Stendhal Festival of Art has always been an event which has looked to provide opportunities for up and coming musicians from Northern Ireland.
A 16-year-old SOAK played her first main stage set at the event in 2012 and has gone on to achieve huge things in her fledgling career and this year Stendhal is hoping that the second year of their partnership with The Oh Yeah Centre in Belfast and The Nerve Centre in Derry/Londonderry will bring forth some more stars of the future.
The Nerve Centre’s SYNC Music Hothouse Programme will take over the Stendhal Stage on the Friday night and Saturday afternoon as groups of young musicians will finish the summer long scheme by forming bands and making their debuts at Ireland’s Best Small Festival.
The idea of having brand new bands form and play their first gig in a festival setting is not only innovative but as the Director of the Hothouse programme explains, is a massive boost for youngsters trying to make their way in the world of music.
“It’s a massive incentive for up and coming musicians,” says Marty McGill. “The Nerve Centre has always been a huge supporter of youth music but we have never really had a showcase for our students to work towards like Stendhal before.
“With the carrot of being on the bill along-side some of the best musicians in the UK and Ireland we have seen a major upshift in the excitement and the productivity within the Hothouse Programme.
“The quality of the bands we produce is also climbing and this year, there are a great number of our kids that will certainly raise eyebrows at Stendhal this year. You won’t have heard of them before-hand but you will certainly be asking about them once they have finished their set.”
The Oh Yeah Centre’s Scratch My Progress programme is aimed towards acts that are much more established than those coming from the Nerve Centre.
They focus on finishing touches more than introductions and have announced several acts for Stendhal who you really should already know about.
Worm Hears, Vokxen, Hannah McPhillimy, Bosco Ramos and Owen Denvir are the artists selected by Oh Yeah to perform at Stendhal this year and incoming Chief executive of the Centre Charlotte Dryden is excited to once again partner with the festival.
“Oh Yeah is thrilled to be involved with Stendhal again this year, and to be sharing the stage with our friends at the Nerve Centre too. Our talent development programme Scratch My Progress is celebrating five years of nurturing great new music.
“To mark the occasion we will be bringing a selection of acts from across the years to perform at this special event. It’s important to us to be able to provide the acts we work with an opportunity to perform on as many stages as possible and outdoor and festival slots are always a great experience. Looking forward to seeing Vokxen, Worm Hears, Bosco Ramos, Hannah McPhillimy and Owen Denvir do their thing on the Saturday night.”
Stendhal Director Ross Parkhill says that he is delighted that both music institutions are involved with the Festival.
“Both the Nerve and the Oh Yeah provide vital and high class services to the young musicians of Northern Ireland and having them at Stendhal is a real no-brainer for us,” he said.
“Like Stendhal, they are all about nurturing, promoting and offering opportunities to up and coming artists and the quality of work they produce on a regular basis makes them an invaluable resource.
“The line-up coming as part of the Oh Yeah Scratch My Progress is outstanding and we are looking forward to hearing some brand new sounds from the guys coming from the Nerve’s Music Hothouse.
“Last year we heard some top class acts on the programmes of both. We knew the quality we were getting from Oh yeah and we hugely impressed at what the Hothouse programme produced considering they are all brand new bands.”
With Stendhal taking place in just over a month’s time, there is plenty to get excited about for this instalment of the award winning event. None more so than the prospect of seeing the next big thing before they go on to greatness.