Glastonbury boost for new talent

The Subways at Reading Festival 2004 by John Bownas
The Subways at Reading Festival 2004 by John Bownas

As part of tributes to John Peel, this year's Glastonbury will feature more unsigned acts hoping to emulate 2004 winners The Subways, despite fewer bands entering the selection competition.

Around 1,500 acts have already submitted demos in the hope of playing this year’s Glastonbury Festival, compared with more than 2,000 last year.

However, organisers have reaffirmed their commitment to supporting new music by promising to give even more unsigned bands their chance to shine at various venues and stages across the Worthy Farm site.

New bands organiser Hilary White told Virtual Festivals: “We’re trying to do all we can to promote these bands, although we’ve got a difficult job on our hands picking the winners, as the music out there is brilliant.

“The competition started last year, before John Peel’s tragic death, but he championed the idea a lot, bought the album, and featured it on TV. At least one of the winners will play on the newly named John Peel Stage.”

Three more winners will get to play on the Jazz/World, Acoustic and Dance stages, with one overall victor performing on the Other Stage – an honour last year handed to The Subways

However, due to the quality of music already evident from the demos, organisers are keen to roll out as many bands and performers as possible across the smaller venues at the festival.

Mrs White said: “We started doing this in 2004 because there were so many amazing entries that it was difficult to say no, despite them not winning their category. There are many places unsigned acts can play, so we hope to get even more playing Glastonbury than last year.”

Suitable venues include the Avalon Field, the Band Stand, Croissant Neuf, Green Futures Tadpole Stage, Small World Stage and many more. Almost 30 bands played at these smaller stages in 2004.

Organisers are also hoping to compile a double album featuring tracks from some of the best unsigned entries. The CDs would be available at all the official Glastonbury merchandise outlets and half of proceeds would go to Shelter, with the rest being split among the artists.

The winners of this year’s new bands competition are expected to be announced at the end of March, following a series of live heats at Pilton Working Men’s Club throughout the month. The deadline for entries has already passed.

Glastonbury Festival 2005 takes place betwen 24-26 June at Worthy Farm, Pilton. CLICK HERE for more.