Glastonbury 2020 Emerging Talent Competition: Longlist & FMS Selection Announced

FightmilkAbi Rose KellyBrigid O'Neill

Way back in January, we wrote about the exciting news that FMS Magazine would be helping judge Glastonbury Festival’s 2020 Emerging Talent Competition, the annual event supported by PRS for Music and PRS Foundation.

Quite a bit has happened in the world since then – don’t know if you’ve noticed – and Glastonbury has since announced that 2020’s festival isn’t going ahead this year. That left the matter of Emerging Talent Competition somewhat up in the air. Thousands of entries had already been narrowed down to a wildly talented longlist of 90. With no Glastonbury Festival to act as their springboard to surely inevitable superstardom, what fate would befall them?

In amongst the turmoil, Glastonbury have decided they still want to support exceptional new talent at a time when independent musicians could really do with some support. They’ve announced the competition will continue albeit completely online for the first time. The winners and two runners up will get to play Glastonbury 2021, presumably alongside whoever should win next year’s competition. Seems like a decent outcome for everybody, right?

Fightmilk are the perfect marriage of indie-rock and pop: their lead track ‘I’m Starting To Think You Don’t Even Want To Go Into Space’ is not just an A* track name – it’s a radio hit and a festival anthem in waiting.

Follow @fightmilkisaband

“At a time when the live music industry is on hold, and upcoming artists are not able to get out there and showcase their talents, I’m so pleased that we’re still able to shine a light on the best new acts in the UK and Ireland through the Emerging Talent Competition,” said Glastonbury co-organiser, Emily Eavis. “I’m hugely looking forward to hearing the 90 acts on the longlist – and I really hope that lots of others will listen and choose their favourites too.”

Joe Frankland, CEO of PRS Foundation said: “The Emerging Talent Competition is an incredible opportunity and has been a fantastic springboard for so many successful music creators, including Declan McKenna, Marie White, Flohio and Izzy Bizu. This unique combination of the opportunity to perform at the iconic Glastonbury Festival and receive vital career support has had a real and sustainable impact on those artists’ development. I’m very much looking forward to seeing who the winner and runners-up are this year.”

Abi Rose Kelly produces a swaggering, confident noise. She packs a solid guitar punch yet never takes her eye off ensuring there’s a great tune at a song’s core.

Follow @abirosekellymusic

“We are so pleased the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition is still going ahead,” said Amy Field, Senior Events Manager at PRS for Music. “It’s something positive to focus on during this uncertain time and with the unfortunate cancellation of Glastonbury Festival this year. We know that many music creators are currently facing challenges, and so we are proud to be able to continue this project with PRS Foundation and Glastonbury to keep the momentum going and provide some much needed support to artists taking part.”

FMS couldn’t be happier with our top three nominees: Fightmilk, Abi Rose Kelly and Brigid O’Neill. Fightmilk are the perfect marriage of indie-rock and pop: their lead track ‘I’m Starting To Think You Don’t Even Want To Go Into Space’ is not just an A* track name – it’s a radio hit and a festival anthem in waiting.

Northern Irish Brigid O’Neill is supremely confident both musically and lyrically. Her combination of a relaxed, kinda country/jazzy sound, combined with an eye for a tightly woven, distaining lyric is a treat.

Follow @brigidoneillmusic

Abi Rose Kelly produces a swaggering, confident noise. She packs a solid guitar punch yet never takes her eye off ensuring there’s a great tune at a song’s core. Make ‘James’ Corsa’ the first track you listen to, then ‘Polaroids & Violence’. Finally, Northern Irish Brigid O’Neill is supremely confident both musically and lyrically. Her combination of a relaxed, kinda country/jazzy sound, combined with an eye for a tightly woven, distaining lyric is a treat. Her track ‘Iron In Your Fire’ should be your first port of call, then there’s a canon of other great songs to explore on her Spotify or Soundcloud.

The winners of the free-to-enter competition will also be awarded a £5,000 Talent Development prize from PRS Foundation to help take their songwriting and performing to the next level. Two runners-up will also each be awarded a £2,500 PRS Foundation Talent Development prize.

We’re diehard supporters of these three in the competition, but we’d also be fools to deny the quality of acts on show across the whole longlist. Have a listen then look out for the announcement of which eight acts have made the final in a few weeks’ time.

Words: Mark Muldoon

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