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Battle of the Bands return highlights charity’s bid to revive Great Yarmouth live music scene

PUBLISHED: 15:24 22 March 2017 | UPDATED: 15:55 22 March 2017

Left to right: Ryan Martin of the Tower Complex, Ben Stone, chief executive of the Anchorage Trust, Sandy Aldred of the Towner Complex and James Sinclair, fundraising co-ordinator of the Anchorage Trust. Picture: David Hannant

Left to right: Ryan Martin of the Tower Complex, Ben Stone, chief executive of the Anchorage Trust, Sandy Aldred of the Towner Complex and James Sinclair, fundraising co-ordinator of the Anchorage Trust. Picture: David Hannant

Archant

A regular favourite of Great Yarmouth gig-goers is making a comeback, as a new partnership between a charity and a venue looks to revitalise the town’s music scene.

The former Atlantis Tower now renamed The Tower Complex on Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth.
Old hotel apartments at the rear of the tower.
April 2016.

Picture: James Bass

The former Atlantis Tower now renamed The Tower Complex on Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth. Old hotel apartments at the rear of the tower. April 2016. Picture: James Bass

The Anchorage Trust, which supports young people in the borough, has teamed up with the Tower Complex in an effort to put Great Yarmouth on the map for live music.

The charity has already put on its first event - the successful Manchester Revisited event, which had around 850 people in attendance - and is now reviving the town’s Battle of the Bands, which was popular in the early 2000s.

With around 200 bands already expressing an interest in taking part, the fortnightly event will see talented musicians compete to earn a slot supporting the UK Foo Fighters at the venue in September.

Ben Stone, chief executive of the Anchorage Trust, said: “The main thing we want to do is be great for the town and help make Yarmouth a place people can come and enjoy themselves. We want to help get it to a stage where we can attract big name bands to the town.”

Reporter Geraldine Scott, aged 14, before a night at Great Yarmouth's Battle of the Bands. Photo: Geraldine ScottReporter Geraldine Scott, aged 14, before a night at Great Yarmouth's Battle of the Bands. Photo: Geraldine Scott

James Sinclair, the trust’s fundraising co-ordinator, said: “The idea to resurrect Battle of the Bands indirectly came from the front man of the UK Foo Fighters. When we booked them, we suggested putting on a similar tribute as support, but they said they would rather play with a local band. This gave me the idea of bringing back the competition, so a local band could earn the slot.

“As a charity we are all about giving people exciting opportunities and there is a lot of talent in the area that will be showcased in these events.”

As well as Battle of the Bands, the charity is looking to attract sought-after bands to the town, following on from the success of Manchester Revisited.

Mr Stone added: “We’ve seen comments about acts only being tribute acts, but everything has to start somewhere, and we’ve already attracted some of the best tributes around. Who knows where we can take it from here though.”

Ryan Martin, manager of the Tower Arena, said: “Live music is a big priority for the venue going forward, which is what this partnership is all about. I think there is a massive void in this area, which we want to fill.”

Battle of the Bands relaunches on April 30, with a concert at the Tower Arena headlined by Nirvana UK, before the competition begins every other Wednesday from May 17,

Bands can register at the launch night, or online from May 1.

Reporter Geraldine Scott regularly attended Battle of the Bands events in her teenage years. These are her memories of the events:

Ten years ago, when I was 14, Thursday night meant our gang would pull on our drainpipe jeans and head to Yarmouth’s Battle of the Bands.

Wearing an outfit my mother would raise an eyebrow at we would head to what was Rosie’s on the seafront, and later to the Zen nightclub and then the Marina Centre when the gig moved venues.

But not before taking what are now cringe-worthy photographs and applying a pre-Instagram filter, before uploading them to MySpace.

The night was usually spent trying to catch the attention of boys in bands, in a harmless place young people could be themselves - for me it was never about the music but for others, they relished seeing raw musical talent.

The next day all talk would be about the night before, as if we’d been on a wild night out - despite the fact we’d only drink J2Os and be home by 11pm. As BOTB is set to return, it would be great to recapture the magic it had before.

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