We follow a horse box most of the final part of our journey to Pilton in Somerset 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.
With the Grand National on the radio it seems fairly apt, and we're already taking odds on whose tonight's favourites will be of the runners and riders first selected by 40 music bloggers from thousands of entries, to make a long list of 120, before they whittled down to a shortlist of eight by judges including Emily Eavis. As has become the norm each act 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 to the starting line was Cornishman Marcus McCoan, the frontman on guitar augmented to a trio with drums and keyboards. He makes a decent go at the performance with a nice warming vocal delivery and no sign of any nerves.
He's quickly followed by another display of decent vocal talent from Hattie Whitehead a five piece with folk stylings. I wish we had more of a chance to hear more of her compositions, ten minutes just didn't seem long enough.
Whilst up to now it appears to be a competition of great vocals, the next band offer up a more varied musical style. The lead singer of Early Ghost has a slightly affected vocal (perhaps nerves) but I really like their grooving rhythm and Doors influence, and the potential of 'Devil's Got Me Now'. I really want the band to let loose, they appeared to be a bit restrained and the saxophone seemed a bit quiet. I'd like to see a longer set, and up to this point they were may favourites to win the competition.
Henry Green is who I'd put my money before tonight's competition, but I wasn't quite expecting someone that looked so young. The glasses wearing songwriter bounces around in front of the quartet, leading me to miss write my notes on the singer as Harold Lloyd. Certainly their music has a proficient timeless quality about it that extends beyond his youthful visage. I slightly preferred the band before him, though Henry's fare is far more likely to be popular.
She Drew The Gun are up next and show us everything those in the running have lacked so far. The four piece led by Louisa Roach are not afraid to showcase something a bit different - a riffing of what may be a goth guitar lick and some broken lyrics delivered with flawless weight brings us glimpses of what they can do, and the set closer 'Poem' literally blows us away with it's political charge and call to arms drum beat - if nothing else they're surely a future Leftfield act. They have that festival vibe about them, and in my book are in the running to win tonight.
Four piece indie guitar band Gillbanks bring us technical noodly freeform guitar tracks, no gimmicks and quite proficient at what they offered us. They're another band who could have done with a longer set to really showcase where they take their sound. The lead singer's from Falmouth and started the band post degree, on the music displayed tonight he's making a good start to a future career in music.
They are followed by Bossy Love who have a natural show-woman in their uptempo lead singer Amandah Wilkinson, previously seen as Operator Please, a keyboard player, and drummer John Baillie Jnr (he of the fantastic Dananananakroyd). Amandah is clearly going to be a star who brings a bit of humour and wins the crowd over in seconds tonight. This is quick sharp up for it lively likeable pop. Another contender for tonight's title she makes a surging charge for the finish line, and just may have got her nose in front with 'Sweat It Out' a hook laiden splurge of upbeat pop. We want more!
More female talent is on show with our last act Lady Sanity, and another musical style on show, there's been a great mix of styles tonight and they've all been of a high standard. Now it's time for hip hop, and Lady Sanity delivers it well. Another contender for tonight's prize is coming up the rails with a performance that reminds me of that other Lady - Leshurr, and boy can she flow. Smooth flowing freestyles like 'Kind Of Funny' talks about the music industry and effortlessly delivers with a clean jazz infused hip hop trace.
She's another act I want to hear again, a number of times just to catch all the lyrics. She's sure to get a fair bit of airplay in the future, and live she gets the crowd singing along with her. Oh my gosh the judges have a four horse race at least to decide on tonight. Just Lady Sanity and her backing track have pretty much matched all the other acts who have filled the stage with their kit.
There doesn't seem to be as many people here to enjoy it as there has been in previous years, and it's not as packed or as hot as I remember it being in the past. 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 us all that all the acts had secured a place in front of the Festival audience this summer. He also quips about how far everyone's come, including Shepton Mallet. A deserving She Drew The Gun are given the top prize from Michael Eavis, who revealed Bossy Love, and Hattie Whitehead had come runners up. Personally I'd have added Lady Sanity, and Early Ghost to the list.
Another great showcase of talent had once again kept us entertained, those who have a ticket to the Festival this summer should try and take the time to catch some of the new music talent it showcases whilst they are there. A good starting place would be any of the acts we watched tonight, they all deserve their slots at the Festival this year. To name drop the winner of the Grand National - anyone of them could 'rule the world' in future.
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