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Glastonbury Festival Announces 2019 Emerging Talent Competition

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Glastonbury Festival Announces 2019 Emerging Talent Competition

Posted on 22 January 2019 by Joe

Glastonbury Festival has announced details of its 2019 Emerging Talent Competition, which offers aspiring acts the chance to compete for a main stage slot at this year’s event.

The competition is free to enter and the winner also receives a £5,000 talent development prize from the PRS Foundation. Two runners-up prizes from the PRS Foundation of £2,500 will also be made available.

GLAST ETC

The competition opens for one week only, from 9am Monday 28 January to 5pm Monday 4th February, via the Glastonbury Festivals website.

To enter, acts will need to supply a link to one original song on SoundCloud, plus a link to a video of themselves performing live (even if it’s only recorded in a bedroom).

Neonfiller.com is delighted to also announce that our co-editor Joe Lepper will once again be a long list judge for the competition. Each of these 30 judges will whittle down entries to a longlist of 90 acts from which eight finalists will be chosen to compete in a battle of the bands contest in April in Pilton, which is near to the festival’s Somerset site.

In the last four competitions all eight finalists have been offered slots at that year’s festival.

Previous winners

Recent winners have included She Drew the Gun, which scooped the prize in 2016 and saw their latest album Revolution of the Mind named among BBC 6 Music’s Top 10 albums of 2018.

ETC 2016 winners She Drew The Gun

ETC 2016 winners She Drew The Gun, pic by Joe Lepper

In 2015 it was won by Declan McKenna, who signed with Columbia shortly afterwards. Last year the competition as won by soul singer Josh Barry.

The competition also provides valuable publicity to the long list entries, such as Nadine Shah, who was named as one of our three entries in 2013.

Declan McKenna performing at Glastonbury 2015

Declan McKenna performing at Glastonbury 2015, pic by Joe Lepper

“After our year off, we can’t wait to hear the latest crop of undiscovered music that’s out there,” said Glastonbury co-organiser Emily Eavis.

“New music is hugely important to what this Festival is about, and the Emerging Talent Competition has helped us to unearth so many incredible artists from across the genres.”

Vanessa Reed, chief executive of PRS Foundation, added: “The Emerging Talent Competition is an incredibly exciting opportunity for talented up and coming artists to receive vital support to develop their careers and perform at the legendary Glastonbury Festival.”

by Joe Lepper

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Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Competition 2017 Finals

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Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Competition 2017 Finals

Posted on 25 April 2017 by Joe

Each year at the live finals for the Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Competition particular themes emerge, which give a good indicator into the current thinking of festival bookers and music journalists.

At last year’s event attitude proved the winning theme, with She Drew the Gun’s ability to speak to a generation of young people earning the top prize, of a £5,000 PRS Foundation talent development grant and a main stage slot.

The previous year it was melody that shone through, being delivered by teenager Declan McKenna, whose track Brazil has arguably never been bettered in the competition’s history for sheer pop savvyness. Within months he was signed by Columbia and will be appearing at this year’s festival, for the third time in his fledgling career.

This year it was all about singing talent with all eight acts showcasing top vocal gymnastics.

Josh Barry

Josh Barry

In the end the Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Competition judges, including Michael and Emily Eavis, Glastonbury stage bookers and music business professionals, went for the act with the biggest voice of them all, Josh Barry, a soul singer from London who has been a stalwart of the underground dance scene for a number of years and once even auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent.

His was an incredibly passionate live performance and on a night of tonsil based excellence his victory was inevitable. He will own whichever main stage he is allocated and make good use of his £5,000 PRS prize.

Young Yizzy

Young Yizzy

In terms of unearthing original talent,  Young Yizzy and Flohio were worthy runners up. These London based young MCs are already gathering critical acclaim and the teenage Young Yizzy is one of the UK’s emerging grime stars. He was a close second to Barry in terms of working a crowd, with a stage invasion at the end of his two track set a highlight of the night.

Flohio oozed star appeal and like She Drew the Gun, took the mantle of spokesperson for a generation. As a website focused mainly on indie and alternative guitar music the charismatic Flohio took me out of my comfort zone and I loved every minute of it.

Flohio

Flohio

Both Flohio and Young Yizzy scooped £2,500 PRS Foundation grants to help further their careers, which on this evidence, will go from strength to strength.

It sounds patronising and clichéd to say that all eight finalists; also including Lucas & King, Lilith Ai, Silences, WOWH and TYNI, were winners. But as all gain a slot somewhere on the festival bill and have garnered some excellent publicity from reaching the last eight, they have in no way lost out.

