The Volunteer Diaries: Northern Finals 2019!

A couple of weeks ago we had the incredible Northern Finals! It was a super fun, exciting and hot week in Grimsby Auditorium with two J Rock™ finals, as well as our Northern Open and Premier finals! Ambassadors Will and Katie tell you what it was like…

We kicked off the week with our first J Rock™ Final on the Wednesday and the energy was bouncing from the very start of the day! Each of the schools were supportive and noisy, rehearsals went really well and the production meetings were so exciting and energetic! I was lucky enough to watch the show in the evening and I was blown away by the standard of the performances. There was loads of creativity on show, with exciting themes are some beautiful visual enhancements. Plus you could tell that everyone was having the absolute best time on stage! Every member of every school should be so proud of themselves from their spirit during the day to their performance in the evening! Our Northern J Rock™ Final A champions were Oldfleet Primary School with a great performance about a lonely clown in the circus who finds friends and a place to belong!


This was my first-time volunteering at a Rock Challenge® final.  Both the J Rock™ Final B on the Thursday and the Northern Open Final on the Friday were incredible, the atmosphere in the auditorium was absolutely electric throughout the whole day. From the first school rehearsing to the last school, the support from the students, teachers and staff was so lovely. The J Rock™ Final B saw 9 schools and the Open saw 11 schools from north delivering incredible, powerful performances. I had the opportunity to work with some amazing stages crews over both days, I also got the chance to see some of the schools performances from the auditorium.

On both days I was backstage helping stage crews to bring in and organise their set ready for their rehearsal. Rehearsals continued throughout the day and the level of talent and energy by both the dancers and crews were incredible. A lot of the crews were outside helping other schools load and unload their set or make final preparations for their performance. The support between the schools was very impressive with multiple schools standing by ready to help one another. See different crews helping each other out backstage is one of my favourite things, it really highlights the Spirt of Rock Challenge® for me.

Each of the schools on both nights delivered incredible performances and it was amazing to see it all from the wings. I want to say a big congratulations our winners from each night, Maryport CE Junior School and the Laurel Academy!! Volunteering at this year’s Northern Finals has been an amazing experience and I can’t wait for next year!


And then on the Saturday we reached the final Rock Challenge® event of 2019 and my personal favourite final – the Northern Premier! The standard at the Prem is always amazing but this year in particular it really felt like everyone had stepped up their game! Everyone’s performance was so impressive, it was really hard to call how the day was going to go. Another thing that made Saturday impressive was how everyone coped with it being an absolute scorcher outside! There was no escape from the heat but everyone managed to stay happy, hydrated and even get in a few rehearsals outside the auditorium!

We had 9 teams on the day, and as Premier teams they are old pro’s at coming to finals – the day was so exciting and everyone absolutely went for it whether it was rehearsals, production meetings, socialising with the other teams or the performance in the evening! You should have seen that air guitar competition – talk about full out!

Between the standard, the energy and the Spirit of Rock Challenge®, it’s no wonder that Northern Premier is my favourite and this year’s final was no exception. Huge congratulations to every team who performed, our placing schools and, of course, our third consecutive Northern Premier Champions West Lakes Academy!!

Can’t believe that the 2019 tour has come to an end, but what a year it was! Time to start brainstorming theme ideas and get going all over again – roll on the 2020 tour!!


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