THE AMP Awards are coming...and before the grand final at the Royal Hall in Harrogate on February 23 even begins, they already has much to celebrate!
This home-grown schools battle of the bands competition, which promotes both music and business enterprise, is now in its fourth successful year.
Since it was launched for teenage music outfits from schools across the district including Harrogate, Ripon and Knaresborough, it has attracted brilliant partners such as the Big Lottery, O2, NYBEP Waterbrands and Procter & Gamble.
It has expanded to successfully duplicate the format across schools in Wetherby and Leeds and, best of all, the first-ever band to win the AMP Awards, Book of Job, recently signed to record label Wormholedeath and are currently in Italy wrapping up the editing of their first album as we speak.
The AMP team don’t claim any credit for the latter – the band have worked tirelessly to make it happen for themselves - but the band told Jenny Eels during a recent interview for BBC Radio York Introducing that it had been a massive boost.
This year’s final promises to be as keenly fought by young acts as ever.
Co-founder of the AMP Awards, Marian Farrar of St Aidan’s High School, said: “We are very excited about the 2012 Harrogate final. There are some brilliant bands in the line up - just their names are amazing!
“I particularly like the alliterative Dark Days of December from Boroughbridge! We are also looking forward to hearing again from 2011 winners Summer City from Ripon Grammar School . it’s going to be a tough one for the judges!”
Over the years some extremely talented musicians have taken part.
The AMP Awards doesn’t allow covers – all the songs are original, all the lyrics self-written.
There are several more former AMP finalists following closely on Book of Job’s heels and, if determination and perseverance equate to results, they may also be signing a dotted line for themselves very soon.Bands are naturally drawn to the opportunity to play to a capacity audience on a large stage at a prestigious venue.
Organisers from St Aidan’s High School in Harrogate and Boroughbridge High School are keen to stress that it is the enterprise of their respective school business teams which allows them the chance to showcase their music in front of their peers.
It is they who design the event poster, source merchandise, draw up the VIP list and put on the pre- show hospitality.
They also orchestrate the Front of House arrangements, feed information to twitter and facebook followers and sell tickets to generate the all-important capacity crowd.
Each school team takes on a different part of the event organisation and collaboratively, the show comes alive.
The event management, design, marketing and financial expertise of mentors from local businesses Blue Line Taxis, Barcelo Majestic Hotel, Exactis Interactive Print, Creative Design Studio, The Water Rat, @thefourfront Marketing and Procter & Gamble play a pivotal role in guiding the teams successfully to the Royal Hall final.
Thanks to 6K Vision and the enlisted help of Embrace drummer, Mike Heaton, the musicians will also get their share of pre-event professional guidance.
A whole day of development has been arranged when performance techniques will be honed and a 12-month action plan drawn up, to help bands capitalise on their success, interact with their fans and take advantage of the further performance opportunities arising from the AMPs.
As always the final decision who wins is down to the judges. Gig Scene editor Graham Chalmers of the Harrogate Advertiser and Simon Colgan of the Blues Bar are AMP Awards stalwarts and have given fantastic support to the competition since the start.
They will be joined at the judges’ table this time by Jenny Eels, Radio York Introducing and by Allessandra Gritt, of Acceleris Marketing.
As the strap line on this year’s AMP Awards poster reads, Turn Up the Volume.
l For tickets for the AMP Awards final, visit www.harrogatetheatre.co.uk or call 01423 502 116