The final of the 11th annual Act-Belong-Commit Fairbridge Festival Quest Songwriting Competition was held on Sunday night in the Edith Spiegeltent at ECU/WAAPA in Mount Lawley – evidence that songwriting and live performance skills are alive and kicking amongst WA’s up-and-coming young musicians.
Surrounded by velvet curtains, wooden pews, stained-glass windows and a crowd of over 200 people, head judge and singer/songwriter Rose Parker said it was inspiring to see the developing musicianship from the 12 young finalists and hear their thoughts and stories in their submitted original songs.
“All the finalists are to be highly commended for their quirky, funny, uplifting, deeply felt and authentic stories of hope, loss, home, love – even Greek mythology and flat white coffees got a mention,” she said.
While it was a tough decision for the judges, there could only be four winners:
In the 16-18 years category
Song Performance: Charlie Youngson for ‘Take Me Home,’ (Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School) Bridgetown, 17
Song Craft: Ruby Taylor for ‘Don't Wanna Take Our Pictures Down,’ (ECU) Kingsley, 18
In the Under-15 years category
Song Performance: Sofia Rippingale for ‘See You Again’, (Sacred Heart College) Perth, 14
Song Craft: Imogen Whyte for ‘Grey Day’ (St Hilda's Anglican School For Girls) Swanbourne, 11
In an exciting and unexpected turn of events, Imogen Whyte was a wild card in the competition, performing her winning song with just one hour’s notice, after Alexander Coffey had to unfortunately withdraw last minute.
These four young songwriters join renowned Quest alumni such as Jack Davies, Siobhan Cotchin, Carla Geneve, and Lachy John, as well as winning prize packs that included a recording session, mentoring and networking opportunities, professional photoshoot, ticket to WAMCon, and free entry in WAM’s Song of the Year competition.
On top of this, each of the four winners will get the chance to perform at Fairbridge Festival 2023, WA’s premier annual folk festival.
Act Belong Commit Fairbridge Festival Quest Manager Kate Pass congratulated all of the finalists, and encouraged aspiring songwriters to keep writing, singing and playing.
“It’s really exciting to see such emotive writing and strong musicianship amongst the next generation of WA songwriters,” she said. “The Quest provides an amazing opportunity for young songwriters to develop their craft, meet and network with other musicians, and potentially win some career-changing prizes. I look forward to seeing what these young musicians do next, and I’m excited for Quest 2023!”
The final was judged by singer/songwriter Rose Parker, Vinnie Crea - Coordinator of the Music Artist Program at WAAPA, and Sarah Treloar - Programmer of the youth Backlot Stage at Fairbridge Festival.