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Music students perform at the O2 Arena

City of Oxford College music students formed The White Lakes less than a year ago but beat thousands of bands to perform in the final of ‘Live at your local’.

The band first started to form when Matt Ellacott (lead vocalist) and Alex Carvell Turner (bassist) bonded during a jam session, after initially not getting along very well. Shortly after this, Charlie Burham joined them to play lead guitar and the three held auditions for a drummer and found that Kyle Oliveira was the perfect fit.

The four all have different musical influences which has helped them to create their own unique sound and they only play their own songs.

The Greene King ‘Live at your local’ competition provided The White Lakes with an incredible and high-profile break. The competition had over 2,000 entries and is UK-wide. The band had to arrange a tour and performed at pubs throughout their region to gain support and they went on to win their 2 regional finals.

The competition’s final was held at the Indigo club at the O2 in London, giving The White Lakes the opportunity to perform on a stage that has hosted performances by major bands such as The Who and Blondie. The band competed against six other artists in front of an audience of 3,000 people and Razorlight supported the event by playing a set.

Matt Ellacott said: “When we got the call that we had made it to the final, we couldn’t believe it. The person who called us initially made it sound like we hadn’t got through and completely tricked us! We were the youngest performers and we haven’t been together for very long so it felt like a huge achievement. The winner was a solo artist called Nuala and she was really good. We had such an amazing experience playing at the O2 and the crowd were incredible. Since the event our social media following has gone up and it feels like things are really taking off. Watch out for us in the future!”

Nick Reiber Hodgson, Music Teacher, said: “We are so proud of our students for this amazing achievement. Many bands never get anywhere near the O2 and they have played there in their first year together. They have a really distinctive sound and I believe that they have a bright future ahead of them.”