Past performers

YouthRock has helped launch a number of very successful bands.

The most famous to have performed at YouthRock is undoubtedly Silverchair, who began their musical career as “The Innocent Criminals” in 1992.  Three Newcastle schoolmates – Guitarist/vocalist Daniel Johns, bassist Chris Joannou, drummer Ben Gillies and rhythm guitarist, Tobin Finnane – got together to play covers of old Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple songs. In 1994 they competed in YouthRock, picked up first prize in a band competition conducted by the television show Nomad and the radio station 2JJJ-FM and signed their first record deal. Their albums, “Frogstomp,” “Freak Show” and “Neon Ballroom” (which sold about 700.000 copies in one week!!) have made Silverchair a household name.

In 1996 the group Papa Lips (now known as Grainger) competed in YouthRock. Papa Lips was launched when Balmain High School students Mitch and Kara Grainger met bass player Rowan Lane and drummer Declan Kelly. Inspired by a lively music scene in Balmain, the group developed into one of the most popular independent bands in Australia with their melodic roots-rock style.


They released their debut album “High Time Now” in 1998 and for the next two years toured throughout Australia playing major festivals. Grainger have recently supported Little Feat , Robbin Ford and Eric Johnson and have made international fans like Ben Harper while playing The East Coast Blues and Roots Festival.

Other past YouthRock performers to have achieved notoriety include Alex Lloyd (who began performing with “The Beefs” in Balmain when he was 13), Exploding Daisies (formed at Maroubra High School in 1989, Youth Rock 1991 winners), SPDFGH (who got together at Campbelltown High in Sydney’s West in 1990), Skulker, Jarr’d (from Tamworth High), Shattered Silence (runner up in YouthRock 1995 from Windsor High), Schlauncher (formerly Emulate from Warners Bay High) and Meaneither (YouthRock 1995 winners).


Former Judges of YouthRock have been from all areas of the Music Industry and have included:

  • Jeremy Fabinyi (has managed Mental as Anything, former Managing Director Festival/Mushroom)
  • Lindy Morrison (ex “The GoBetweens”)
  • Grant Thomas (has managed artists such as Crowded House, Screaming Jets, Divinyls)
  • Vicki Bobotis, Tony Bonney, Scott Leighton, Michael Harrison (The Harbour Agency)
  • Michael Smith (Drum Media)
  • Simon Moor (EMI Music)
  • Brent Eccles (“The Angels”)
  • Rod Willis (has managed artists such as Cold Chisel and Icehouse)
  • John Woodruff (management credits include Savage Garden, The Angels and Baby Animals )
  • David Price (Producer/Engineer credits include Screaming Jets, Hoodoo Gurus, InXs etc)
  • Sasha Tiller (Sony Music)
  • Graham Bidstrup (“GANGgajang”)
  • Elizabeth McMartin (Hoodoo Guru’s Management)
  • Jaslyn Hall (Triple J)
  • Pam Swain (ABC -TV)
  • Owen Orford (Trading Post Agency)
  • Owen Trembath (Owen Trembath Solicitors)
  • Jim Shipstone (former Managing Director – BMG Music

Past Winners

YouthRock 2018 Winners
1st Place:  320 – Punchbowl Boys High
2nd Place: Noon Shift – Oakhill College
3rd Place: Roxferry – Wauchope High
Abdallah El-Dannawi Encouragement Award:  The Deafening Silence – Nowra High
Aaron Chugg Award: Gravity Stone – Campbelltown Performing Arts High

YouthRock 2017 Winners
1st Place:  The Lazy Eyes- Newtown High School of the Performing Arts
2nd Place: Abbey Gardner – Kellyville High
3rd Place: Noon Shift – Oakhill College
Abdallah El-Dannawi Encouragement Award:  320 – Punchbowl Boys High
Aaron Chugg Award: Tabetha Salmon - St Scholasticas College, Glebe

YouthRock 2016 Winners
1st Place:  Haze Trio – Rose Bay Secondary College
2nd Place:  Abbey Gardner – Kellyville High
3rd Place:  Guilty As Charged – Oakhill College
Abdallah El-Dannawi Encouragement Award:  Smacked Youth – Whitebridge High
Aaron Chugg Award:  320 – Punchbowl Boys High

