Local teenagers and young adults looking to kickstart their music career are receiving the help of a band of passionate youth workers who have set up a music competition aimed at giving budding stars a chance to showcase their talent and perform in a professional and supportive environment.
The Lift Off annual music competition offers young singers, songwriters and bands aged 12 to 25-years-old in the ACT the opportunity to gain performance experience, while also having the chance to win a prize that will set them up to take the next step in their careers.
The event, which is now in its 10th year, is organised by a youth engagement team at the Woden Community Centre, led by Jeremy Leala. Mr Leala believes there aren’t many live music venues that cater to young people, starving them of valuable experience. That is where Lift Off steps in.
Ten years ago, the competition was heavily funded by the ACT Government and over the years funding and grants were slowly been cut and put towards other community organisations. The Woden Community Centre has been reaching out for sponsorships, and have kept the competition running with the help of the community.
“The community has been really supportive towards this event and that has taught me to have faith and to keep pushing to help these young people,” Mr Laela said.
“Growing up I didn’t have much opportunity to perform or be able to speak in public and to do what I love doing. Setting up Lift Off has shown me we can provide opportunities for young people and it doesn’t have to be grant or money based. There are opportunities and we just need to make it happen.”
Lift Off is a stepping stone for a lot of young performers on their way to stardom, with local performers like Lucy Sugerman taking their first steps on the Lift Off stage and going on to impress judges on TV talent shows like The Voice.
“Seeing them going on to perform at big stages like The Voice and Australian Idol is a massive drive for me. Witnessing them taking the big stages on and became great singers in Australia is what I love to see,” he said with a smile.
Registrations for the ACT’s premier youth music competition closed on 11 October, with 22 acts registered to compete at the heats before the winners head to the grand finale next month. The Grand Final is a free event that is open to the public and will have a festival vibe, with loads of stalls as well as free food and drinks and special guest performances.
Heats 1: Friday, 19 October 2018, 5 pm to 10 pm at Woden Youth Centre
Heats 2: Friday, 26 October 2018, 5 pm to 10 pm at Woden Youth Centre
Grand Finale: Friday, 9 November 2018, 2 pm to 7 pm at Woden Town Square