Young bands tune up for bid to take centre stage at Leeds Festival

The Mexanines playing at the Centre Stage final of 2011.
The Mexanines playing at the Centre Stage final of 2011.
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Aspiring rock stars are preparing to step into the spotlight with the aim of winning a dream place on the bill at this summer’s Leeds Festival.

More than 20 young acts will be taking part in the heats of the annual Centre Stage competition at the Belgrave Music Hall on April 28, 29 and 30.

They will be battling it out for a slot in the competition’s final, which will be held at the O2 Academy Leeds in July.

The winners on that night will get the chance to play at Leeds as well as the festival’s sister event in Reading.

And the good news for budding local musicians is that there are still places available in the heats of a competition that is supported by top bands such as Embrace, The Pigeon Detectives and The Cribs.

Mike Heaton, from Embrace, said: “We have an exciting array of contenders so far, both soloists and bands.

“We can still accommodate a couple more acts, so I’d urge young acts to really seize this opportunity.

“It has been so satisfying to recently see past winners and finalists signing record deals and gigging around the country.”

Taking place for the sixth year, Centre Stage has to date raised £180,000 for Martin House Children’s Hospice, near Wetherby.

The competition is open to artists aged between 11 and 21 and from West Yorkshire or North Yorkshire.

For details on how to claim one of the remaining places in the Blacks Solicitors-backed event, ring Sarah Smith on 01937 844569 or e-mail ssmith@martinhouse.org.uk.

The overall winners will also have a music video produced for them by local filmmakers Sodium.

Acts through to the heats include Atlanta House, Mesmer, Lone Guns, The Velveteens, Mallrats, Rafiki, Sugar Fury and Blyss.

Previous winners The Mexanines, Polo and King No-One will also be performing.

Doors open for the heats at 6.15pm each evening, with a 7pm showtime.

Admission costs £4 and can be paid on the door.

The Leeds Festival will take place over the August Bank Holiday weekend at Bramham Park, near Wetherby.

Top acts on the annual music extravaganza’s bill include The Libertines, Metallica, Mumford & Sons and Bring Me The Horizon.

The world-renowned festival’s sister event in Reading will be held over the same weekend.