Wannabe rock stars from schools across West Yorkshire got a taste of stardom at the weekend thanks to an initiative from West Yorkshire Police, in association with BACKSTAGE ACADEMY® and LS-Live.
The second annual Battle of the Bands event saw nine student bands battle it out in a professional live environment in front of their peers and a judging panel that included Jude Abbott from Chumbawamba, on Sunday 15 July.
Horbury High's group Uneven Symmetry were crowned the winners of 'Best Original Song' and St Wilfrids’ group Mongoose in the Pumphouse won 'Best Performance'. The bands won a prize trophy, a tour of the LS-Live rehearsal studios and one of the company’s stage hire packages for the school.
Both bands were overjoyed to win the competition, which has now become a coveted annual police and partner lead event. Sgt Alan Studd from Pontefract & Knottingley police said: "The location of this year’s event blew everyone away, the sound and lighting and atmosphere was incredible.
“We were over the moon to be able to give our local young people the chance to perform in the same venue as their idols.”
BACKSTAGE ACADEMY® students on the Foundation Degree in Live Events Production planned and executed the entire event, from the initial layout and visual concepts to mixing the audio and lighting.
The performances took place in LS-Live’s arena-sized studio, with a backstage hub for the bands in the catering area, interviews for the event DVD in the production offices and a VIP space on the viewing balcony and in the green room.
Said Backstage Academy Sales & Business Development Manager Sara Gleadhall: "We were very pleased to be able to provide a platform for the Police to engage with young people and nurture their musical talent. The bands seemed to be very inspired by the environment of the LS-Live studios and probably felt like rockstars for the day!
"The event was also a great opportunity for our students at Backstage Academy to put their skills into practice and produce a live event from start to finish."
Continued Sgt Alan Studd: "Although this was an amazing day for everyone who attended and took part, we can never forget the message behind this idea.
“We are asking our local young talented people to write a song about crime to get them and other people thinking about the negative effects that crime can have on lives.
“The event was an amazing diversionary activity for our young people, empowering them and raising their confidence and aspirations, whilst supporting them to make positive decisions for their future career paths.
“We would like to thank everyone who came down and supported this event, including three local mayors; Elaine Blezard (Wakefield Mayor), John Turner (South Kirkby Mayor) and Bob Brown (South Emsall Mayor).
“Thank you also to Karen Townend, the Olympic Torch bearer from Wakefield who allowed people to have a photo with the torch to help raise money for charity. Thanks to Wakefield Wild Cats rugby player Dale Morton who awarded a prize. We would especially like to thank everyone at LS-Live and BACKSTAGE ACADEMY® for allowing us to use their amazing facilities.”
The event raised just under £1,300 for Yorkshire Cancer Research and Alzeimer's Society.