It's a warm sunny evening as the audience gathers to watch tonight's lucky eight finalists chosen to compete to appear on one of Glastonbury's Main Stages in this year's Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition. The eight had been selected by 40 music bloggers from seven thousand entries, and a long list of 120 and now had just 10 minutes each to try and win themselves a place on the Festival's line-up.
Once again this year sees the competition partner with PRS for Music Foundation to offer prizes for three acts this year. As well as being given a slot on one of the Festival's main stages at Glastonbury 2015, the winners of the competition would also be awarded a £5,000 PRS for Music Foundation Talent Development prize, with the two runners-up also each being awarded a £2,500 Talent Development prize.
First up this year was K.O.G & the Zongo Brigade who amazingly got me moving almost instantly with their African flavoured funky big beats. The colourful nine piece give the competition a vibrant start and I'm thinking immeadiately they are a potential contender and sure to be a good choice for a festival slot with their infectious sound of rap and rhythm.
I'm still wondering if we've found our winner already as we change musical direction with Lucy Kitchen, inspired by Joni Mitchell the folk singer is reminiscent of other solo female guitar players who have graced this competition previously. She's confident and self assured, although her music doesn't set the room alight the performance is well delivered and she is sure to be a future regular on the festival circuit with her engaging contemporary acoustic intimacy.
Princess Slayer are up next with some bouncy synth work and punchy drum beats, the four piece are fronted by the theatrical Casey Lim, and the 10 minute slot doesn't seem long enough for them to showcase their musicality - a riffing of styles with their second number brings us glimpses of what they can do, and we're left wanting more. Had they done enough to win? The crowd clearly think so, their fans at the front shouting, "We have the winner." Possibly, although I think they tried to offer us too much in too short a set to really grasp the prize.
Just to make deciding the winner that bit more difficult Jakl take to the stage and deliver a slice of festival flavoured alt-rock, the band sound like they would fit straight into a line-up with their brand of listener friendly indie music which is well delivered.
They are followed by the bandana wearing 16-year-old singer songwriter Declan McKenna who is clearly a bit nervous and a bit disorganised on stage, but anyone who includes a burp sample in their repertoire, who manages to hit a perfect sampled beat whilst dropping a drumstick and can finish song with the aforementioned bandana having fallen over his eyes clearly has something. His music is catchy and accessible, and he can whip up great melody through his guitar, keyboard, and loop pedals. It's not instantly clear that he'll emerge tonight as the outright winner, but it's certain that we've watched a real artist in full flow.
Declan is certainly an act to watch with a wealth of potential, thinking about it whilst writing this - he is the act whose talent is most likely to develop by winning this competition's prize. He's certainly going to be emerging from this summer with much promise. He is sure to have a future if he flunks his GCSE though I suspect he's a straight A student too.
From here on in it was possible that any of the acts could win the night.Isaac Lee-Kronick was an aural delight and probably my favourite of the evening, he and his fellow female vocalist deliver an otherworldly pace that had me gazing at the dust particles illuminated behind the back of the baseball cap wearing Isaac. There's a sparse alt-country feel to their music, this is something a bit different, think Radiohead meets the Grevious Angel and I hope to hear more at the Festival this summer. Their music isn't instantly accessible, and it's all the better for it, I suspect they won't win but they're another original act showcased tonight.
MoD are the opposite instantly accessible a nice upbeat mix of hip-hop and jazz, that brings a smile to the face and a tap to the foot. The 7 piece deliver a big sound and deserve a place just for their defence of Kanye and a montage of memories from other acts given the 'shouldn't be at Glastonbury' moniker from Beyonce to Metallica, suggest clearly this lot should be. But perhaps it is a dangerous ploy to deliver something so close to the judges minds, bearing in mind some of the haters have gone as far as death threats over the booking of Kanye. I like MoD's effort though, and their enthusiasm, plus they nail both Metallica and Beyonce showcasing how diverse their live set could be.
Last up more indie pop with Shields who deliver a tight set. Asking the kids (as in primary school age) down the front who should win, they all agree that it should be this lot, and perhaps if the competition tonight had been weaker they would have won. The five piece rock it from the off, and it turns out have bribed all the kids with their CDs. They sound like the sort of radio friendly act that we're going to hear more of.
So all that was left was to find out who the judges had awarded the prizes to this year. It came as no surprise to hear farmer Michael Eavis tell everyone that they all had secured a place in front of the Festival audience this summer. Declan McKenna received the top prize from Michael Eavis, who revealed Shield and K.O.G. and the Zongo Brigade had come runners up. One of the best showcases of talent had delivered once again, and if you're lucky enough to have a ticket to the greatest show on earth try and take the time to catch some new music whilst you're there. You can't go wrong with any of the acts who won a place on the line-up here tonight.
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