Tamworth Bands - History 1960-1990

Tamworth Battle of the Bands : A History

SUPER WOLFSBANE turned in the performance of their rock and roll lives on Friday night to deservedly scoop the ‘Battle of the Bands’ title for the first time.
SUPER WOLFSBANE turned in the performance of their rock and roll lives to deservedly scoop the ‘Battle of the Bands’ title for the first time in 1987.

The Tamworth Battle of the Bands continues to this day, with 2009 winners At the Zoo winning out of 30 bands who competed, with the final showdown taking place at the Assembly Rooms.

But where did the Battle begin? Read on...

At the end of 1984, Sam Holliday had another brilliant idea to engender enthusiasm into the local music scene – a 'Battle of the Bands'. The idea for the contest had been around for a long time, following the repeated success of a similar venture in Burton. When the idea was put before Tamworth’s bands, the contest was greeted with universal enthusiasm.

And so the first-ever ‘Battle of the Bands’ competition in Tamworth took place in 1985. It’s aim was to find Tamworth’s top group and it received Council backing as part of the Young People’s Arts Festival event which was held in the town every two years.

Originally, each band was given a maximum of 25 minutes to impress the judges, who each gave points on content, presentation and, in true ‘New Faces’ style, star quality. The acts were marked out of 10 for content and five for the other two categories, enabling the five judges to award a maximum of 100 points between them. Judges for the event comprised fellow musicians, Herald reporters and local music enthusiasts.

As an added incentive, all the finalists were guaranteed a place in the Rock Festival.

The event ran for four highly successful years with Breaking Point, One On One and Wolfsbane winning the first three. In the final year, 1988, the event was changed slightly with just new and up and coming bands being able to enter with the aim of finding the ‘most promising band’, with the eventual winners being Scream Dream.

Here are the details of each years Final with links to full details of all qualifying heats and full Musicbox coverage.

The Battles

Breaking Point (Winners 1985)Saturday 23 February 1985
Battle of the Bands 1985 - Final
Full Details...

1. Breaking Point (Winners)
2. Scarab
3. One On One
4. BHX
4. Spirit of Water

Tamworth Arts Centre
Admission: 60p

Click here to go back to the top of the page.Judges: Liz Swift and Sam Holliday from Musicbox, Richard Whitehead, the former editor of Musicbox, Nick Ewbank and Jed Moore from Tamworth Arts Centre, Geoff Beales from Tamworth Borough Council and musicians Rikk Quay and Ian Gibbons.

Prizes: Named Tamworth’s Best Band, a Young People’s Arts Festival trophy and a guaranteed place in the August Bank Holiday Rock Festival.

Contestants were marked out of ten on: content, presentation and ‘star quality’.


One On One (Winners 1986)Friday February 28 1986
Battle of the Bands 1986 - Final
Full Details...


One On One (Winners)
Wolfsbane
Breaking Point
Burnin’ Sky
(Performance by: Jed Moore)

Tamworth Arts Centre
Admission: 75p

Click here to go back to the top of the page.Judges: Paul Speare, Phil Smith, local music buff, Martin Webster, Graham Phelps and The Dream Factory’s Mark Mortimer.

Prizes: Named Tamworth’s Best Band, a Young People’s Arts Festival trophy and £50 worth of recording time at the Expresso Bongo studios.


Wolfsbane (Winners 1987)Friday February 28 1987
Battle of the Bands 1987 - Final
Full Details...

Wolfsbane (Winners)
Catch 23
The Cheesy Helmets
Breaking Point

Tamworth Arts Centre
Admission: £1.00

Click here to go back to the top of the page.Judges: Stu Blane (One On One), Mark Mortimer (Great Express), John Reeman (XPD), Denis Byfield (Reverb PA) and Martin Webster.

Prizes: The winners will pick up a trophy donated by the Tamworth Young People’s Arts Festival and a £75 prize – they will also carry the title Tamworth Young People’s Arts Festival band of the year.


Scream Dream (Winners 1988)Friday March 4 1988
Battle of the Bands 1988 - Final
Full Details...

Scream Dream (Winners)
Kraze
The Conspiracy
New Age Gypsies

Tamworth Arts Centre

Click here to go back to the top of the page.Judges: Steve Webster and Nick Smith (Catch 23), Graham Walters (Shellshock), Pam Patten and Ian Gibbons (Rathole), John Reeman (DHSS), Ian Harwood (Rape in Yellow), Chris Edden (A5), Dave Caswell (Jabberwockie) and Alan Bayliss (The Parade).

Prizes: £75 prize and Young People’s Arts Festival awards for the eventual victors, cash and trophy prizes, but perhaps more importantly, the title of Tamworth’s Most Promising Band 1988 – Battle of the Bands Winners for the Tamworth Young People’s Arts Festival.


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