagination and enthusiasm. Underline the Sky were just right for a school performance. Wholesome and awesome,” added Ipswich School’s director of music, Andrew Leech.

Anne-Marie Oaten, vice principle of Leiston Community School, hailed the event exciting, fun and thoroughly worthwhile: “All students benefited – Sam really engaged with the students and did well to keep them interested and involved during the workshops.”

Dave Charles, head of music at Stoke High School, said they would definitely get involved again, adding many of his students loved the final show at the Corn Exchange.

“All students benefited from the sessions delivered by the band and really appreciated the opportunity to perform to a critical audience in a true master class style,” added Jonathon Cushing, head of music at Stowmarket High School.

“The atmosphere after the workshop was really exciting and students across the school talked about the lunchtime concert with those that had been involved in them.”

Fourteen-year-old James Riley from Ipswich School had a very good night out at the Love Music Live School Awards evening - picking up a fender acoustic guitar courtesy of Music World.

He was the lucky winner of its Love Music Live – guess the picks competition.

The 500 people who attended this year’s awards night were asked to guess how many guitar picks were in a jar, the right answer being 734. James came closest with 732.

“I’m delighted with my new guitar, it’s great that Music World is doing its bit to help the local music scene. I’m glad I entered the competition now.”

Now it’s time for us to do our bit and encourage bands and solo acts to pluck up the courage to step up to the mic.

Here’s what we want you to do.

Send a brief description of your band/yourself, along with a demo CD and your contact details to Star/EA Event, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP4 1AN. Or you can e-mail your details, a JPG of yourself and an MPEG to me at the e-mail address above.

Be sure to include your Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, YouTube, etc details.

It doesn’t matter how young or old you are or what type of music you play; the only rule is you can’t be signed to a record label. The best will get featured some way in either Star or EA Event.

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