5 September 2014

Band Contest at 2014 Skopje Band Camp

Bands rock out on stage for big prizes


On Friday August 29 as the setting sun heralded a starry warm evening over the Macedonian capital of Skopje, our Ambassador Bands set off in a blended air of anxiety and excitement towards their highlight of the week. After early supper students and teachers accompanied by Fontys Rockacedemie coaches, Musicians without Borders and Mitrovica Rock School staff streamed towards the venue where they were about to perform in front of Skopje as well as Mitrovica crowd. Havana Summer Club is the venue of choice as it is distinguished as city's hottest gigging place and provides a perfect opportunity for young bands to present themselves to a bigger and unfamiliar crowd.


Stage is all set for the big night

By the time the rock expedition reaches the club in the early hours of the evening they find the stage has been readied, the sound system put on air and people were already buzzing around the venue hoping for a soonish start of the show. 20 minutes onwards the stage was occupied by an official presenter of the event Eric Wels who announced the the band contest open, welcomed the audience and guests and gave an encouraging speech to the four young bands, two of which would be making a d├ębuting appearance on stage tonight.

Rock School/MwB presenter opens the event at Havana Summer Club, Skopje

 After a short warm-felt introduction from their coach-mentor of the Fontys Rockacademie Sublime 6 get on stage and belt out their mostly metal-infused set backed by two powerful female vocals. The crowd instantly erupted into a big wave of synchronised headbangers and cheered the band on. The performance left a strong impression on the crowd as the most senior Ambassador band of the four is seen off the stage with an uproarious applause.

 Sublime 6 were first to perform on the night

Young crowd at the concert

The changeover interval is short and again the second band Schism is first welcomed on stage and introduced by their coach-mentor from Fontys Rockacademie. Having already performed at the same venue and event a year before Schism give out a note of confidence stemming from their experience and they almost feel at home at Havana Summer Club as they strum out their pop-ish melodious tunes. Needless to say the set garners approval from the crowd as the band proudly retreats from the spotlight.

Schism perform on stage

We're midway through the official bill and the two remaining bands brace themselves for their first encounter with the audience. First on are Astral Dreamers, a young hopefuls fronted by a female vocalist of enormous talent. They run through their short set of original songs having previously been introduced to the crowd by their coach-mentor. By the time they finish their three-song repertoire they are freed from the grips of stage fright and cheered on by the supportive crowd they come to the full potential of the musicianship leaving nothing to be desired. 

 The Suck of Psychotic debutes on stage 

Another short set is seen by Ambassador newcomers The Suck of Psychotic who played two original songs bursting with emotional vigour from their female vocal buttressed against curious instrumental set-up. Both newcomer bands lived up to the expectations and the fans acknowledged their talent by cheers and shouts.

Astral Dreamers make their first ever appearance as a new band

With the official bill behind us the jury retreated into a secluded area of the venue to sum up and evaluate the performances from the 3 competing bands (Schism was dropped from the competition as they were the last year's winners).
In the meantime guest bands took turns on stage and entertained the crowd and the Rock School staff put CD compilation from 4 bands recorded just days before the event in Skopje on grabs.

 The Mighty Munchkins performed as a guest band

Babylon United set the stage on fire

Half an hour later crowd put out a sigh of relief at the site of the juror climbing on to the stage to present his case and announce the winners. Thanking all bands for participating and heaping praise on the organizers of the event he went on to adjudicate the prizes in the electrified venue.

Jury announces the winners

In an unintentional hierarchical order, Sublime 6 won the *Studio Award*: a half-week of intensive songwriting and band coaching in Skopje in January/February 2015 and a recording week in the Netherlands in the spring of 2015. On this track, the focus will be on songwriting and studio recording.

Astral Dreamers won the *Unplugged Award*: a week of songwriting, arranging and unplugged performance in Skopje in October 2014, and a week of performing in Berlin. On this track, the focus will be on songwriting and arranging, especially for unplugged performances. This band will be paired with Schism;

The Suck of Psychotics won the  *Senior Band Award*: a tour of Berlin in October 2014 and a recording week in the Netherlands in the spring of 2015. On this track, the focus will be on performance and studio recording.

3 competing bands take their prizes on stage


The Ambassador Bandwagon rolls on, next stop Berlin Tour in October 6-13 for two Ambassador Bands The Artchitects and The Suck of Psychotic. We will be reporting live from the event and posting exclusive material so stick with us. 




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