Popular Suffolk band competition returns for 21st year
One of East Anglia’s best known and longest-running band competitions has announced its full line-up for this year’s contest.
Launched to champion young musicians, BurySOUND will celebrate its 21st anniversary in 2019 with five heats followed by a grand final at the Apex in Bury St Edmunds.
The competition was first developed in 1998 to combat the lack of a recognised music scene in the area.
A notorious performance by legendary band The Clash at Bury’s Corn Exchange in 1978 and the controversy that followed – alleged criminal damage and drunkeness – led to St Edmundsbury Borough Council banning live music from venues in the town.
The ban lasted almost 20 years until then council youth and development officer Jackie Smith recognised a need for giving young musicians something to aspire to.
Along with local promoter Paul Johnson, the pair launched the inaugural BurySOUND band competition in 1998.
Current co-organiser Seymour Quigley, who was part of band Billion Dollar Brain who won the first competition, said BurySOUND has gone from strength to strength.
“When it first launched there weren’t enough Bury bands to fill the slots,” he said.
“Acts had to be sourced from around East Anglia to make up the 12 who took part. My sixth form band [from King Edward VI School] actually won it.
“After that it just really took off and fast forward 21 years and this year we had 62 entering the competition.”
The success of the competition saw the area’s music scene begin to thrive and led to late Radio One DJ John Peel describing Bury as “the new Seattle”.
The competition continues to grow in popularity, and 25 bands will once again battle it out this year for the coveted title of BurySOUND winners.
“Playing live is so important,” said Mr Quigley. “You really can’t beat the feeling of playing your own music to an audience, and it’s such a supportive audience in Bury St Edmunds.
“It’s such a confidence boost and can really inspire people going forward.”
The first heat of BurySOUND begins on Friday, January 25, at the Hunter Club in Bury St Edmunds from 6pm. All ages welcome. Entry is £5.
For full details of bands competing in the competition, visit www.burysound.com