Band on stage

Cambridge Band Competition

The UK's longest running band competiton!

Applications are now open

The Cambridge Band Competition 2020/21 opened for entries on 1st April with entries closing at midnight on 1st June.

Band Comp Entry Form

Cambridge Band Competition is about music in all its variety. Applications are welcomed from any performers of original music, from solo performers to full bands. All genres are acceptable, so long as material is original music. Soloists, comedy musicians, and classical musicians are also encouraged to apply – it’s not just about full bands, the competition is for every musician in Cambridgeshire or within 30 miles of the city of Cambridge.

The Heats will be held in the Portland Arms on the Saturdays in August with the Final at the Junction on Thursday 24th October. The Band Competition is actually two competitions, the Over 18’s and the Under 18’s. Both competitions will run in tandem with each other, with the heats for the Under 18’s on the Saturday afternoons and the heats for the Over 18’s on the Saturday nights. The final of the Under 18’s Competition will be at The Portland Arms on the last Saturday in August.

The winner of the Under 18’s Competition will also be a competitor at the Junction alongside the heat winners of the Over 18’s Competition.


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 1990's then moved to the Junction, where the finals have been held ever since.


  • 2019 - Grassroof
  • 2018 - Influx of Insanity
  • 2017 - Flint Moore
  • 2016 - Permission to Dance
  • 2015 - Swamptruck
  • 2014 - 4th Labyrinth
  • 2013 - The Simpletone
  • 2012 - Grace Sarah
  • 2011 - Supercasino
  • 2010 - Th' Parish
  • 2009 - Ed Hope and Friends
  • 2008 - The Winter Kings
  • 2007 - The Hot Bang
  • 2006 - The Alex Harris Band
  • 2005 - Lounge
  • 2004 - AR (AnAchoic Reflection)
  • 2003 - Houston 500
  • 2002 - Bag One
  • 2001 - Alice Band
  • 2000 - Calling Orson
  • 1999 - Simplicity
  • 1998 - Fabulous Kitchenware
  • 1997 - FUR
  • 1996 - Summerhouse
  • 1995 - Beach Blanket Bingo
  • 1994 - Summerhouse
  • 1993 - Ezio
  • 1992 - Tribe of Dan
  • 1991 - The View from Without
  • 1990 - The Big Blue
  • 1989 - Cherry Orchard
  • 1988 - Nutmeg
  • 1987 - Spirit Walk
  • 1986 - Double Yellow Line
  • 1985 - The Detective