Every year (except years off!) Glastonbury Festival gives several bands the one-off opportunity to play at the Worthy Farm weekend via their unsigned bands competition. The contest is split into four sections - dance, world, indie, acoustic - with the winners playing on relevent stages. You'd think that winning a place on a major stage at the world's biggest festival must surely jump-start a previously 'unheard of' into the realms of stardom, but it's not always that easy. So VF caught up with the winners from each of the four genres to see what they got up to for the rest of the summer and how are their futures shaping up now...
Eight-piece acoustic African jazz folk-fusion band Moya said that sadly their Glastonbury expectations were 'dampened by the weather.' Their main set had been axed due to lightning striking the Jazz World stage. Things of course got better once the sun came out and despite their disappointment the increase in exposure that the competition afforded has meant their website has received thousands of hits and a promoter is putting plenty of gigs their way for 2006. They went on to play Frome Festival and Ashton Court later in the summer, before heading back to Swaziland where they are passionate about keeping their music alive. Currently working on some new material, there's the prospect of a second album to be released next year.
Dance category winners The Bellagios now find it much easier to get gigs and have new found respect from the many non-finalised entrants to the competition. They've gone on to be picked for 'City Showcase' and 'In The City-Urban' and are in the process of getting management (scary stuff according to leadman Barnaby). Furthermore they've been working on an album due for release in February.
Although spending a lot of time in the recording studio since the festival, London's The Mad Staring Eye, winners of the newly named 'John Peel Stage'
category, had the pertinent honour of performing for John Peel Day at London's Marquee club. Having recorded a full album they have an EP out imminently, a single due for release in January, and continue to play the London scene.
But what of acoustic category and overall winners The Deadbeats? Keyboard player Jo talks us through the events of summer 2005 and their plans for the future...
Virtual Festivals: How was this summer for you? Did you perform at other festivals or interesting gigs after Glastonbury?
Jo: The band has had an amazing summer. Playing at Glastonbury is pretty much every band's dream and for it to happen so early in our careers was amazing.
We did five gigs at the festival which made the whole thing even more intense. We supported The Coral that weekend as well and played at Bestival on The Isle of White later on in the summer and went on a crazy psychedelic tour of Cornwall and Devon with The Brothers With Different Mothers, which was ace. Our plan after Glasto was to just gig as much as we could and spread the word about our band and hopefully thats happened.
VF: What was the highlight for you?
Jo: Definitely the saturday at Glastonbury. We had to get up dead early in the morning to get ready for the Other Stage gig having been up all night doing a gig on the Concrete Recordings stage. We were first on the Other Stage, which was the biggest gig of our lives. When we finished we didn't even have time to take it in as we had to drive through the site in our little yellow van to the Acoustic Stage. There wasn't even time to take a shit before we had to jump onstage again to play to thousands of people! The crowd were going nuts and it was packed as well. It has to be the biggest and most enjoyable gig to date.
VF: How do you think winning the Glastonbury Festival new bands competition is affecting your careers?
Jo: The exposure has been really good and the respect for the festival means people have taken a closer look at us, more than they normally would. As much as winning the competition has been the kick-start of our career, its important we don't think its gonna make us. You can't get too carried away with yourself. Its important we concentrate on just being a band and making the best music we can and have a good time while doing it!
VF: What are your plans for the immediate and longer term future?
Jo: We have a few more gigs at the end of october, then we're jumping in the van and going to Wales for a month to write and jam. There isn't a bath or shower where we're staying so we're probably gonna have to use the local leisure centre to wash (if at all)! When we get back we have a small tour and then go in the studio to record our first single which will be out some time in the new year. As far as long term plans go, we just wanna make good records and play to people who are into our music. If that means touring the world then all the better!
All 25 finalists can be heard on a double CD compilation for just £5 in support of Shelter, available now from www.concreterecordings.co.uk.