Surround Sound

Region: Rural North Rural South and West | Rural and remote schools
Years 7 to 12
Local arts program Public schools Music

Surround Sound is a band competition for students from secondary schools in rural and remote areas.

Bands must have between 3 and 16 members and may perform covers or originals in any style of contemporary music.

All performers must be students currently enrolled at a NSW public school in Years 7 to 12. No teachers or tutors can perform as part of the band.

Round 1 will be held by video submission. 

Round 2 will see schools chosen as finalists visited by an industry mentor for a workshop at a time to be negotiated.

Round 3 finalists will prepare a 15-minute set for a performance at a live event in Sydney in Term 4. Song choice will be subject to copyright advice. Bands will be supported to travel to Sydney and accommodated for their performance at the final.

2023 dates

Applications for Surround Sound 2023 are now closed.

Expressions of interest for schools that wish to participate are always open. Complete your Surround Sound expression of interest form as soon as possible to receive updates directly.

Logos for the companies Ashton, Rode, Travellers Home and Devirra Music

To receive further information on opportunities to support Surround Sound, please contact Sandra Copeman on 0408 696 571 or by email

How to apply

  • Complete your Surround Sound expression of interest form as soon as possible.
  • Schools only need to complete this form once. Audition videos from multiple bands can be submitted from each school once this form has been completed.
  • Prepare your video submission.
  • Upload your video to an online platform, such as YouTube, Vimeo or Google docs link.
  • Ensure the settings on your URL are set to allow the panel to view it.
  • Have each student complete and return a Surround Sound 2023 permission to publish form.
  • Complete your Surround Sound 2023 application form with the following information:
    • Name of band/ensemble
    • Name of audition piece (please also indicate if it is a cover or an original song).

Round 1 – Video submission

Round 1 is judged on video submission.

  • Bands are required to submit one song of up to 5 minutes.
  • The song can be a cover or an original.
  • The video should be filmed as one continuous live take from a single static camera with no camera movement (including zoom, pan or tilt) with live audio from the room taken into the camera.
  • A video taken with a smartphone or tablet, using the sound from the internal microphone of that device will be sufficient.
  • Quality of video and audio recording will not be considered as part of the judging criteria.
  • Video filmed at a school or community event may be used as the round 1 submission if it meets the above requirements.

Judging criteria

In Round 1, bands will be judged on:

  • ensemble skills
  • technical proficiency
  • musicality
  • performance skills.

Finalists will be judged on the same criteria as above, as well as their ability to engage an audience.


Simon Kermode
Arts Coordination Officer
Coffs Harbour
0448 529 847