As a long list judge for the Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Competition, and regular attendee at these finals, I’m looking forward to the next emerging theme. Although I’ll have to wait two years, as the festival takes a year’s break next year to let the grass at Worthy Farm recover.

Words and pictures by Joe Lepper

For more information about the competition and live final click here.

Visit our Facebook page to see more pictures from the live final.

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Glastonbury Emerging Talent – Acts To Impress So Far

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Glastonbury Emerging Talent – Acts To Impress So Far

Posted on 17 February 2017 by Joe

For the fifth year running I’m spending February helping the Glastonbury Festival organisers unearth some new talent as one of 40 music writer judges involved in the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition.Glastonbury2017

Over this month I’ll be sifting through around 100 tracks and video clips of UK and Irish acts to find three to put through to the next stage in the competition – a place on a 120 strong long list.

This will then be whittled down further to a short list of eight acts, who will compete at a live final at Pilton Working Men’s Club in April to win the top prize of a main stage slot at this year’s festival.

The winner also receives a £5,000 PRS for Music Foundation Talent Development prize to help develop their career and two runners up will receive £2,500 from PRS.

As with the previous three years I like to focus on some of the acts that have caught my ear so far during judging and are in contention to become one of my three.

Here are some that have grabbed my attention so far.

Palm Honey

Every now and again the British indie scene needs a pick-me-up and Reading’s Palm Honey are just the band to do it.

This psychedelic pop quartet are full of fuzzed up fun and buzzed up ballsy rock and offer something for everyone with their self titled style of “experimental, alternative, noisy, psych-gaze pop”.

Their soundcloud clip of the track I Can Try impressed me and then when I saw their video for the single You Stole My Blackout I was hooked.

Already they’ve earned national attention with the Guardian writing about them and this week BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens played their track ‘Stick the Knife’ to further boost their profile.

Nicholson Heal

Bristol based singer songwriter Nicholson Heal is at home playing with a brass wielding six piece as well as on his own with just his guitar and beautiful voice. There are obvious comparisons to the likes of Elliot Smith but for me he is most akin to Canada’s Woodpigeon.

His is one of the most impressive entries I’ve heard across the five year’s I’ve been involved in the Glastonbury Emerging Talent competition. Love that brass section too on the track Lacuna.

Oxygen

There are a fair few The xx influenced bands around but Maltese siblings Kurt and Katia Abela, aka Oxygen, stand out from the pack with their polished carefully crafted take on dramatic pop. With songs written by Kurt and composer Janelle Borg they list Ed Sheeran, Broods and Daughter among their influences and are proud to wear their heart on their sleeve, “due to the intense emotion they portray in their music”, so says their PR blurb.

Where so many acts of this ilk fall down is to overplay the emotion. But Oxygen’s understated delivery and seemingly genuine passion for the music shines through. A very good Glastonbury Emerging Talent entry.

by Joe Lepper

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Glastonbury 2016 – Best of the Smaller Stages

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Glastonbury 2016 – Best of the Smaller Stages

Posted on 02 June 2016 by Joe

With dozens of venues and hundreds of acts there is certainly more to the Glastonbury Festival than the big names appearing on its Pyramid and Other stages. Outside of these two largest stages there is the festival within a festival of the Park, the John Peel tent and a raft of smaller venues, including William’s Green, BBC Introducing and Leftfield tents.

After scanning through the line up we have selected our Glastonbury 2016 – Best of the Smaller Stages list.

She Drew The Gun

Rabbit Hole – 4pm, Thursday 23 June
John Peel – 11am, Sunday 26 June

She Drew The Gun at the Glastonbury 2016 ETC finals

She Drew The Gun at the Glastonbury 2016 ETC finals (pic by Joe Lepper)

This year’s Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Competition winners appear twice, bringing their unique blend of dream pop and clever, bittersweet lyrics to the event for the first time. In their track Poem, they have one of the best songs of the year.

Yak

William’s Green – 4pm, Friday 24 June

This excellent venue continues to be one of our favourites on site due to its strong focus on showcasing emerging acts, with Yak from Wolverhampton among the pick of its 2016 line up. This exciting trio have just finished support slots with King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard as well as The Last Shadow Puppets and will be promoting their latest album Alas Salvation.

