One step away from Leeds Festival

Harrogate band Outside South. PIC: Shot by Sodium.

Harrogate band Outside South. PIC: Shot by Sodium.

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A host of young musicians are preparing to go head to head for the chance to perform at Leeds Festival.

After a series of heats at The Belgrave Music Hall in Leeds a panel of judges has now named the 10 finalists who will compete at the O2 Academy in Leeds in the final of Centre Stage, Martin House Children’s Hospice’s prestigious annual music competition.

Each set of performers is hoping to join the star-studded line-up for Reading and Leeds Festival, which includes Metallica, Royal Blood and Lethal Bizzle.

But the contest is about more than simply wowing the crowds at Bramham Park this summer. Each of the 10 finalists must raise at least £1,000 before the curtain goes up on the last stage of the contest on July 22.

Prizes will also be awarded to the “best fundraisers”, “best promotion and publicity” and “best door tally”.

Centre Stage organiser Sarah Smith said: “Every year the competition grows and grows and the level of talent that is coming through is fantastic.

“Overall this competition is about young people helping young people and that is just fantastic to see.”

Now in its sixth year, Centre Stage has raised almost £180,000 for the Boston Spa hospice, as well as providing a platform for more than 170 young Yorkshire acts.

And this year, in a first for the contest, there was a heat featuring bands from just one school – Prince Henry’s Grammar School in Otley – as judges were so impressed.

And two of them – Blyss and Porl Whos – have gone on to reach the final.

The contest is supported by Embrace, The Pigeon Detectives, The Cribs, Pulled Apart by Horses and Festival Republic. And Carnabells, finalists in 2012, played at last summer’s Glastonbury Festival.

Tickets for the final are available at www.o2academyleeds.co.uk and you can also pay on the door. Martin House needs to raise over £4.6m this year.

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