Cambridge Band Competition

The Cambridge Band Competition 2019


It's time for musicians from Cambridge and the surrounding area to enter the Cambridge Band Competition 2019. The competition is open to any solo artist, duo, or full band of any musical genre to enter as long as they are mostly based in Cambridgeshire or a location not more that 30 miles from Cambridge.

We will contact those acts selected for the heats by February 10th. 

Heats will take place in the Portland Arms every Saturday in March. 

The Winners from the Heats will go through to the final at the Junction on Friday 26th April 2019

Good Luck!


For the Hornets - Who won 4 packs of Brewboard Craft ales as they got the loudest Audience cheer over all the heats

The prize for Best Acoustic Act (sponsored by The Plough in Shepreth and Strawberry Fair) was won by Singer-Songwriter Max Bianco

The Coveted Kimberley Rew Songwriters Award of £400 plus trophy went to the writers of "Pure Controlling" as performed by Under 18s finalists Kill Liz who also won The Cambridge 105 Radio "Ones to Watch" prize of £100.

Influx of Insanity - Won the Under 18s Competition and also won Best Rock Act and Also won the  coveted Cambridge Band Competition Winners Trophy plus a cash prize of £400 (Care of Brewboard and Cambridge 105 Radio) and spots at Strawberry Fair and Cambridge Live's "Big Weekend"

The Finals night were covered live on Cambridge 105 Radio and Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner presented the Winners their awards

All of the acts that get through to the final or won awards will be performing at Strawberry Fair and you can find them on the following stages: -

Alter the Sky                 - Scarecrow Corner

For the Hornets           - Rebel Arts Stage

Gabby Rivers                - Portland Ballroom

Hungry                             - Love Music Hate Racism Stage

Influx of Insanity         - Hatters Café Stage

Kill Liz                               - Cambridge 105 Radio Stage

Lemondaze                   - Super Shady Nasty’s Extravaganza

Lunar Echoes                - Cambridge 105 Radio Stage

Max Bianco                   - Flying Pig Stage

Oscar Corney               - Portland Ballroom

A Panel of 15 Judges from the Music Industry were at the final to determine the winners

The judges rated each act according to the following criteria

• Technical ability – how well they play their instruments or sing

• Innovation & originality – song writing skills – are they doing something new and exciting within their genre or are they too much of a sound-a-like?

• Stage Presence – How do they command the stage - do they captivate the audience or do they look like they’d rather be in the crowd?

• The Strawberry Factor – have they got that undefined something that will help them to make a sustainable career out of music and would they go down well at Strawberry Fair?

If you have any questions please email


First launched in 1985 at Cambridge's Guildhall, the competition picked up immediate national attention thanks to Trevor Dann and The Old Grey Whistle Test. Infamously, Colonel Gomez caused a national controversy with their performance on that show, controversy that even led to questions being asked in Parliament about the incident! More was to come though, with the 'debatable' decision to award the first prize to The Detective - a decision that caused consternation amongst some as, although they made the tapes themselves, The Detective performed on stage to a backing track!

In the last 30 years the Cambridge Band Competition has produced some great winners, and stars who have gone on to do bigger things!

Ezio were named as Tony Blair's favourite band and has established an international following, Ben Miller of Armstrong & Miller came third in 1990 with a trio called The Dear Johns, and one of the most memorable winners - thanks to pure energy and great music - were Tom Dalpra and Nutmeg.

Members of other bands have gone on to work with some top names in the industry, and all have fond recollections of being involved in the event.

Previously held at the Guildhall, and then the Corn Exchange (sold out heats and finals), the competition in the 1990s then moved to the Junction - where last year's finals were held.