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Are you a budding musician? A singer-songwriter? A band? A school choir?

Are you under the age of 22 and live within a 15 mile radius of Colchester? If so, this competition is for you!


What are we looking for? We are looking for you to make people think about air quality in Colchester differently. Your creation could make people think about what is in the air they breathe, why clean air is important, why not using your car when possible is better for everyone in Colchester, or what Colchester could be like in the future!


We would love you to compose a piece inspired by air pollution to perform at Firstsite on the evening of Thursday 21st June 2018 - Clean Air Day. 


A fun event, open to the public and free to enter. Your piece will be judged on the night by three dedicated local musicians.

You could win yourself a voucher to spend on bikes from the charitable company 

Re-Cycle which has a whole variety of great second-hand bikes for sale and also provides bicycles as means of sustainable transport to poorer African communities.


FIRST PRIZE: Vouchers worth £300

SECOND PRIZE: Vouchers worth £200

THIRD PRIZE: Vouchers worth £100

Here is some useful information from two websites about air pollution /quality, but you can obviously do your own research:

Your recording


  • Upload your recordings (they can, but do not have to be videos) to Soundcloud or Youtube and send us the links.

  • We don’t need the best sound quality, a good smart phone recording will do.

  • We need recordings for up to two tunes (up to 10 min) whereby one has to be an own composition around the theme of air quality / pollution.

  • Closing date for sending in your recording will be 10th June 2018.

  • There will be a selection process for a short-list in case we receive too many recordings but we anticipate that most applicants will be able to play at the event.

  • You will be informed a week before the event about whether you have been selected to perform and the time slot you have been allocated for your performance.

  • You will also be informed in advance about the length of your timeslot which will determine how many tunes you will be able to play. This will depend on the amount of selected applicants but you will get at least 10 minutes which should allow for at least two tunes. 

On the evening


  • The venue is Cafeteria at the back of Firstsite art gallery and cultural centre in Colchester,  Lewis Gardens, High Street, Colchester CO1 1JH.

  • Performances will take place between 6 - 8:45pm on Cleanair day 21st June and will be followed by the announcement of the winners of the competition.

  • The set-up includes a sound system, drums, amps (one for a keyboard, two for guitars, one for a bass) and three microphones which will all be available onsite; just bring your instrument and plug your lead in.



Judging/ selection process


Judges for the selection process and music competition will be:

  • Charly Richardson, Music Service Lead Officer, Essex County Council

  • Peter Banks, keyboard player and songwriter in the rock band ‘After the Fire’

  • Elmer van der Hoek, drummer and organiser of Colchester Jazz Jam sessions at The Bull

We will mark the music with a point scoring system of 0 – 5 (0=very poor, 5=outstanding) using the following criteria:

  • Lyrics including relevance of the content in relation to Cleanair day, eg the issue of pollution affecting our daily lives and future

  • Harmony / melody

  • Quality of the music eg arrangements, how it is played  (not the quality of the recordings you send us)

  • Originality

  • General performance / entertainment


General information


You can use the same contact should you have any queries regarding the event.

  • You will obviously maintain the copyright on your songs and videos which we will not share without your agreement.

  • The competition is open to anybody under the age of 22

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