Music talent contests have got a bad name with discerning music fans over the last few years. X-Factor has shifted the emphasis away from what they should be about (the clue is in the name – talent) to being more about celebrity; which is a shame, because in their rawest form these competitions can be an incredible platform for unknown and emerging artists and exposure of their music.
So let’s count our blessings for Glastonbury Festival’s Emerging Talent Competition which gives new, unsigned artists from the UK and Ireland the chance to compete for a main stage slot at this year's festival and the likes of Jedward and Rylan have absolutely no chance of getting anywhere near the prize. The reason? Because of the way the selection process works, with a judging panel that is far removed from the likes of Simon Cowell and Tulisa.
With 8,000 entries submitted in the one week in January, 40 UK music blogs (including Breaking More Waves ) are busy whittling them down to a long list of 120 acts which will be published on the Glastonbury website on Friday 8 March. Each blogger judge is provided with a list of around 200 artists to listen to, mainly from their preferred genres. Over the last few days we’ve been listening to songs from the world of pop, electronica, folk, indie and acoustic music which largely represents the normal output of the blog - with the added bonus of single genre attention deficit disorder unlikely to kick in as the musical output is varied.
From the 200 artists we’ve heard we will be putting forward three to help form the long list. Then a new panel which includes festival bosses Michael and Emily Eavis will select a short list of eight who will be invited to play at a live final at Pilton Working Men's Club near the festival site in April. Previous winners and entrants of the competition include The Subways, Scouting For Girls, Stornoway and 2011 winners Treetop Flyers.
As part of the judging process the festival allows the blogger judges to write about any artists that they enjoy during the listening process. So this week on Breaking More Waves we’re running a series of posts featuring one act a day that has caught our attention from our selection of 200. Please note that just because we are featuring an artist does not necessarily mean that we will be putting them through to the long list. We have more than the five artists that we’re covering this week for consideration as our final three. Also please note that if you are an artist we are posting about this week please do not make contact with us while the judging is taking place - we will not be able to communicate in any with you at this point.
Because of the credibility of the competition and the prize on offer it may come as no surprise to find that some of the bands on our playlist have already had significant blog coverage and are already known to us. They may not all be completely unknowns. We may have even written about some of them in the past, but they still very much fit within the definition of emerging.
Such is the case with our first selection. High Wycombe’s As Elephants Are is an indie rock band who have already gained a fair bit of blog adoration (and rightly so) and have found their debut single War Cry (streaming below) being played on national radio. What makes War Cry stand out is its sheer blistering sonic ambition and that, at its heart, there’s a real sense of purpose about this band.
As Elephants Are - War Cry