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Band Factory

Band Factory returned for its first instalment of 2023 in the second week of the Easter holidays, between April 10th-15th. This year saw an increase in numbers and was the most popular Band Factory since Lockdown.

Band Factory is a project for young musicians (aged 12-18) to come to Geilsland Estate and form bands for an intensive five-day rehearsal period. During this time they will collate, practice and rehearse a short setlist which they will perform at a showcase gig at the end of the week. 

Each band is assigned a tutor that works with them throughout the week – allowing them to solely focus on the music and hone their skills as performers and musicians; all the while having fun, making new friends and gaining confidence along the way.

Band Factory April 2023 blog collage

Monday morning, day one – the sun was shining and we were ready to go again! 16 excited young musicians showed up to Geilsland Estate and gathered together. The attendees met and the tutors split them into three bands – each equipped with a full backline and PA to begin work on what would be a very busy week. Whilst the young people got acquainted with their new bandmates, they were encouraged to chat about their musical interests and find common ground between them to come up with a variety of songs to work on.

Without haste, the bands started rehearsals and by the end of the first day each group had a song under their belt – from classic Oasis and Red Hot Chili Peppers tracks to a more modern choice in Declan Mckenna’s ‘Brazil’.  This year we saw some of the more experienced Band Factory ‘veterans’ support the younger, first time attendees. It was great to see them help the others settle in and get comfortable with their surroundings.

It was clear from the get-go that there would not need to be any encouragement to get the bands socialising! All participants had lunch together in a communal space and it was great to see not only the individual bands chatting, but all musicians mingling, and comparing their creative endeavours.

Monday and Tuesday were largely spent practising their first few songs and figuring out how to gel as a band. Finding the right balance and dynamic between band members can often prove tricky but before long each group was beginning to create their own unique sound and establish the best way to work together.


By Wednesday each band had around two or three songs that they had settled on. It was around this time that talk of setlists began to form, and buzz started to grow for the gig at the weekend. 

Each group had their own method of coming up with suggestions, trying out things and experimenting with what worked and what didn’t. Whilst the tutors were there to guide the bands, ultimately it was up to them to make a final decision on what they wanted to perform. It was interesting to see how each band worked differently and luckily there weren’t (too many) disagreements on song choices!

The week flew by and before we knew it, Thursday had arrived. There was little time to finalise the setlists, decide on band names and prepare for Friday afternoon’s soundcheck and rehearsal!

On Friday afternoon the bands all had a chance to rehearse in the gig venue, The Chapel at Geilsland Estate. This enabled the bands to get comfortable in the space and to perform in front of their peers for the first time. For some, this was the first time they had performed in front of an audience and nerves and excitement were running high. The bands played through their sets and the students were all incredibly supportive of each other. This helped settle everyone’s nerves and boost their confidence

After this, there was only one thing left to do- the gig!

Saturday afternoon came and it was showtime. The Chapel was ready for its first live music of the year and excitement was growing amongst the group. All three bands were raring to go and the anticipation was palpable. Some members even found it necessary to run laps of the estate to calm their nerves!

The doors opened at 2pm and the venue quickly filled up. In front of over 80 audience members the bands took to the stage and performed what they had been working so hard on. The bands entertained the crowd with hits by The Clash, The Ramones, Keane & Nirvana to name a few. One band even performed a couple of original songs which were fantastic. 

Each group played from the heart and performed incredibly well. It was clear to see that the audience members were exceptionally proud of the young musicians’ progress, confidence and hard work.

It was fantastic to see just how much the attendees had grown throughout the week. The participants all appeared to be self-assured, relaxed and professional as they played – and the chemistry between the band members was apparent. 

As the bands went off stage they were congratulated by their tutors and peers. Performing in front of so many people can be incredibly daunting, but the young people captivated the crowd with their enthusiasm and rock-and-roll attitude!

Each band did exceptionally well and put their heart and soul into their performance! They all have incredibly bright futures ahead of them which will no doubt lead them to many more successes and future opportunities. We are already so excited to see them again in the October instalment of Band Factory and can’t wait to see what the next chapter brings!


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