Enfield band Stella Star crowned Gigs Champion 2013

09 September 2013

Stella Star, a young band from Enfield, have been crowned Gigs Champion 2013. The three-piece, which features 23 year old singer Stella Charalambous, plus Jack Gillen, 21, and Will Jackson, 20, beat off 17 other acts to take top honours in the grand final of the Mayor's Gigs Big Busk competition, which took place at Westfield London W12 on Sunday.

It was an afternoon of tough competition for the judging panel, with highly talented young Londoners from across the capital vying for the top prize at the annual event, which is organised by the Mayor of London.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 'Massive congratulations to Stella Star. It has been an extraordinary year for our Gigs competition, with a record number of entries and over 40,000 votes cast. The standard of the finalists was incredibly high, making it a Herculean task for the judges to select the overall winner. It underlines the amazing talent there is in London and I wish big success to Stella and everyone that took part.'

Stella Star were initially selected as the winner in the groups category. Prodigious saxophone player, 12 year old Sam Barnett from Lewisham, won in the youth category and 20 year old musician Martin Luke Brown, from Hounslow, came first in the soloists and duos category. The high calibre of the three category winners left the judges with the difficult task of deciding who should be named the overall winner.

A number of prizes were also up for grabs. As winner of the soloists and duos category Martin Luke Brown will get a sought after licence to busk on London Underground. Stella Star will get recording time at Wendyhouse Studios in Shepherd's Bush. Sam Barnett will receive a Roland Cube Street amp, plus microphone and stand. The Eurostar Prize was won by Barnet four piece The King's Parade, who now have the chance to travel to Paris, busking to passengers on the train and in the French capital. Other prizes include: a tailored one-year course at the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance; recording time at a top studio; equipment; mentoring from industry professionals; and further performance opportunities. 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.

Gigs is aimed at 11-25 year olds as part of the Mayor's strategy to increase opportunities for talented young musicians to develop their skills and is the biggest event of its kind in the UK. It attracted over 1,800 entries this year, more than three times as many in 2012 and the biggest number in the its history. Soloists, groups and even choirs 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 performed to enthusiastic audiences 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 took place.

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.'

The panel of industry judges encompassed: 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 was acclaimed Xfm DJ Phil Clifton.


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


Additional media

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.
  • www.london.gov.uk/priorities/arts-culture/access-participation

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 www.mfym.org.uk. Registered charity no. 1141216