Glastonbury Festival is gearing up for its 2019 and at the moment just 3 of the acts appearing have been announced: Stormzy, Kylie Minogue and Janelle Monae. However, today there’s a bit more news as the festival announces details of its 2019 Emerging Talent Competition, which is once again supported by PRS for Music and PRS Foundation.
Every year since 2011 I’ve been involved in helping judge the Emerging Talent Competition and 2019 will be no different as I join a panel of 29 other UK music writers to help compile a longlist of 90 acts from the entries. The longlist will then be narrowed down to a shortlist of eight artists by judges including Glastonbury organisers Michael and Emily Eavis, before the live finals in Pilton in April decide the winning act. For the past four competitions, all eight of the finalists were offered slots at that year’s Festival.
The competition gives new UK and Ireland-based artists of any musical genre the chance to compete for a slot on one of the main stages at this year’s Festival. There used to be a misconception that only folky or rock-based acts stood a chance of winning, but the last few years have demonstrated that this is far from the case. We’ve yet to have a jazz act or an ambient electronic artist win, but maybe 2019 will be the year?
The winners of the free-to-enter competition will also be awarded a £5,000 Talent Development prize from PRS Foundation to help take their songwriting and performing to the next level. Two runners-up will also each be awarded a £2,500 PRS Foundation Talent Development prize.
Acts can enter the 2019 competition for one week only from 9am Monday 28th January until 5pm Monday 4th February 2019 via glastonburyfestivals.co.uk.
Recent Emerging Talent Competition finalists include Nigerian-born rapper Flohio, who features on the BBC’s Sound of 2019 list; R&B singer Izzy Bizu (a 2016 BRITs Critics’ Choice nominee and winner of the 2016 BBC Music Introducing Award); and singer-songwriter Declan McKenna, who won ETC 2015 and subsequently signed with Columbia and released a successful debut album. The 2017 ETC winner was soulful singer Josh Barry, who has since toured with Rag’n’Bone Man and Gorgon City and is due to release his debut album this year. Meanwhile, 2016 winners She Drew The Gun have received considerable acclaim for their politically-inspired psych-pop, with their latest album Revolution Of The Mind named among BBC 6 Music’s Top 10 albums of 2018.
And even if they didn’t make it through to the final, previous longlisted acts include the likes of Nadine Shah, Circa Waves, Slaves and Fickle Friends who are all now pretty well-known names. Some of my past choices of longlisted acts include the likes of AK/DK, Cosmo Sheldrake, Wyldest and Avec Sans. I’ve yet to pick the winner (a lot depends on what selection you are asked to judge) although I have chosen acts that have made it through to the final.
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). As a judge here’s an important tip for any artist thinking of entering from me: make sure the links you supply work. Every year there are always acts that either provide an incorrect link or then removes the video / track before the competition. Also make sure the live performance is representative of what you do and is actually live. Ultimately if you make it through to the final, you’ll have to play live and it will be hugely embarrassing for everyone if you can’t do it well.
So, if you want to enter, set a date in your diary for Monday 28th January and get your entry in sharpish on the Glastonbury website. And good luck!