Boxed In

William’s Green – 4pm, Saturday 25 June

Boxed in is the moniker for London based producer Oli Bayston, who has worked with a diverse range of musicians from Steve Mason to Lily Allen. Here he will be showcasing his distinct brand of piano powered alternative pop, with his track Mystery set to be among many highlights.

Michele Stodart

Acoustic Stage – 2:30pm, Friday 24 June

The Magic Numbers bassist has also carved out a fine career as a solo artist, with a penchant for beautiful, low-key country folk. She will be appearing with a full band at the Acoustic Stage. As an aside, for those partial to proper beer its worth noting that the Acoustic Stage’s beer tent is one of the best places to get a drink on site.

This is the Kit

Avalon Stage – 5:15pm, Saturday 25 June
William’s Green – 4pm, Sunday 26 June

Among the best west country bands at the event is Kate Stables and her folk pop band This is the Kit. Appearing twice at the event they count the likes of Lauren Laverne and Mark Radcliffe among their fans and for good reason.

Dan Stuart & Twin Tones

John Peel – 11am, Friday 24 June

The former Green on Red man turned his back on the music industry for more than a decade but has returned in recent years with an excellent solo career. Now teamed up with Mexican act Twin Tones, this icon of the 1980s alternative US music scene has chosen this year’s Glastonbury for a rare UK performance.

Compiled by Joe Lepper

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Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Competition finals – Pilton (April 9, 2016)

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Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Competition finals – Pilton (April 9, 2016)

Posted on 12 April 2016 by Joe

Of the four Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Competition finals I’ve attended this was perhaps the most surprising, with bands far exceeding the promise they showed from their submitted audio and video clips.

In most years the best sounding act from their submissions goes on to impress live at the competition’s annual  finals at Pilton Working Men’s Club.

This year was different with all the acts deciding to offer something far more than the simple promise on offer in their submissions.

Of course each year the quality is high. An act has to be excellent to make the finals from an initial entry of thousands and a long list of 120 acts,  picked by 40 music journalists and bloggers including myself.

She Drew the Gun with Michael Eavis

She Drew the Gun with Michael Eavis

Based on this year’s final eight submissions,  it was only really Bossy Love, with the sensational pop of Tell You What, that stood out for me.  The rest though certainly proved me wrong, all stepping up a gear, especially eventual winner Wirral’s She Drew The Gun.

Here is a band that demands to be seen live with singer songwriter Louisa Roach’s delivery and stage presence offering some real hairs standing up on the back of your neck moments.

She Drew The Gun's Louise Roach

She Drew The Gun’s Louisa Roach

As with their clip, their billing as dreamy psych-pop band on their Facebook stage also proved to be a masterclass in under selling. Live they are so much more, with Roach’s generation defining lyrics on the track Poem shining brightest. They were definitely my favourite on the night and thankfully also of the ETC judges, who include Festival organisers Michael and Emily Eavis.

She Drew the Gun also win £5,000 talent development cash from PRS for Music Foundation as well as a main stage slot.

Bossy Love

Bossy Love

Glasgow’s R&B Bossy Love  impressed, as I expected, and marched into second place on the night. They have a “we are going to be famous and there is nothing you can do to stop our relentless juggernaut” vibe about them as they took to the stage. I can’t see many standing in their way.

In third was another surprise – London folk singer Hattie Whitehead. As with She Drew The Gun, her Soundcloud clip offered promise but not much more. Live, with a full band and electric rather than acoustic guitar, it was a different story. The songs had depth and shine and she emerged as a genuine contender to win the first place prize. She and Bossy Love also grab £2,500 PRS for Music Foundation prizes as well as festival slots this year.

Hattie Whitehead

Hattie Whitehead

Also performing on the night were rapper Lady Sanity, 13th Floor Elevators-esque Early Ghost, south west of England singer/song-writer Henry Green, Marcus McCoan and London’s Gillbanks. All have also been awarded slots at the festival after their impressive performances on the night.

Words and pictures by Joe Lepper

To see more pictures from the night click here.

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Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition 2016 – Acts To Impress So Far

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Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition 2016 – Acts To Impress So Far

Posted on 02 February 2016 by Joe

For the fourth year running I’m spending February helping the Glastonbury Festival organisers unearth some new talent as one of 40 music writer judges involved in the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition .

etcjudgebutton2016

Over this month I’ll be sifting through around 130 tracks and video clips of UK and Irish acts to find three to put through to the next stage in the competition – a place on a 120 strong long list. This will then be whittled down further to a short list of eight acts who will compete at a live final at Pilton Working Men’s Club in April to win the top prize of a main stage slot at this year’s festival.

