Back to news

Off the record Birmingham

Playing the stages of festivals is so coveted, which allows musicians to reach a wider fan base than what could have initially been possible than playing across their home city.

This allows festivals to champion upcoming talent which will inevitably shape the future of the music scene within the country, and provide a route for homegrown talent into the industry.

Now, festivals are putting prospective musicians on their posters more and more, as breaking onto the stages of the festival used to be elusive, but now it has become more of a reality.

BBC Introducing has had stages at the Reading and Leeds Festival, Latitude Festival and Creamfields, as well as festivals solely dedicated to allowing emerging artists to perform at a festival, such as The Great Escape Festival.

Initiatives are also launched to support the emerging ecosystem where The Isle of White Festival and Glastonbury offer the opportunity for newer artists to play the main stages of their festival.

The opportunities for newer artists to play on the stages of festivals have become plentiful and so far-reaching.

Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent Competition recently released its longlist of 90 artists who have a chance of performing, which has been narrowed down from over 6000 entries.

Amongst this list was Manchester’s euphoric indie pop band, Foxglove who use the GigPig platform to get more gigs in the Manchester area.

GigPig spoke to guitarist Ryan Croney, drummer Liam Croney and bassist Joe Myers about their achievement of being longlisted.

They said: “It feels quite surreal, but it doesn't mean nothing until you're on it really.

“It's cool to see our names next to some really good local bands in and around Manchester, but it would be absolutely nerve-wracking performing in front of the judges and on one the main stages at Glastonbury.

“Foxglove on the pyramid stage, who the fuck are they?”

GigPig offers artists the opportunity to play in a variety of venues to reach a new listenership to build up their following.

With no artist sign-up fees, it gives musicians the chance to earn money doing what they love, allowing artists to still perform a wide range of gigs whilst they’re preparing for the festival season when it isn’t active.

Foxglove spoke about the benefits of GigPig: “The issue is we love playing these gigs and it's so much more than the financial aspects of it, but being in a band is expensive and being able to put out the content you really want to for people to listen to is important and we want to put as much investment into it the best we possibly can.

“But by signing up to GigPig where you don't even have to do much, you just have to put a few things on your bio and then people will contact you if they like you.

“You play a gig, you get a bit of dough for it, who can argue with that, getting money for doing something that you enjoy?

“GigPig is just a good way to actually speak to your clients around Manchester and get your name out there.

“It's just like in any genre of music, if you're a DJ you need to speak to people and be friendly to people, that's how you get your connections out there and that's how you get on to bills a lot easier.”

Foxglove came back from a whirlwind summer that any band would aspire of having, where the band opened the main stage at NBHD Festival where rock giants Kasabian would later perform, as well as playing indie festival Kendal Calling.

Speaking about how great of an achievement it is for emerging artists playing festivals, the band said: “It's such great exposure to play festivals, and when you grow up and you want to be in a band, and you watch Glastonbury and Reading and Leeds, that's where you want to be.

“It's so hard to get onto these festivals as well because there are so many bands applying for them.

“Especially with NBHD Festival last year, when we got to open the mainstage that was such a great achievement because it's so hard to get onto these when there are so many bands who are applying to them at the moment.

“You can have a million gigs in Manchester, but playing one festival will probably stick with you more just because of the sheer size of it.

One of the 30 judges for Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent Competition is Tony Hardy, whose website, Fifty3 champions outstanding contemporary music and new independent artists for the past 17 years.

His weekly blogs have tipped some of the most exciting artists breaking through the music industry, and have additionally supported those artists in their work.

Tony has been on the panel for the past nine years, and in that time he has made it his passion to support and unearth original new music.

Speaking about judging the competition, Tony said: “It's a bit of a mammoth task, because this year, there were over 6000 entries, so I had over 200 to listen to and I could only pick three.“This year was exceptional because of those 200-odd entries, I have only ever heard of two of them before.

“I would say any year, I probably have around 15 artists that I could gladly have put through, but you just have to draw the line, it’s very difficult.

“However, it's definitely an honour to judge, and Glastonbury organisers are looking for people who write about music, and they're very passionate about it, and very much champion emerging artists so that they're tuned in to what's going on.

“But the nature of music is that it is objective, and if someone is out of tune, well you should be able to tell, and I think that is subjective in that you can't say there is a formula for the music, so one person is going to say that's wonderful, and another person might say it’s not great.

Tony spoke about what makes playing a festival for artists such an achievement, he said: “It's one of those things that artists can tick off and say I've done that, it is an emotional thing as much as anything, and they will get it on their CV and say I’ve played there.

“But the emotional side is to feel like you have really made it because it's a great thing to say to your mates.

“However, the reality is you’re not going to be seen by people, and often the smaller acts get tiny audiences at festivals.

“So at Glastonbury in the Green Fields, it's a lovely place to listen to music, but it's luck of the draw if you get a decent crowd.

“But I will always say to people in the music industry to never turn down the chance to play live.

“If you can play live, play live, because you never know you might walk through that door, equally, you can do that all your life and no one will walk through the door, but on occasion, you will be seen.

GigPig aims to ensure that musicians have the opportunity to perform across a variety of venues, with the hope that the artists who use GigPig will appear on the bill of music festivals.