Last chance for young London musicians to sign up for Gigs
With just two weeks to go for entries, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson is urging young London musicians and singers bidding for stardom to enter this year's Gigs busking competition. Performers living in the capital and aged from 11-25 have until midnight on Sunday 31 May to get their entries in for this year's competition. As well as playing at some of the busiest, most iconic locations in London prizes up for grabs include a highly sought after licence to busk on London Underground, recording time, coaching from chart-topping songwriters, equipment and the chance to busk in Paris. The winners will be decided at the Gigs Grand Final at Westfield Stratford City in September. Gigs has already helped kick start the careers of several musicians and bands, including singer-songwriter Robbie Boyd, who is now touring around the world and recently released his first album; James Riley, who is also building a following playing gigs across America ; and Tom Butler who picked up the Gigs 2014 songwriting prize sponsored by PRS for music, giving him the chance to play at this year's Glastonbury Festival; and The King's Parade, who were spotted as a result of their busking prize in Paris and are now touring regularly in Germany and France. The talented buskers taking part in this year's Gigs competition will have the chance to play at this year's Busk in London festival, which kicks off on 18 July as part of the first National Busking Day – a day celebrating street performance taking place in cities around the country. Gigs is open to Londoners between the ages of 11-25, whatever your musical style from classical to pop and R&B to folk. The three categories are: Youth, for performers aged 11-15; Soloists and Duos aged 16-25; Groups, for 2 -8 members, aged 11-25. Their performances will be filmed and uploaded online giving the public the chance to vote for their favourite acts. They will also be judged by a panel of music industry experts. Six performers in each category will go through to the Grand Final on Sunday 6 September. Last year, an estimated 1.8 million people saw Gigs performers across the capital, and it is the UK's biggest free music festival and the country's largest youth music competition. The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: ‘There are talented musicians in every corner of the capital who have a dream of becoming a major star like Ed Sheeran, Mumford and Sons, or Adele. Gigs is a fantastic opportunity to get exposure, build your confidence and expertise playing live and win prizes designed to hone your craft. Come on, you've just two weeks to enter and be part of one of the biggest music events of the year.' Sign up for Gigs 2015 at www.buskinlondon.com, or www.london.gov.uk/gigs. ENDS Notes to editors GIGS · The Mayor's Gigs busking competition is an annual event that has become London's biggest free music festival and is the largest youth music competition in the UK. It is a key part of the Mayor's Music Education strategy, which aims to strengthen and promote music education for young people, as well as supporting London's creative industries. · Each summer Gigs transforms the capital's busiest, most iconic public spaces into a stage for talented Londoners. Gigs attracts thousands of applications and is seen by millions of people · The competition is open to Londoners aged 11-25, who can sign-up at www.london.gov.uk/gigs or www.buskinlondon.com. Entries close on 31 May. Gigs live performances will take place from 18 July – 8 August. Online voting from 18 July-30 August. The Gigs Grand Final will take place at Westfield Stratford City on Sunday 6 September. · There are three categories: Youth, for performers aged 11 – 15 on 6 September 2015; Soloists & Duos for performers aged 16 – 25 on 6 September 2015; Groups, for 2 – 8 members, aged 11 – 25 on 6 September 2015. · This year's shortlisted acts will take part in live performances at Gigs busking pitches at iconic London locations, including at St Paul's Cathedral, Westfield London W12, as well as major rail and Tube stations. The best acts - as chosen by expert industry judges and the Gigs public vote – will go head-to-head in the Gigs Grand Final at Westfield Stratford City on Sunday 6 September. · Winners will have the chance to win a coveted year's London Underground busking licence; recording sessions at a top professional studio; a performance training package from The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance; coaching from chart-topping songwriters; Roland music equipment, exciting performance opportunities and specialist industry advice to help them towards a career in music and the opportunity to busk in Paris thanks to Eurostar. BUSK IN LONDON · The mayor launched the Busk in London programme, the world's first ever city-wide street performance scheme, earlier this year. Backed by founding partners Westminster, Network Rail, TfL and Ticketmaster, the aim is to make busking and street performance much easier in the capital, by reducing the reams of red tape and myriad of confusing rules that discourage performers from taking to the streets to perform. The ambition is to develop a pan-London approach and make the city more busker-friendly. · Busk in London includes a 'one-stop-shop' website, www.buskinlondon.com, bringing together information previously scattered around the web, so that musicians and street performers can quickly access busking locations across the capital. · The website features a new interactive digital map, which provides a network of great busking locations across the capital, and shows the boroughs that have adopted London's first Busking Code of Conduct, common sense guidance, devised by performers, councils, businesses and the police. The map also displays the locations of busking schemes that are already established and information on how to access them – these include the London Underground, Covent Garden and the Southbank Centre. PROTECTING LIVE MUSIC · The Mayor's busking programme is part of a wider drive to promote support London's status as a city of music. · Music tourists contribute almost £600m to London's economy each year and evidence shows live music and performance not only enhance the experience of public spaces for shoppers, visitors and commuters, they help to increase footfall and the amount of time people will stay in an area. · Busking is a testing ground for musicians who are part of a sector that as well as giving pleasure to millions of people, is worth around £1.6 billion. Many successful musicians have busked, including Ed Sheeran, Billy Bragg, Passenger and Frank Turner. · The Mayor recently launched the Live Music Taskforce looking at how to mitigate closures of venues in the capital. For more information go to http://musicvenuetrust.com/london-taskforce.