The winner also receives a £5,000 PRS for Music Foundation Talent Development prize to help develop their career and two runners up will receive £2,500 from PRS.

As with the previous three years I like to focus on some of the acts that have caught my ear so far during judging and are in contention to become one of my three.

Here are some that have grabbed my attention so far.

Luna Tides

Bloke on beach makes an incredible sound by hitting his guitar strings. That’s immediately a little different. Then the voice from this Welsh singer songwriter, called Thomas Seddon who goes by the name Luna Tides, comes in, which is great. Then came the clincher for me – it’s a song that kept rattling around in my head days after listening.

SomaHigh

Unusual rhythms, squelchy keyboards, great vocalist all with a dark bunch of lyrics elevate this four piece from Southampton above the usual indie rock fare. I certainly wanted to hear more after hearing this brooding take on romance.

Josh Savage

There’s a nice laid back folk feel to this track Bella from singer songwriter Josh Savage, who as a child was a soloist touring the world with the National Children’s Choir. The addition of violin on this track reminded me a little of Ra Ra Riot.

Smooth Ends

Indie-poppity pip, pippity-pop. Like finding an old Chesterfields cassette down the back of the sofa this London four piece are firmly rooted to C86 indie pop, with some lovely guitar interplay to boot. This feel good track plus their intriguing listing of Magic Johnson as their genre certainly grabbed my interest.

Sink or Soar

I love a good epic sounding baritone fronting guitar pop and Wit, the vocalist for this trio, certainly fits the bill. With BBC 6 Music’s Tom Robinson already interested they are another act that shows strong potential to put in a good live set at Glastonbury.

by Joe Lepper

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Glastonbury 2015 – Best of the Small Stages

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Glastonbury 2015 – Best of the Small Stages

Posted on 02 June 2015 by Joe

Shock revelation of the day – Glastonbury is so much more than the BBC coverage and the main Pyramid stage line up. So for all you Kanye West haters with tickets in your hand why not pop over to some of the event’s many and varied small stages.

We’ve had a scan through the full line up, which was released this week, and  have come up with our pick of the small stage acts. As with last year William’s Green continues to impress, especially as it hosts this year’s 25th anniversary of Heavenly Records. We also have some old punks, the best of Somerset’s local bands and one of the best indie bands around at the Leftfield.

Stealing Sheep

William’s Green, 4:30pm Friday

We first saw this Liverpool trio supporting Field Music in Bristol three years ago. They play as part of the Heavenly Records contingent, at what has become one of our favourite small venues at the Festival, and are one of the best live acts we have seen. Blending folk, indie and 1960s surf music they are not to be missed.

Declan McKenna

William’s Green, 10:45am Friday

The deserved winner of this year’s Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Competition opens proceedings at the William’s Green stage. Be sure to get up early to see why this teenager won the world’s toughest Battle of the Bands competition.

La Femme

William’s Green, 5:30pm Saturday

From France, via California, this stunning live act blend electro-pop and are another in our list to borrow from 1960s surf culture. Their 2013 album Psycho Tropical Berlin was one of our albums of the year for good reason.

The Phantom Band

William’s Green, 6pm Sunday

Their 2014 album Strange Friend was their best to date and proved why they are one of Scotland’s best bands as they merge rock and electronica effortlessly. Get there early at 5pm to see legendary prog rockers The Bevis Frond beforehand. Both great bookings for William’s Green.

Martha

Leftfeld, 6pm Friday

At Indietracks a couple of years ago Martha was the most talked about band there and for good reason. They are injecting some much needed energy into an increasingly introspective UK indie scene. Billy Bragg and co, who curate this stage, certainly know their indie music. An impressive booking.

Buzzcocks

Leftfield, 9pm Sunday

Leftfield again impresses and has bagged the legendary punk act Buzzcocks. With guitarist Steve Diggle still playing like a 17-year-old on stage and Pete Shelley’s timeless lyrics of love this looks like one not to be missed.

Nick Parker & the False Alarms and Flipron

Nick Parker and the False Alarms Avalon Café, 7:30pm Friday

Flipron, Avalon Cafe 1:30am Saturday and Bandstand 7:30pm Sunday

Nick Parker and the False Alarms

Nick Parker and the False Alarms

Two of Somerset’s best live acts are back again at Glastonbury, which once again is showing a strong commitment to promoting local talent. While Parker and crew focus on bittersweet folk rock  tales of love and life, Flipron will be showcasing their trademark brand of whirly-gig hipster new wave (note: actual genre may not exist).

