Breakthrough music competition – finalists announced

The finals for the Larmer Tree Festivals’ Breakthrough competition brings great new music to our very own 60 MPC

This year The Larmer Tree Festival celebrates its silver jubilee and they are running the highly popular Breakthrough Award where unsigned acts get a chance to play the event.

Over the last few weeks artists have been invited to submit an example of their work and the public have voted. Now the six winning acts go through to Saturdays' final at 60 Million Postcards in Bournemouth.

The finalists (in alphabetical order) are;

  • Al O’Kane
  • Cate Ferris
  • Dorey The Wise
  • The Drystones
  • Papa Truck
  • The Villanovas

Judging on the night will be an esteemed panel consisting of James Shepard (festival founder and music programmer), Rob Challice (festival director, CODA agency and Concert Clinic), Nuala Honan (musician and music programmer), and Simon Emmerson (record producer and musician, The Imagined Village and Afro-Celt Sound System).

60 Million Postcards Bournemouth exterior

About the acts

Holding up the West Country's end is Al O'Kane who has apparently visited the Oort cloud. Haven't we all. Al's mellow, soulful music sounds perfect for the Friday morning hangover slot!

He plays a beautiful brand of bluesy folk with great guitar work.

Brighton based singer/songwriter Cate Ferris will be using a guitar, keyboard, loop station & drum to deliver what she describes as 'Dark Folk' which will be nice.  Sumptuous haunting vocals marry with multi-layered instrumentals giving a unique and intriguing sound.

Hailing from the seaside town of Hastings, Dorey The Wise embody the unstoppable DIY ethic of the UK music scene. Under their own considerable steam they've released a brace of cracking EPs, had airplay from BBC Introducing, Amazing Radio, 6 Music and Radio 2 as well as playing live in support of Example, Scouting For Girls and The Hoosiers

Alex Garden and Ford Collier as The Drystones have been carving out a name for themselves on the folk scene which isn't surprising for a band described as 'the Heston Blumenthals of Folk.

Playing what many people might describe as 'proper folk' they combine sea shanty with gypsy to give a traditional 18th century sound.

Bucks band Papa Truck have been playing a lively UK form of bluegrass in their current line up since 2006 and have worked in places as far and wide as Lithuania, Ireland and Berkshire.  

Stalwarts of their local scene, although the band write music with UK themes it's really superb bluegrass all the way. If you liked 'O brother where art thou' then these will be your thang.

See more of their excellent work here

Bournemouth music lovers will have no need of introduction to The Villanovas. This London based band can count a great number of people locally as their fans following their successful appearances in the town before moving up to the smoke to study.

Bluesy,rocky, indie and lively they would no doubt bring an edge to the festival. Is it too much to say they sound like an early Stones? Nah.

The breakthrough awards feature six of the best new bands around and you can be guaranteed a great night of live music.

Get down there, have some fun and cheer on your favourite.

The Larmer Tree Breakthrough Award final is on Saturday 11th April at 60 Million Postcards in Bournemouth.

Words; Stuart Walker

Photos: Stuart Walker , Andrew Bert Greaves

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