Search is on folk stars of the future

One of the Midlands’ leading music festivals is offering folk stars of the future a platform to showcase their talents and reach new audiences. 

Shrewsbury Folk Festival has opened applications for its Launchpad stage that offers young musicians the chance to gain experience playing a major music event. 

The festival is looking for bands, duos or solo musicians aged 16 to 26 who live in Shropshire, Mid Wales or the West Midlands to pitch for one of the slots on The Launchpad stage, which is sponsored by Midlands What’s On, the region’s essential entertainment guide. 

Successful performers will perform at least three 30-minute sets over the weekend at this year’s festival at the West Mid Showground during August Bank Holiday (August 28-31). 

The stage has literally been a launchpad for the musical career of former participants, said director Sandra Surtees. 

“Every year we are astounded at the wealth of talent that we uncover for The Launchpad. Previous performers have gone on to release albums, secure an agent, get UK and international gigs and much more. 

“For many of the performers, 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: “Shrewsbury Folk Festival is one of the top events of its kind in the country and being able to play there is a great step for young musicians who are looking to make a name for themselves and get some festival experience.

“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 28, resident in Shropshire, Mid Wales or the West Midlands, and available to attend the festival between Friday August 28 to 31. 

In return, they will receive a free artist and guest ticket, on-site camping, access to artist hospitality and a contribution to travel expenses. 

To apply, send a short biography, links to performances (Soundcloud, YouTube etc) and your contact details to [email protected] before May 8. Only the selected performers will be contacted. 

This year’s festival headliners include Judy Collins, five time Grammy Award winner Keb’ Mo’, Carlos Núñez, Show of Hands, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, The Young’uns and more to be announced. Weekend and day tickets can be booked through