YouthRock 2015 Winners
1st Place:  In Motion – Hunter River High
2nd Place:  The Citizens - Rose Bay Secondary College
3rd Place:  Southern End – Whitebridge High
Abdallah El-Dannawi Encouragement Award:  David Taylor – Knox Grammar
Aaron Chugg Award:  Guiltrip – Lake Munmorah High
silverchair Songwriting Award:  The Citizens - Rose Bay Secondary College

YouthRock 2006 Winners
1st Place:  BenJaLu – Whitebridge High
2nd Place: Ian – Wagga Wagga High
3rd Place:  Short Stack – Hunter School of the Performing Arts
Encouragement Award:  Smokin Vaults – Sydney Technical High
silverchair Songwriting Award:  Benjalu – Whitebridge High

Special Commendation
Days Unknown – TAFE Ourimbah Campus
Fabian and the Calculator Kings – Wagga Wagga High

YouthRock 2005 Winners
1st Place:  Established – Georges River Secondary College – Oatley Campus
2nd Place: Immune – Callaghan College
3rd Place:  Fortay – Forbes High
Encouragement Award:  For The Moment – Brisbane Waters Secondary College, Woy Woy Campus
silverchair Songwriting Award:  Immune – Callaghan College

Special Commendation
Valid – Tamworth High

YouthRock 2004 Winners
1st place:  Daylight Robbery – Lambton High
2nd place: Erobotica – SSC – Blackwattle Bay Campus
3rd place: The Saxbys –  Mereweather High
Encouragement Award: Synergy – Bateman’s Bay High
silverchair songwriting award: Omis Mo Mo  – Bega High

Special Commendation
Reflecta – Orange High
Beginners Guide To Kung Fu – Blaxland High

YouthRock 2003 Winners
1st place:  Brittle FX – Balina High
2nd place: Agnes – Balgowlah Boys/MacKellar Girls
3rd place: Fyna – Brisbane Water Secondary College Woy Woy Campus
Encouragement Award: Dred – Kingsgrove High
silverchair songwriting award: Bright Yellow – Lisarow High

Special Commendation
Once Were Tadpoles – Warners Bay High
Each Sold Separately – Cowra High


MAJOR PRIZES in the past have included recording time at TRACKDOWN STUDIOS, SOUND LEVEL STUDIOS and ZEN STUDIOS. Equipment prizes from BILLY HYDE DRUMCRAFT, DYNAMIC MUSIC, PEAVEY AUSTRALIA, DOWNTOWN MUSIC, JANDS ELECTRONICS, PARRAMATTA MUSIC, legal advice from OWEN TREMBATH and ASSOCIATES, a support with SCREAMING JETS and a gig at the BIG DAY OUT. CHANNEL 10 provide general promotional support.


Sponsors of YouthRock have included:

Belmore Boys’ High School, Arrive alive, Commision for Children and Young People, Jeans West, Dynamic Music, Downtown Music, Jands, Sound Devices, Allans Music, Trackdown Studios, The Harbour Agency, Sonic Factory, Zen Studios, ozrock.com, Troy Horse, Sound Level Studios, Sony Music, EMI Music, Universal Music, The PA People, Chameleon Touring Systems, Premier Lighting, Advanced Lighting Equipment, Grafton’s Sound & Music, Drum Media, Mark Denning Graphics, Show Technologies, L & W Productions, Shoog Posters, Freestyle Productions, Brett Oaten Solicitors, Lots of Watts, Big Day Out, Festival Studios, Albert Studios, Rondor Music, Velvet Studios, Damien Gerards, Sony Studios, Paradise Studios, Tracking Station, Megaphon Studios, Smithys and Labsystems.


Youth Rock has received extensive media coverage including…
Channel 9 “Today”, ABC-TV Recovery, Channel 10 News (2 live to air broadcasts in one week), 2-Day FM, Triple J, Drum Media, On The Street, Sydney Morning Herald, Sun Herald, Telegraph Mirror, Channel 7 News, Education News, SBS’s School Torque, Channel 10’s Mike Gibson Show, Channel 10’s “It Goes”, Channel 10’s “Ridgey Didge” and numerous local newspapers and radio stations.