After a month long search of the nation’s finest acoustic acts, the final of the Yorkshire Unplugged competition, hosted by Carl Malony drew to a close on the 23rd May, having chosen it’s five finalists from the previous week’s semi-final gigs at The Forum in Sheffield.
Now in it’s second year, the competition has attracted nationwide attention bringing in musicians from London, Birmingham, Manchester and around Yorkshire.
Musicians get the chance to perform in weekly semi-final heats, where voting is thrown open to the audience who decide the fate of the contestants, who have a chance of winning a professionally produced music video, studio recording time, a distribution deal, a promotional photoshoot and a main stage performance at a UK music festival. This year the competition’s sponsors included: Big Dog Studios, MusicPort Festival, Higher Rhythm , Sammi Sparke Photography, Rivers Rush and Epiphone Guitars.
Performers Mark Nichols, Kid Conventional, Ian Scholefield, The Broken Saints and Young Peculiar made up the finalists, who each took to the stage to perform four songs of their choice, a mixture of originals and one cover version from each act, to a packed out venue.
This year the proceedings were judged not only by the audience in a public vote but also by a panel of industry professionals, The Van Susans; a five piece, acoustic, folk-rock band from London with years of touring experience and two albums to their name released on Beatnik Geek Records.
After much deliberation by the audience and the Van Susans, Birmingham’s Kid Conventional was crowned the 2013 winner and took to the stage with host Carl, to thank all who voted, posed for his promotional photographs and left somewhat shocked by his win.
Such a strong lineup was reassuring to see that in a time when live music has so often been replaced with karaoke, nights and blaring discos in city centre venues. Yorkshire Unplugged has proven that original acoustic music is making a revival and new, exciting talent is being recognised for all the right reasons.
Think you have what it takes to perform in the 2014 competition. Go over to www.yorkshireunplugged.com/enter-2014 to apply.
– Charlie Barker