London's hottest new music talent to be crowned Gigs Champion 2013

06 September 2013

Eighteen of London's most talented young musical acts are set to battle this weekend for the top honours in the grand final of Gigs Big Busk, the biggest music competition of its kind in the UK. Organised by the Mayor of London and aimed at 11-25 year olds, this year's Gigs competition attracted over 1,800 entries, more than three times as many in 2012 and the biggest number in the its history. Soloists, groups and even choirs have entered, covering a variety of styles, from pop to classical and country to hip hop.

Whittled down to around 200 acts, young Londoners from across the capital have been playing at high profile locations throughout the summer, including on London Underground, at railway stations, in front of St Paul's Cathedral and the Royal Exchange, as well as the O2 Arena and 'Westfield Presents' at Westfield London W12, where the grand final will take place on Sunday 8 September. The free event will see the 18 finalists playing to tens of thousands of people at one of the busiest shopping centres in Europe.

They are also be bidding to be crowned Gigs Champion 2013 before a panel of industry judges: Maggie Crowe, Director at BPI and Governor of Brit School; Yolanda Brown, MOBO award winning saxophonist; Paul Kirkham, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance; Barney Addison, Head of Talent at SYCO Entertainment; and Josh Osho, singer-songwriter and GIGS Ambassador. The compere will be acclaimed Xfm DJ Phil Clifton.

As well as bidding to be crowned London's best young musician of the year, finalists are competing for great prizes. They include a highly coveted licence to busk on the Tube, courtesy of Transport for London; a one-year course specifically designed for them at the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance; recording time at a top studio; equipment; mentoring from industry professionals; and further performance opportunities. One winner will also get the chance to head to Paris to busk around the French capital, courtesy of Eurostar. New for 2013 is prize for best original song, with the winner receiving support from a top writer and producer to develop their song-writing skills.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 'This has been an extraordinary year for our Gigs competition. Not only have we had a record number of entries, but our previous winners have been making a splash in the music industry, with records and playing in the UK and overseas.

'London is bursting with talented young musicians and our Gigs competition gives them the chance to develop their craft and even careers in the business. Congratulations to everyone that took part this year. And as the finalists take to the stage, who knows, we could be witnessing a future global superstar.' Fiona Kyle, Westfield UK’s General Manager Entertainment and Events, said “We are delighted to be supporting the Mayor of London Gigs Competition for a second year both as host to some of the heats and as the venue for the final. It is incredibly exciting to play a part in these talented individuals starting out on their musical careers. This programme also closely reflects Westfield’s desire to innovate and find ways to delight consumers when they visit our malls. Through our ‘Westfield Presents’ we are very proud to support aspiring artists with a variety of indoor and outdoor and large and small venues in which to showcase their talent on an ongoing basis” Gigs encompasses three categories: Soloists and Duos for people aged 16-25; Youth, for people aged 11-15; Groups, for up to 20 members. There will be a winner in each category and one act will be crowned Gigs Champion 2013. Event details and finalists are as follows:

Event: Gigs Big Busk Final Location: Westfield London W12 Date: Sunday 8 September 2013

Gigs finalists categories borough
Battle of You Groups Hackney
Zara Tobias Groups Haringey
The Kings Parade Groups Barnet
Bring the Colours Groups Barking and Dagenham
The Watling Street Band Groups Greenwich
Stella Star Groups Enfield
Young Brasscalls Youth Hackney
The Ukuladies Youth Southwark
Natalie Shay Youth Enfield
Luena Martinez Youth Barnet
Sam Barnett Youth Lewisham
Jonah Wickers Youth Haringey
Luca di Fabio Soloists & Duos Newham
Ryan Rodrigues Soloists & Duos Merton
Billy Muldoon Soloists & Duos Enfield
Kathleen Soloists & Duos Barnet
Torben Tietz Soloists & Duos Hammersmith & Fulham
Martin Luke Brown Soloists & Duos Hounslow

Time: 12pm-6pm Information:


Notes to editors

1. Gigs Big Busk 2013 From 20 July to 10 August, buskers performed at landmark spots around London. From 27-31 July the competing buskers had a music video filmed at The O2, which was posted online for the public to see and vote. Voting closed at the end of August.

