Festivals these days aren’t just about hanging out in some sprawling greenfield site. Cities host their own versions too - they also have the advantage of being on the industry’s own doorstep, and therefore a great place to be seen by more people who can make a difference to your career.

Anita Awbi
  • By Anita Awbi
  • 17 Jun 2010
  • min read
Most of the bigger festivals now dedicate one of their stages to giving new talent a break. Like Isle of Wight Festival promoter John Giddings, who books 25 bands to play the new music Acoustic Stage.

‘We run a competition offering local bands the chance to play,’ says John. ‘Our Acoustic Stage is run by people from the Isle of Wight’s Platform One College of Music. I believe in embracing local talent. I have a dream that I’ll discover the next big rock four piece – the new Free or U2. You have to nurture the grass roots side of things otherwise new talent doesn’t have a chance.’

DF Concerts, who promote Scotland’s biggest music festival T in the Park, have been running the new music T Break stage for the last 10 years. ‘It’s been a real success,’ says Dave McGeachan. ‘We’ve seen the stage expand from a very small marquee to a 1,500 capacity tent.’ Big successes coming up through T Break have included Frightened Rabbit, The Dykeenies, The Law, and many more.

How can Scottish bands enter? ‘They need to send us a demo submission and then an industry panel selects the best,’ says McGeachan. ‘We break the final 48 acts into two sets of showcases: four of them in Glasgow’s King Tut’s and four nights usually in an Edinburgh venue.’

Top tip: Many festivals offer battle-of-the-bands style competitions to play the new music stages. Remember to work any local angles - most regional promoters are passionate about their local music scene. Festivals aren't ony found in muddy fields anymore, visit our Urban festivals page for more.