This year marks the 21st anniversary of the Fitz Band Comp, a competition that sees local artists battle it out in the hope of being crowned the winner.

Last year’s winners, the Fixators, are now a regular on the Sydney music scene and 2011 winners, The Cam Naccson Band, recently toured the USA and released their debut album.

With so much talent brewing in the heart of Ku-ring-gai, this year’s competition is sure to showcase some fantastic local artists.

Jack Shepherd will be entering the competition for the third time this year, this time as a solo artist performing under the name Jack Man Friday.

Jack combines combines guitar, vocals, bass and a bit of beat boxing to create what is certainly a unique sound. “It’s street based music, quick, with lots of layers. Sort of a bit like the John Butler Trio… and a bit like the Beastie Boys,” he said.

Jack first developed a passion for music at the age of 12 as a student at Knox Grammar, starting his musical journey by learning the guitar. Now, at the age of 20, he has been performing for the last five years and you’d be hard pressed to find an instrument he can’t play.

Since he spends five days a week busking on the streets of Sydney, Jack has plenty of time to practise new material and gain feedback from audiences.

At the time of the interview Jack was at the bank pouring mountains of coins into a coin counting machine, the sound was rather deafening. So it’s fair to say that his audiences are appreciative of his talents.

Jack hopes that if he wins the Fitz Band Comp he’ll be able to record an album, tour Australia and put his earnings towards a trip to Europe. “The saying goes that if you can busk in Australia, you can busk anywhere… So I want to busk in Europe,” he said.

The Fitz Band Comp kicks off on August 9, with the final being held at the Fitz Youth Centre on Memorial Avenue in St Ives, August 30.

by Jessie Goldie