Since 2009, over 1,000 young London musicians have taken part in Gigs and over 100,000 public votes have been cast online Last year 500 young musicians performed during the Olympic Games in the Gigs 2012 busking competition. Between them they played over 2,000 hours of music to over 750,000 people. Gigs winners and finalists are regularly talent scouted by promoters. In 2012, three Gigs acts were signed up by Live Nation's new artist department. A Gigs performer playing on the Olympic Park last year was spotted by Joan Armatrading and asked to open one of her concert.

2. Phil Clifton is a British television and Sony nominated radio presenter, appearing on MTV (UK and Ireland), Channel 4 and Xfm. He was nominated for the 'Sony Rising Star Award'.

3. Gigs Big Busk 2013 Partners: City of London; Eurostar; Institute of Contemporary Music Performance; London Underground; MidTown Business Improvement District; Musician's Union; Network Rail; Roland; The 02; Wendyhouse Productions Ltd; Westfield London W12.

4. Westfield Presents Westfield Presents is a new entertainment platform which will host an unmissable schedule of live on-stage performances from emerging and established artists at Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City.

A unique program of live music events will take place every weekend at the two London centres. Showcasing a great range of local music talent and up-and-coming artists to suit everyone - from chilled out afternoon tunes whilst enjoying lunch with friends, to more upbeat tracks on a Saturday evening before hitting the town.

Up and coming talent will have a unique opportunity to access a large audience with the two Westfield London centres in 2012 attracting over 70 million shoppers. Current established artists such as Jessie J, Adele, Lumineers and Ed Sheeran, have been discovered through talent programs and Westfield will now play a key part in creating a new discovery platform.

Westfield Presents is an important addition to Westfield’s entertainment and leisure offer including over 65 places to dine and Vue Cinemas, the highest grossing cinemas in the UK.

5. Making Music Matter In 2010 the Mayor published Making Music Matter, London’s first music education strategy. He set up the Mayor’s Music Education Group, consisting of leading people from the music and education sectors to advise and guide his work. Darren Henley OBE, Managing Director of Classic FM and author of the Government’s Henley Review of Music Education, chairs the Group.

The Mayor's Support for young musicians includes:

- Setting up the Mayor’s Fund for Young Musicians. The Music Fund has awarded 230 scholarships to talented primary school children whose families can’t afford the cost of lessons. It has also given nearly 20,000 young musicians the chance to learn and perform with London’s top professional musicians such as the London Symphony Orchestra and Bollywood Brass Band. - Carrying out a major music education survey which revealed that over 200,000 children (1-in-6) are learning instruments across London. - Securing music industry sponsorship for a brand new Music Rehearsal Space for young people in Tottenham which is due to open in early 2014. The Space will be supported by music publishers Beggars Group and the London Borough of Haringey. - Showcasing London’s most talented young musicians through Gigs – the Mayor’s annual young buskers competition for 11-25-year-olds. In 2012 Gigs performers played to an audience of ¾ million people in iconic locations across the Capital, from St Paul’s to The O2. - Next year the Mayor’s music programmes will see £1million being invested in music education, benefiting tens-of-thousands of young Londoners.

6. Mayor's Fund for Young Musicians: Music has the power to change lives. The Mayor’s Fund for Young Musicians makes this a reality for thousands of young Londoners from disadvantaged backgrounds. We address a gap in music provision in primary schools across the whole of London through our music programmes, which include four-year scholarships, in the knowledge that good music education can have a transformative impact on a child’s personal, social and academic achievements. We need to raise over £1million a year to support our charitable activities. In just two years we have directly worked with 6,500 young people across the capital. For more information, please visit Registered charity no. 1141216