A PIONEERING grassroots music venue has announced a thrilling opportunity for bands and artists to record their own original material written during lockdown.

The Forum Music Studios, based in Darlington, is looking for performers to join a 12-week programme that will offer artists professional industry-level support to develop and perfect their music.

The project, which has been named Releasing from Lockdown and is supported by Arts Council England, will help up to 24 bands and solo performers take a step closer to their dreams of stardom.

Allison McKay, managing director of The Forum, said: “We want to partner with talented, up-and-coming and experienced artists who are passionate about their craft, and have used their time in lockdown to come up with exciting, original music.

“Our experienced industry professionals will work closely with those chosen to develop the music they’ve created during lockdown. Every band and performer will also get time in our fully-equipped studio with a professional sound engineer to record their tracks.

“By the end of the project, we will get our artists to the stage – which we’ve recently upgraded with latest cutting-edge lighting and audio technology – where they can release their tracks online and on Spotify, and where they’re in a position to sell themselves to gig promoters and record labels.

“During the 12-weeks, they will also have the chance to perform their material live at a special gig which will be live-streamed to The Forum’s nearly 10,000 social media followers, and feature on a commemorative album with artwork by a local artist commissioned by Creative Darlington.”

Applications for Releasing from Lockdown must be submitted by noon on Friday, October 2. Performers are asked to submit a rough version of their song along with their names and a short explanation of why they should be chosen for the project.

Entries can be sent at www.theforumonline.co.uk/releasing-from-lockdown

The Forum’s studio manager Chris Davison, pictured below, who will help mentor the project’s artists, said: “It’s always great to see someone develop an idea from just a spark of a riff or a lyric, and take it all the way through to a full production.

“After so long in lockdown, we’re very excited to see what new material is kicking about.”