Founded in 2011, the Wath Festival Young Performers Award was set up to nurture and support a new generation of performers in the ever popular folk, roots and acoustic music genres.
Only three acts are selected to attend and perform at the finalists concert and one of them will be crowned the winner taking a main stage performance before the festival headliner, a cash prize, a promotional photoshoot with Charlie Barker Photography, a trophy and a booking at the 2014 festival.
This year the competition received a record number of applicants and York’s Chris Whitley, Lincolnshire’s Connor Bannister and Rose Redd from the West Midlands were selected as the three finalists, who would perform in front of a judging panel of industry professionals Bella Hardy (BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winner), Anna Massie (Scots Trad Music Awards, Best Instrumentalist Nominee) and Danny Stockdale (Wath Festival committee member). Previous judges have included broadcaster Dave Eyre, musician Lucy Ward, record label director Tom Sweeney and musicians John McCusker and Kris Drever.
Following three outstanding performances from the finalists, the judging panel retired to a quiet room to deliberate the musical and performance qualities of each act, and choosing a winner was no easy job with each finalist having a distinct and different strength in their own right.
Chris, enchanted the audience with a strong sense of songwriting and story-telling. Connor, a fine guitarist, showed great depth and versatility in his playing and Rose, accompanied by her brother Sammy, won over the hearts and minds of the audience and judges alike with her soaring voice and entertaining banter between songs and was chosen to take centre stage that night and play on the main stage.
For more information on the Wath Festival Young Performers Award and how you can enter in 2014, go to www.wathfestival.org.uk/competition