HAMPSHIRE County Council’s award-winning music service is looking for the best young rock bands in the county.

The Hampshire Music Service Battle of the Bands 2014 contest offers bands the chance to play at a major venue in front of a live audience and a panel of professionals.

Bands that are shortlisted will go through to the second round of the competition which involves playing at a live heat in the spring of 2014.

The winners of each live heat will then go through to the grand final in the summer to play at a venue in front of a panel of professional musicians who will judge the overall best band.

Councillor Peter Edgar, Hampshire County Council’s executive member for education, said: “This is a great opportunity for a young band to take advantage of professional advice and play at a major venue in front of a live audience.

“I urge bands to send their songs to the Music Service as soon as possible – we want to hear you! Who knows, it could be the first steps on the road to a budding music career.”

The closing date for entries to this exciting competition is tomorrow, and it is open to young people who will be aged under 17 on July 31, 2014.

To enter, email an MP3 file of one song, either a cover song or original material, to or send a CD to Hampshire Music Service, Rookwood Centre, Penshurst Way, Eastleigh, SO50 4RJ.

Entrants need to include the name of their band, individual band members’ names, which instrument they play, details of their school, college or youth centre and contact details.

Studio quality recording is not necessary – raw talent is enough.

The Battle of the Bands has taken place since 2011. Competitions run all over the country but this is not part of a national scheme.

Previous participants have gone on to appear at festivals, concerts and venues, including the Music For Youth Series, which can result in ensembles playing at the Royal Albert Hall.