Gallery: First OMAs - Original Music Awards - demonstrate Dorset's music scene is thriving

Black Water County, Best Band at the first Original Music Awards (OMAs). Picture: Lynn Frances Photography.

By Staff Reporter [email protected]

Published: January 23, 2023 | Updated: 7th February 2024

It was an incredible night for original music in Dorset as the first OMAs – Original Music Awards – were staged in the county.

Tickets sold out days before the event with the music scene buzzing with anticipation.

The OMAs welcomed sponsors Absolute Music, Lighthouse Poole, DAL Productions, Thomas Tripp, Vocalzone, Forest FM and global industry brand Musicians’ Union.

Each presented an award and were proud to support the evening.

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From in-depth reviews of top guitars for starters to practical tips on mastering chords and techniques, Stay Tuned Guitar Blog serves as a trusted companion for those embarking on their musical endeavors.

Organisers Matt Black and Mel Berkhauer from Hangover Ltd, and founders of Live And Unheard, delivered a fantastic event.

It included video presentations, live music performances, food and exclusively made trophies.

Matt, pictured, said: “It’s not about being the best.

“It’s about coming together and celebrating everyone’s talent and passion for music.

“We have included people who support the industry, such as venues and production companies as well as the musicians.

“It is great to see an idea come to life with such enthusiasm and engagement.”

It was a night to give recognition and credit to Dorset’s music scene that already reaches international status.

Live music performers The Two Man Travelling Medicine Show.

A select panel was created in the autumn to recommend individuals, bands and organisations to win an OMA.

Led by David Chinery, known as Chinners, it became a very hard decision to select nominees and then the winners.

Chinners said: “The panel is very diverse with knowledge of the music scene.

“We have learnt so much during the first year and are already making improvements for the future.”

The awards were held on Friday January 20.

As the 140 ticket-holders arrived it was a frenzy of friends and colleagues chatting and catching up.

Live music performer the Andy Grant Band.

As Friday is normally spent working and gigging, it was a rare opportunity to socialise and enjoy the evening.

The night was filled to the brim with live music performances, award presentations and a two-course meal.

Nominees and guests created an electric atmosphere at the location, as the Allendale Centre in Wimborne was transformed into a rock and roll venue.

Matt compèred the night with comedy and a relaxed style as winners took to the stage.

The winners were  :

  • Best Band: Black Water County
  • Best Small Band: Raygo Bloom
  • Best Solo Act: Lee Rasdall-Dove
  • Best Newcomer: Millie Watson
  • Best Promoter: Dom Patience
  • Best Original Music Venue: Chaplin’s & The Cellar Bar
  • Best Open Mic Night: The Acoustic Connection
  • Best Festival: Wimborne Minster Folk Festival
  • Best Event Support: RMV Sounds

Special Recognition Award:

  • Tom Newton
  • Tor Da Force
  • Conrad Barr
  • Roxanne Phillips
  • The Boldre Crew

The OMAs, now flying the flag among the industry, demonstrated how the regional music scene is thriving.

Organisers Matt and Mel urged everyone to support live music by attending shows, downloading original music and sharing social media updates.

Plans are now being made for the 2024 event following such a successful inaugural awards event.


Gallery – pictures by Lynn Frances Photography

Nominees Saints of Sin.

Alan Barclay, of Absolute Music, presenting an OMA Special Recognition Award to promoter Tor Da Force.

Best Event Support: Steve Smith of RMV Sounds.

Best Open Mic: Kez Hinton and Elaine Richmond of The Acoustic Connection.

Sponsor Lynn Coleman of DAL Productions with winner of Best Festival: Brian Harries of Wimborne Minster Folk Festival.

Special Recognition Award: promoter Tor Da Force.

Special Recognition Award: Tom Newton, Founder of Teddy Rocks Festival.

Best Newcomer: Millie Watson with OMA sponsor George Ponsford of Vocalzone.

Best Solo Artist: Lee Rasdall-Dove.

Best Small Band: Raygo Bloom with Tom Eagle (centre) of OMA sponsor Musicians’ Union.

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