Organisers praise Radio 1 Academy

The Radio 1 Academy offered a "brilliant platform" for the station's Big Weekend which takes place later this week, organisers have said.

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Radio 1 breakfast show host Nick Grimshaw is taught how to play the bagpipes at The National Piping Centre in Glasgow by Finlay MacDonald ahead of the Radio 1 Big weekend.
Radio 1 breakfast show host Nick Grimshaw is taught how to play the bagpipes at The National Piping Centre in Glasgow by Finlay MacDonald ahead of the Radio 1 Big weekend.

Rita Ora, Sir Richard Branson and Biffy Clyro were among the stars who appeared at the Academy, which ran from May 10-16 at Glasgow University's Queen Margaret Union.

About 7,000 16 to 19-year-olds took part in the programme of practical workshops, question-and-answer (Q&A) sessions, industry master classes and live music gigs.

It took place ahead of Radio 1's Big Weekend 2014, which is happening on Glasgow Green on Saturday May 24 and Sunday May 25, featuring bands including Kings Of Leon, Coldplay and One Direction.

Up to 50,000 revellers will attend the festival, which will also feature the likes of Pharrell Williams, Rita Ora and Paolo Nutini.

Piers Bradford, commissioning editor at Radio 1, said the academy aimed to inspire young people and offer them practical experience.

He said: "One of the aims is to inspire young people to take the first step towards getting where they want to be.

"Often, young people are incredibly ambitious but don't know how to get there and one of the over-riding messages for the young people was to just take that first step, and every little thing that you do will help you get where you want to be.

"We also strive to provide practical outcomes."

He added: "I think we've left a brilliant platform for the Big Weekend build-up."

Highlights of the academy included Rita Ora performing live for about 300 people and Nick Grimshaw doing a Q&A session with Sir Richard Branson.

Scottish comedian Kevin Bridges also took part in a Q&A session before hosting a stand-up comedy workshop while singer-songwriter Emeli Sande also took part in a Q&A session and a song-writing class.

Simon Neil from Biffy Clyro also recorded a guitar lesson to post on youtube as part of Radio 1's drive to reach those who could not attend the academy themselves.

Mr Bradford said: "The celebrities and big names were so generous with their time.

"You could tell how rewarding they found it. Example came along one day and went to one session, and stayed for two more.

"They really did feel like it was a worthwhile thing to do with their time."

Grimshaw had a learning experience himself today when he was taught to play the bagpipes at the National Piping Centre in Glasgow.

The DJ is hosting his breakfast show from Glasgow all week ahead of the Big Weekend.

Fifty thousand tickets for the festival were snapped up in just over half-an-hour in March.

A further 14,000 tickets for an additional dance event in the city on May 23 have also been given away.

Radio 1 DJs Annie Mac, Pete Tong, Zane Lowe and Danny Howard will all star in the George Square party to kick-start the weekend.

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