AFTER taking out the National Campus Band Competition in front of a crowd of 4000 at Seaworld on Sunday, local band Downstairs Mix-Up couldn't even cash their $5000 prize cheque for a feed at Maccas.
Intent on having a big night, the hungry eight-piece from Southern Cross University's contemporary music program finally scratched up enough change to eat before returning to party long into the night.
On top of the $5000 spending money, the band has been booked for a number of live gigs and has received $2000 worth of recording time at Sony, which they plan to put towards their debut EP due out before Christmas.
Vocalist and guitarist Harry Nichols described it as a once-in-a-lifetime experience and great recognition for the university.
“It was a great industry experience. We were chauffeured to the Gold Coast and put up in a fancy hotel,” he said.
“All band members are students or graduates of SCU in Lismore, and we really feel we're in the centre of a creative hub for original music here. It's a great local scene.”
There were 350 bands entered in the competition this year with one from each State chosen to contest the national finals at Seaworld.
It has become the biggest band competition in the Southern Hemisphere and has helped launch the careers of bands such as Eskimo Joe, The Vasco Era and Jebediah.
Judging by reviews, Downstairs Mix-Up may be headed the same way.
“The standard of the 18 bands from SCU, and all the bands through the comp, was incredible,” Harry said.
The event was hosted by Triple J's Jay and the Doctor.
The band will play on October 8 at a toga party at Southern Cross University's Unibar.