There may be no live final this year but there’s still a final eight. After three weeks of deliberation, the Glastonbury Emerging Talent judging panel has made its collective call which is great news for eight of my Round 1 colleagues who each have an act represented. And, of course, for the artistes themselves. Alas, my own three choices – Tors, Sophie McGeorge and The Lunar Keys – are not among them but each can take a bow for making it this far. I hope they have gained new fans and, not least, timely morale boosts in these dark times from their achievement in reaching the longlist.
The eight finalists are: Ajimal, Courting, Frankie Beetlestone, Hannie, Joshua Burnside, Kathleen Frances, Matilda Mann and R.A.E. You can listen to their entries here.
It’s arguably a narrower pitch this year with solo performers, especially singer-songwriters, holding sway, though as, always, a quality field. Glastonbury's Emily Eavis commented: “There were so many great acts on the longlist, and narrowing it down from 90 acts to 8 certainly wasn’t an easy task. But I’m really happy with the finalists we have, and I very much hope that people will take the time to check them all out.”
One finalist who really stands out for me is Ajimal. I love the entry on the Google listing for his website -Caution: may contain music it is difficult to dance to. I’ve not heard anything quite as beautiful as “How Could You Disappear” since Sophie McGeorge’s “Dreamrakers” appeared in my own batch of songs to evaluate.
The winner of Glastonbury’s free-to-enter competition will be offered a slot on one of the main stages at Glastonbury 2021, plus a £5,000 Talent Development prize from PRS Foundation while two runners-up will also receive £2,500 PRS Foundation Talent Development prizes. The generous patronage of PRS for Music and PRS Foundation and support of Glastonbury Festival for this annual competition is greatly appreciated by the unsigned music community, never less so than during our current live music vacuum.
There will be no live finals this year, for obvious reasons. Instead, the winners will be selected by Glastonbury’s usual team of live finals judges based on the song and live video each act originally entered. Look out for an announcement soon!
Glastonbury 2019 Photo by Maja Smiejkowska