Following its roaring success in recent years, the YRock International Music Challenge has returned once more for 2017, with this year’s final being held at Discovery Bay’s Big Picnic Music and Dance Festival on November 4.
The competition has become synonymous with giving teenage bands, duos and solo artists the chance to perform to a wider audience, win Tom Lee Music vouchers, or even the opportunity to play at the prestigious Clockenflap Festival.
As always, YRock hosts three semi-final heats, and last week saw Heat #1 kicking off in style, with a selection of talented local indie bands fighting it out at waterside venue Hemingways for a slot in the final.
Clockenflap organiser Justin Sweeting will sit in on the judging panel for the final in November to analyse three key categories: Performance, Originality and Personality, or as organiser Belinda Howard calls them “POP Awards”.
“It means a lot to the YRock teens to perform for Justin,” says Belinda. “He is always scouting for up and coming talent for his Festival, and has chosen acts each year from our line-up. He also takes the time to chat with the artists afterwards and gives them valuable tips, so it is very inspiring for them to have his feedback. He is always very encouraging and provides an amazing opportunity for the artists he selects.”
Last year proved to be a springboard for many of the acts involved, launching them onto bigger stages, and to larger crowds. Since then, Young Post’s favourite duo The Folk-Ups have released two critically acclaimed EPs, and won over Clockenflap audiences.
“The Folk Ups had it all,” Belinda enthused about the pair. “Personality, originality – all the way down to Shelby the Suitcase. Their overall performance skills and audience engagement were incredible, while maintaining this relaxed, chill factor.”
Other acts who have continued to blossom include The Pansies, who brought the house down at Kitec Music Zone in Kowloon Bay earlier this year, opening for punk legends The Damned; and Asyndeton, who went away with the Originality prize last year, and even landed a #2 spot in the Hong Kong iTunes Rock Chart, before signing a new record deal.
“The most rewarding part for us at YRock is to see the enormous progress the performers make with each set of performances, in terms of their overall confidence and delivery,” confesses Belinda. “Many go on to more arts related careers than they would otherwise have done. We are seeing this more and more with the returning Alumni.”
Even though the heats are now well underway, Belinda is still keen to hear from any musicians aged 13-19 years who would like to be considered for either of the remaining heats on Saturday, October 4, and Saturday October 21, both of which will take place at Hemingways from 6:30-9:30pm in Discovery Bay. Each act is to prepare two songs, with extra points awarded for any original material being performed.
Applicants can email Belinda directly at firstname.lastname@example.org along with their age, band name, music genre, technical and contact details, and the school they attend.