Gig Scene: Purple Mafia to play York AMP Awards

Purple Mafia.
Purple Mafia.

By Graham Chalmers

When teenage band Purple Mafia step on stage at The Barbican in York on March 3 it will be one more slice of proof of how successful the AMP Awards are – if proof were needed.

The young Harrogate/Ripon indie poppy five-piece have played from Cornwall to Hollywood since they won the Harrogate-based competition for schools in 2012 – and are now veterans at the grand old age of 17 and 18.

If the band, made up of Dan Reynard, Josh Stockdale, Alex Boulton, Harry Yates and Tom Stringer - have been a success story, just like many other AMPs ‘graduates’, so has the contest itself.

The reason the band are appearing at The Barbican is that the AMPs have expanded in recent yearsfrom Harrogate to Leeds and Bradford and, now, to York.

With Purple Mafia having recorded in LA and played the Sunset Strip’s legendary Whisky A Go Go venue, it’s just one reason why schools across Yorkshire are clamouring to be part of the AMPs story.

In total since it was first launched in 2009 by teachers at St Aidan’s High School and Boroughbridge High School as a combined musical/business skills event, this glamorous but friendly competition has featured 90 bands in its grand finals alone.

Altogether more than 1,000 students have participated to date in the pupils-run business teams which help put the AMPs together each year, including organising each school’s pre-final heat for competing bands.

Even one of the main teachers behind it is impressed!

AMP Awards director Josh Hill said: “It’s a big year for us expanding into two new cities and it’s exciting to have Purple Mafia back to play at York.

“They’re a perfect example of how groups can use the AMPs as a platform.

“We believe part of the reason for the success of the AMPs is the concept of bringing the worlds of music and business together in a way that helps pupils develop valuable skills and insights.”

The mother of all the AMP Awards, the Harrogate final, will take place at the Royal Hall on Wednesday, February 12.

For tickets, call 01423 502116 or book online at