The first ever Heavy Music Awards, a new public-voted awards event conceived to celebrate rock and metal, is set to be televised following the appointment of the Sony-owned channel Scuzz as its broadcast partner. The deal will see the event - established by the Heavy Group, a separate venture formed by co-organisers Dave Bradley (Promoter at Live Nation) and Andy Pritchard - aired on August 24, and will also include a series of one-hour finalist's shows.
Music Week spoke exclusively to HMAs co-founder Andy Pritchard to find out more about the awards and the nature of its partnership with Scuzz.
How is the ceremony's development going so far?
"Since we launched the Heavy Music Awards in March, the scheme has been received with overwhelming positivity from pretty much every corner of the rock and metal scene - we have been truly humbled by the sheer number of well-wishers. We are trying to create something far-reaching that offers genuine value to the industry, not just a stand-alone event, and it feels like we are getting that message across. It's not even just about the bands; we have found our categories for photographers, designers and producers have been really warmly welcomed as these are disciplines which perhaps don't get the love they deserve. Being independent gives us a flexibility which we hope ultimately will mean increased exposure for the heavy music scene."
What does the deal with Scuzz mean for the awards?
"Partnering with Scuzz is another huge step forward for the HMAs. Alex Herron and his team live and breathe rock and metal, they understand the concept of the awards and they know the best way to present it to viewers. A huge part of their ethos has always been to champion up-and-coming artists just as much as established acts, so we knew from that outset that Scuzz would be the perfect fit for the Heavy Music Awards."
What do both parties get out of it?
"Scuzz's brand values are community-centric, which is why fans and artists respect them so much. The HMAs are obviously in their infancy but we are equally keen to create a brand of which the heavy music scene can be proud for many years to come - our partnerships with BIMM and Safe Gigs For Women underline that intention. With this deal, Scuzz becomes home to an event that strengthens, once again, their dedication to building this scene, and the HMAs reaches a significant, switched-on television audience, offering further valuable exposure to our finalists, winners, sponsors and supporters."
Are you looking at other areas of expanding the coverage?
"The opportunities for reaching our audience are almost endless but our marketing strategy has always been based on partnerships with traditional and non-traditional outlets that share our love of heavy music. The HMAs team is in talks currently to expand the reach of the awards in a number of ways before, during and after the event on August 24 - we'll have a number of further exciting announcements in the coming months!"
Finally, the judging panel has been expanded hugely since first being announced – what made you choose to expand it?
"We are still expanding it as I speak! The truth is, we feel strongly that a smaller panel will give us a less accurate reading of the scene in 2017 - we want as wide a cross-section as possible from what is a huge, sprawling industry. It's important to us that the panel is diverse in terms of age, location, gender, ethnicity and skills because that is when you will get a true reflection of the scene. Our judging panel is really more of a census, we're gauging opinion - and already we have seen from the judging we've received that the eclectic mix of judges is likely to equate to a really exciting list of nominees. Finding out who the industry settles on, then who the fans pick from those shortlists when public voting opens on 22 May, is hugely exciting."
The awards will span 11 categories, including Best Album, Best UK Band, Best International Band and Best Festival, with the winners set to be announced at a ceremony in London on Thursday August 24.
Details about the panel and awards can be seen below, for more information head to the Heavy Music Awards' official site.