When I went to Newcastle University back in the day, the bands who advanced through the local heats of the National Campus Band Competition needed one of the following key attributes:

a) horns

b) cargo shorts, preferably with wallet-chains attached

This internal filtering system is perhaps why bands from our university never went well in the national competition, while bands such as Jebediah, The Vines, Eskimo Joe, Augie March, Cloud Control, and Vasco Era went on to craft entire musical careers off the back of this early boost. Remember ‘Sweater’, Eskimo Joe’s early hit, which they started to disown around the time they stopped smiling in photos? That was recorded as part of the prize package they scored for winning National Campus Band Competition.

Well, that model served us well for 26 years, but last year Hub Artist Services and the Tertiary Access Group renamed it Unisounds, and infused new life into it, bolstering the winner’s prize pack to be worth over $100,000, with a record deal with Dine Alone Records (who are a fantastic label, but still, be careful what you enter into), recording sessions and studio time with ARIA producers, songwriting sessions with writers from The Kennel, a PR package, guitars, backline, clothing and “loads of other career-starting swag”.

The deadlines have been extended until August 11, to allow mid-year intake students to quickly bond with others, form a band, kick out the guitarist ‘cos he keeps shredding over your chillwave songs, practice loads, then get a set together.

The finals will take place at Oxford Art Factory, which is an actual gig at an actual venue, so start practicing, and get entering.