By Graham Chalmers
For young bands, it’s the most exciting night of the year and next week’s AMP Awards looks set to to be the most successful to date.
Held amid the glamour of Harrogate’s Royal Hall and hundreds of clapping, cheering and, occasionally, screaming teenagers, seven rock, pop and indie groups from across the district will be battling it out to be crowned 2015 AMP champions.
Ranging widely across the district, the 2015 finalists include Cynical Sound from Boroughbridge High School, Alibi from King James’s School, Knaresborough, A-Z from Nidderdale High, Calm After the Storm from Outwood Academy Ripon, Backyard Bisons from Ripon Grammar School, Outside South from St Aidan’s High School, Harrogate and Unnatural Sandwiches from St John Fisher School, Harrogate.
With instant reactions from an X Factor-style judges panel which includes Ont Sofa’s Jason Odle, Blues Bar owners Simon and Sharon Colgan and Graham Chalmers of the Harrogate Advertiser Series, the bands will have to be at the top of their game if they are to follow in the footsteps of last year’s winning group - the funk-flavoured Alister’s Theory from St Aidan’s High School.
The onus next Wednesday from 7pm will be to impress as the final decision also includes audience votes.
It’s the seventh year of the AMPs, launched under the leadershop of two local teachers Marian Farrar and Josh Hill, which has expanded to create sister events in every major city in Yorkshire.
Marian, head of Business & Community Partnerships at St Aidan’s High School, shows no signs of losing enthusiasm for this annual highlight of the musical diary.
She said: “The best thing about the AMP Awards for me is giving recognition to young people with skills that are not necessarily academic. Being good at something brings confidence and it’s great to see what a positive effect that can have.”
The AMP awards are also a business and enterprise competition between business team of young students.
The VIP Hospitality for this year’s final is being handled by students from The Forest School in Knaresborough while the poster has been designed by King James’s School business team - with a bit of help from Sian at Ion Creative.
l For the story of AMP Awards and its founders, see Weekend supplement inside.