Calling All Competitors

26 April 2012 | 6:06 pm | Staff Writer

AmpFest with Kris Dimitroff – AmpFest coordinator/WAM project officer.

Brief history? AmpFest was started in 2003 by western suburbs councils Subiaco, Mosman Park and Claremont and now includes the City Of Wanneroo. WAM has coordinated AmpFest since 2010. Major sponsors are Healthway Drug Aware.

Bands that have taken out the comp? AmpFest has definitely helped young bands get a start in the industry. In 2005, Mink Mussel Creek won and The Dee Dee Dums came runners up. The Dee Dee Dums soon changed their name to Tame Impala. Jodie Regan was a judge at that 2005 final and soon went on to manage Tame Impala and the rest is history! In 2010, Goodnight Tiger won and have moved to Melbourne to further their career. In 2011, Sisters Doll won. They're a young trio of brothers from Collie with an average age of 16 so I'm sure they have a big future ahead.

What sort of bands are you hoping to get involved? Unsigned, original acts from anywhere in WA with an average member age between 12-25. Solo acts welcome too. There are no genre boundaries, we definitely encourage diversity and creativity! AmpFest is more than another rock/pop comp, we've had hip hop, metal, jazz, folk, shoegaze, punk, R'n'B and electronic. If you write your own music, whatever style, we'd love to hear it!

Tell us about how it works. Last year we had 70 entries, this year we are gunning for more. Of the entries, 15 acts are chosen based on their one recorded song. Entrants are split into three heats and the winner from each plays the Final Showcase. One more act is chosen as a wildcard, making four to compete in the Final. Judges score each act's live performance on a range of criteria such as songwriting, originality, stage presentation and marketing viability.

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Who is on the judging panel? Local music industry professionals from media, band management, record labels, arts industries and experienced musos.

Let's get down to business: prizes? This year we have over $15,000 worth of prizes (up from $10,000 last year) including studio time with our good friends at SoundBaker Studios and Shanghai Twang Mastering, media prizes from RTRFM and WAM and music vouchers at Zenith Music.

Tips for potential competitors? Enter! You've got nothing to lose (except the measly $20 entry fee). Your one song entry doesn't have to be of professional quality, get a mate to help you record on a laptop if you don't know how. Try to keep it under four minutes, even if your band likes 10 minute space-out jams, you can save this for the gig. Play the game and record a three- to four-minute song to enter.  Set up social media pages. Practise your live act. Check your emails. Be proactive in getting your act happening, no one else will do it for you. AmpFest gives you the platform but you must be ready to step up.

Funniest memories, surprises or highlights from past comps? Seeing neo-punks The FAIM Project scare the bejeezus out of 120 kids at Mosman Park was hilarious. Glam rockers Sisters Doll playing CIT Leederville band room in 2011 as if it were Wembley Stadium circa 1984 was incredible. And witnessing the delicately funny Goodnight Tiger girls win the final amid four rock bands was special too.

How can bands get involved? Entries open Monday 23 April and close Friday 29 June. Entry forms online at AmpFest and WAM and hardcopies at Subi, Mos Park, Claremont and Wanneroo council offices.