Festival offers launchpad to young musicians

Shrewsbury Folk Festival has kicked off a search to find the folk stars of the future who want a platform at this year’s event to showcase their music and reach new audiences. The festival is appealing for bands, duos or singer songwriters aged 16 to 26 who live in Shropshire, Mid Wales or the West Midlands region to pitch for one of the three places available on The Launchpad, which showcases up and coming talent on the festival’s Village Stage.

The Launchpad is sponsored by Midlands What’s On, the region’s essential entertainment guide. Each of the successful candidates will perform two 30-minute sets over the weekend at this year’s event at the West Mid Showground over August Bank Holiday (August 26-29th).

The festival’s artistic director Sandra Surtees said previous bands that have appeared on The Launchpad have gone on to win BBC Folk Awards, play UK and international festivals and secure an agent.

She added: “Every year we are astounded at the wealth of talent that we uncover for The Launchpad. One of our first ever Launchpad performers was The Trials of Cato, which won Best Album at the BBC Folk Awards in 2019 and came back to play our main stage last year.

“For many young musicians, appearing on The Launchpad will be the first time they’ve had the opportunity to take part in a major festival like ours. It’s good experience and the chance to reach a new audience. We’re inviting applications from bands, duos or solo artists in the folk, roots or acoustic genre who’d like this opportunity.”

Davina Evans, Managing Director of What’s On, said this was an invaluable opportunity for musicians. 

“Shrewsbury Folk Festival is one of the top events of its kind and the opportunity to play there is a great step for young musicians looking to make a name for themselves and get some festival experience,” she said. “At What’s On, we know there is a wealth of talent out there from across the region and we’re delighted to be supporting The Launchpad again.”

To apply for one of the available places, performers must be aged between 16 and 26 on August 26th, resident in Shropshire, Mid Wales or the West Midlands region, and available to attend the festival between Friday August 26 to 29th. In return, they will receive a free artist and guest ticket, on-site camping and backstage hospitality.

To apply, send a short biography (including location and ages), links to performances (Soundcloud, YouTube etc) and your contact details to [email protected] before May 27. Only the selected performers will be contacted.

This year’s headliners include Judy Collins, Skerryvore, The Unthanks and the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. Weekend and day tickets can be booked through www.shrewsburyfolkfestival.co.uk.

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