Compiled by Joe Lepper

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Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Finals – Pilton Working Men’s Club (April 11, 2015)

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Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Finals – Pilton Working Men’s Club (April 11, 2015)

Posted on 12 April 2015 by Joe

It was the closest Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Contest finals I’ve seen in three years as one of 40 music writers, who help sift through thousands of entries in the early judging stages.

Last year as soon as innovative electro pop act M+A had completed the first of their allotted two songs the audience at Pilton Working Men’s Club near the festival site, knew they had watched the winner. The same happened the year before with the beautiful folk of Bridie Jackson and the Arbour.

K.O.G. and the Zongo Brigade

K.O.G. and the Zongo Brigade

But this year was different. At least half of the eight acts tonight put forward a great case for being chosen as the winner by the judging panel, that included the festival’s stage bookers and organisers Michael and Emily Eavis.

In the end it was 16-year-old singer songwriter Declan McKenna who won.

Why did he win in this closely fought competition? The power of a song helped. In Brazil, the first track of his two song set, this bandana clad kid had the best song of the night, an immediately catchy track with a great melody all from him, alone on stage with his guitar, synth and box of tricks for company.

Declan McKenna

Declan McKenna

Also the focus of the contest, to uncover original emerging talent, shone through. His precocious talent was hard to ignore. If the 16-year-old McKenna can create music like Brazil now then what can he do in five, ten, 15 years time? This boy will go far and the judging panel knew it.

If second placed Shields had won there still would have been a worthy winner. Their powerful rhythm section elevating them above the usual indie pop fare. So too with third placed K.O.G. and the Zongo Brigade, who started proceedings with an energetic set combining African music, funk and rap.

Shields

Shields

But there was far more than these three. MoD was sensational with his hip-hop jazz fusion. And Princess Slayer, with their stadium friendly set were another valid contender for the top prize

While the rest of the acts may have lacked the eventual winners’ originality they all were worthy finalists, from the folk of Lucy Kitchen to the well-worked vocal arrangements of Isaac Lee-Kronick.

Declan McKenna receiving his prize from Michael Eavis

Declan McKenna receiving his prize from Michael Eavis

Shortly before presenting McKenna with his prize of £5,000 and a main stage slot Michael Eavis announced that all the acts would be appearing at the festival. It was a fitting end to a contest that continues to impress.

by Joe Lepper

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Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition – Three Acts To Impress So Far

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Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition – Three Acts To Impress So Far

Posted on 02 February 2015 by Joe

For the third year running I’m spending February helping the Glastonbury Festival organisers unearth some new talent as one of 40 music writer judges involved in the event’s Emerging Talent Competition.

emerging

Over this month I’ll be sifting through around 150 tracks and video clips of UK and Irish acts to find three to put through to the next stage in the competition – a place on a 120 strong long list. This will then be whittled down further to a short list of eight acts who will compete at a live final at Pilton Working Men’s Club in April to win the top prize of a main stage slot at this year’s festival.

The winner also receives a £5,000 PRS for Music Foundation Talent Development prize to help develop their career and two runners up will receive £2,500 from PRS.

As with the previous two years I like to focus on some of the acts that have caught my ear so far during judging and are in contention to become one of my three.

For the final three acts I’ll put through I’m looking for a strong live performance in their clip and being able to offer something different. Here are some that have grabbed my attention so far. I’ll post again over the next week or so with another batch of bands to impress.

New Opera Hero

New Opera Hero look like they could be incredible live, combining indie rock with 3D holographic effects and dance. If they were to make an appearance at the live finals it would test the Pilton Working Men’s Club’s lighting and sound engineers to their very limits.

Miss Halliwell

The second act to spark my interest so far is Miss Halliwell from Birmingham. According to their Wikipedia page, so it has been taken with a punch of salt, this act have been going on and off and in various guises since 2007. Now sounding something like a cross between The Fall and that Phil Daniels bit on Parklife they have a ramshackle feel and stand apart from other indie rock acts I’ve heard so far.  At this stage I can’t tell whether they are the best band ever or the worst, another trait that reminded me of The Fall. To make us work hard they don’t appear in this clip until just after the one minute mark.

Moonlands

The final act to grab my attention during the first 40 or songs I’ve listened to so far is Moonlands who combine 1950s guitar twang, with songs about proms and moody indie-chic. Reminiscent of Beach House and Frankie Rose they show real promise.

 by Joe Lepper

 

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