Semifinalists announced for SURROUND SOUND for 2023

NSW Department of Education

It’s a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll, and that is doubly true for high school musicians from country areas.

It is one of the reasons why the Department of Education Arts Unit created Surround Sound, a state-wide band competition for NSW secondary students from rural and remote areas.

The 2023 semi-finalists have been announced, and Arts Coordination Officer Simon Kermode said choosing just eight 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,” Mr Kermode 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.”

Schools nominate bands by submitting a video, which can be as simple as uploading a single camera recording from a mobile phone.

A panel of experienced music teachers and industry professionals then create a shortlist of eight semifinalists to perform at SpecFest, the forecourt entertainment precinct of Schools Spectacular in November.

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

“The Arts Unit really wants to foster the students’ performance skills before they hit the stage at Sydney Olympic Park,” Mr Kermode said.

“We even help with travel and accommodation costs, as well as some final preparation and polishing before their big moment.”

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.

SpecFest offers the Schools Spectacular audience the chance to soak up a spectacular atmosphere on the forecourt of Qudos Bank Arena before the show begins.


Blind Pretty – Coffs Harbour Senior College

Unrequited – Karabar High School

KHS Funk Explosion – Kooringal High School

Joint Custody – Moruya High School

Valleydom – Muswellbrook High School

Scream Street – Willyama High School

South of the Manic Sea – South Grafton High School

Jam Jar – Woolgoolga High School

/Public Release.