Two Coffs Coast school bands make semi-finals of Schools Spectacular Surround Sound music competition

Blind Pretty, a band consisting of students from Coffs Harbour Senior College: Della Baldwin, Jesse Falzon, Ned Ambrose and Beau Hussell (seated).

TWO Coffs Coast bands have won through to the semi-finals of Schools Spectacular Surround Sound music competition.

Blind Pretty representing Coffs Harbour Senior College and The Jam Jar representing Woolgoolga High School will compete amongst eight NSW bands at Schools Spectacular.

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Created by the Department of Education Arts Unit, Surround Sound is a state-wide band competition for NSW secondary students from rural and remote areas.

Arts Coordination Officer Simon Kermode said choosing just eight bands was always a difficult task for judges.

“Every year the standard of entries is very impressive and shines a spotlight on how much talent exists outside of major cities,” Simon said.

“Surround Sound is designed to support the fantastic work being done in our rural and remote schools and provides an opportunity to perform outside of what they may have access to as well as getting to work with like-minded peers from across the state.”

News Of The Area caught up with the two local bands who, despite being in HSC mode, found time to share where they’re at.

“We as a band saw Surround Sound as a perfect opportunity for us to stretch our legs and get outside of our home town of Coffs Harbour in terms of gigs,” Blind Pretty band member Jesse Falzon told News Of The Area.

“We are super happy to have been accepted and very keen to put on a fun show.”

”We played our debut single ‘Getting Better’ out on the Jetty at Coffs one night and filmed it.

“We then submitted that as our entry into Surround Sound.”

The video can be found on their Instagram @blind_pretty.

“We have been trying to change up our setlist and really start to focus on making our live performances the best they can be at this current moment, and see Surround Sound as the perfect decline in order to get a super tight set,” said Jesse.

Aidan Freeman from The Jam Jar told NOTA, “The Surround Sound competition to us as a band means we can get out there and show people who we are and what we do.

“It’s an opportunity for us to experience the music scene outside of our local area.

“We continue to write some new tunes to play, and we’re excited to show them off to everyone.

“Consistent rehearsals are keeping us busy, practicing stacks to really refine our sound so we can play our best,” he said.

The process of the competition is for schools to nominate bands by submitting a video.

A panel of experienced music teachers and industry professionals then create a shortlist of eight semi-finalists to perform at SpecFest, the forecourt entertainment precinct of Schools Spectacular, held at Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney Olympic Park, in November.

To help them prepare for SpecFest and the Surround Sound finals, each band will receive a school-based workshop from industry professionals.

Surround Sound is proudly supported by prize partners RØDE and Travellers Home.

Schools Spectacular, the world’s largest amateur variety show and one of NSW public education’s flagship arts events, will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2023.


The Jam Jar, representing Woolgoolga High School.

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