The Grand Finale
There are still half the total Blast:Beat points to be won, based on how well the companies present themselves to the judges today, so any one of our companies could hit the jackpot or fall from grace! Each company's aim is to put together a winning stand, which will attract and impress the judges and the public. Heart Beatz had driven down from Omagh the previous night and are there early, inflating pink sofas and putting up the collages they had made. There is a poor showing from Dark Synergy, with only four members making the trip from Dublin. They also forget to bring their banners, and have to ad lib on the spot, gluing pictures to black card and writing captions with chalk. Hell's Hippies make the most of a cramped space, setting up a colourful stand with free lollipops for all and a resident "hippy" (alias company member Tom Curran) plays the guitar. The Zodiac girls from Sligo arrive late after a nightmare journey, but set up a top notch stand and are all dressed in company colours black and pink, with customised t-shirts promoting their band The Neighbourhood.
In the afternoon, the Battle of the Bands semi finals takes place - the two winning bands from this gig will make it through to the finals in the evening. The bands from our four Blast:Beat TV schools who will be competing are:
The Neighbourhood from Sligo (Zodiac TY)
Home Star Runner from Dublin (Dark Synergy Productions)
Steer Clear from Belfast (Dark Synergy Productions)
Soloway from Limerick (Hell's Hippies)
Tension is up to max as we learn which of our semi-finals bands have made it through with a chance of success in the Blast:Beat grand finals, and we watch the judges announcing the big news of WHICH COMPANY IS THIS YEAR'S BLAST:BEAT MIN-COMPANY OF THE YEAR and come away with the €5,000 cash prize.
Will it be:
Hell's Hippies, who have maintained a firm place within the top 5 companies on the Blast:Beat league table and are determined to win?
Dark Synergy Productions, who have been loitering low on the league table and have lost their dynamic CEO?
Heart Beatz, who raced up the table in episode 5 and are bringing singer Shauna Donaghy along to provide live music on their stand?
Zodiac TY, who are in 5th place on the table and are planning to dress up as a neighbourhood of houses to catch the judges’ attention and support their band?
At 1pm the first Battle of the Bands begins: only three bands will qualify for the Grand Finals gig in the evening. The mini music companies pull out all the stops to support their bands:
Hell's Hippies relentlessly chant “Soloway” throughout the gig and Zodiac impress everyone with the handmade Chinese-style banners featuring each individual band member from The Neighbourhood, designed by the band's art whizz, Matthew Horan. The judges have a complicated task as all bands had performed so well, but when the winners are announced, Dark Synergy are thrilled as two of their bands - Home Star Runner and SteerClear - make it through along with Zodiac's band The Neighbourhood. It is the end of the line for ace Blast:Beat TV rockers Soloway, and both the band and the company are devastated.
At 7pm the Grand Finals begin, with the three winners from the afternoon gig competing against glam rockers Nice 'n' Sleezy from Enniskillen, drum and bass trio The Impressionists from Cork's Ballincollig, 13 year old metal outfit Transgress from Loughrea and Dark Synergy's third band, Dublin metallers Krimzin. It is a spectacular gig, and again judging is extremely tough. Internationally famous music producer Robyn Robins takes the helm, and after much debate the final results are tallied with Home Star Runner in 3rd place, Transgress 2nd and crowd pleasers The Impressionists scooping the Blast:Beat top prize of an album deal and a brand new backline.
There are individual Blast:Beat gold discs to be won for 40 top achievers, and of the Blast:Beat TV schools, the winners were Heart Beatz's Kieran Colton for Best Website Manager, Niamh Watters from Zodiac TY and Daragh McGrath from Dark Synergy for Best A&R Manager, Dark Synergy's Alex Masterson for Best Video Director, Hell's Hippies' Paul Hennessey for Best Sales Manager, with Zodiac TY also winning Best Promotion of a Band.
At last it is time for the Best Mini Company to be announced, and excitement is up to max. Drums roll, the students wait anxiously and finally the results arrive:
3rd place goes to Frequency Music, Ballincollig Community School, Co Cork (where The Impressionists drummer, Kevin O'Connor, is CEO)
2nd place (and €1K) is awarded to Hell's Hippies, Castletroy College, Limerick
1st place (and €5K) is won by Pulse TY, St Columba's College, Stranorlar, Co Donegal
What lies ahead for the Blast:Beat champions and the winning band? Will they blow their profits, get charitable or invest in a music industry future? Is it back to school for our budding rock stars or do they have fame and fortune in their sights?
As the credits roll, the last word is with our company and band members, who share with us what the year has meant to them and how it has shaped their lives, whether they are winners or runners up. Goodbye Blast:Beat, until next year!