Creative Times - 09 January 2016
Full piece written by one of the judges of our Battle of the bands
"Last week I had the privilege of being a judge at the Oakfields College Battle of the Bands. Competitions like these are a dime a dozen in Gauteng but it’s always entertaining and very informative as to the level of talent we have in this country. So there I went…Boksburg was waiting in all its muscle and mullet glory.
It was my first time at Gig Tyd and I have to say, it’s an impressive venue. But, I’m not writing a gig review and I’m not even going to go into the bands that played that night – this is a shameless Oakfields College punt. And, after reading this you’ll understand why I think they deserve this write up.
Education is key…blah, blah and blah. We all know that. It’s one thing hitting the books but getting your hands dirty with some sweaty experience is another ball game. That’s what made this Battle of the Bands stand out from others.
Firstly, six PR students organised this event – we’re talking booking the venue, getting the bands, finding the judges, advertising and even raising funds to pay people, and I’m sure the list goes on.
It was a Wednesday evening and the place was packed! I might even have felt a little jealous at the turn-out because I’ve been to gigs in Joburg on Wednesdays and if five people showed up – it was a party – all be it a boring one. Now, I’m not sure if people in Boksburg just like to go out on school nights and that’s why the place was buzzing or if it was the awesome job done by the PR students…
I’m going to go with the PR students. They really advertised this event brilliantly and they can be proud of what they’ve accomplished. I’d hire them. Yes, I might have a soft spot for them because they treated me like a celebrity and carried the judges on their hands the whole evening but isn’t that part of their job? A job well done. Secondly, the sound. It’s difficult to get a good sound engineer – a qualified sound engineer that is, and not just someone who plays/ed in a band and now somehow thinks he’s just the guy to do sound. Nuh uh. I don’t have enough fingers to count the gigs with bad sound I’ve been to in the last few months. The distortion, the feedback, the noise…
Enter 11 second year sound students who my ears want to thank. It was easy to judge the bands because the sound was done so well. There were little to no hiccups while the bands were playing and those that did happened were the band’s fault (cupping the mic or pointing the mic to the monitors, etc). The sound at the Oakfields College Battle of the Bands were part of the students’ yearly marked practical and I think they all passed with flying colours.
The East Rand campus has been organising this event for the past three years and the Pretoria campus has done it for seven years now. It’s great! Not only does it give PR students and sound students the opportunity to get a real life feel for what they’re studying, it also gives bands the chance to get on stage and get some feedback. Judging was challenging. You don’t want to discourage a band with talent but you also don’t want to encourage a band with none. I’m glad to say that out of the five bands, only one left me shaking my head in a please-stop kind of way. The rest have potential to make it and that is exciting.
Bands that played were, in no particular order:
The Ooh’s and The Aah’s
The South Shore Ramblers
And Sondagskoolhelde ended the evening as the guest band.
First place prizes:
Drum microphone set sponsored by Pro Audio.
R1000 Music Mate voucher sponsored by Music Mate.
Recording sponsored by Oakfields College.
R600 cash prize. Money were raised by PR students.
Second place prizes:
Drum microphone set sponsored by Pro Audio.
R500 Music Mate voucher sponsored by Music Mate.
R400 cash prize. Money were raised by PR students.
The only thing I want to ask the PR students, next time, after the event, please update the event page with the winners! And also list the prizes and sponsors. It’s just that little bit extra that will round off this experience nicely.
Bottom line, Oakfields College clearly offers top-class education and they do it in a way that is exciting and practical. If you’re looking for a place to study – go there! The students not only look happy, they clearly enjoy the opportunities the college gives them."
By Sophia Engelbrecht