Five Emerging Music Talent Competitions to Enter

So, you think you’ve got talent? The creative world is a hard one to break. Entering a competition to show all the right people what you’ve got to offer can be an excellent career launch pad. Here’s our pick of the best, get entering:

Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent

The most notorious of emerging talent competitions, it gives new UK and Ireland based acts of any musical genre the chance of a lifetime: to play a slot on one of the main stages at Glastonbury Festival. It’s free to enter for one week only every January, so now’s the time to get prepared for the early 2020 intake. Winners are also awarded a £5,000 Talent Development prize, and two runners up a £2,500 one from PRS Foundation to assist in taking their acts to the next level.

Simply supply a link to one original song on SoundCloud, and a video of you performing live (even just in a bedroom) and you could be narrowed down to Michael and Emily Eavis’ shortlist of eight artists. The live final takes part in April in Pilton (and the last four years, all eight were offered a Glastonbury slot). Stay tuned to the Glastonbury Festival website for announcements.

Image: Crack Magazine

Image: Crack Magazine

Green Man Rising

Another festival competition, Green Man Rising has been running for 11 years supported by Green Man Trust and Arts Council Wales. It gives entrants the chance to open the Mountain Stage at Green Man Festival as the winner, as well as an opportunity to shoot a live video session. Runners up perform on the Rising Stage at the festival and even the finalists are given an opportunity to perform. This is at The Lexington, London in front of a panel of music industry insiders. It opens early 2020 and closes in May. Keep an eye on the website for updates:

Open Mic UK

The biggest search for unsigned music artists, this competition holds open auditions all around the country. Every year, starting in August, more than 10,000 people enter: singers, songwriters, rappers, vocal groups and more. All genres are welcome, and acts can perform covers or originals. If you get through to the live shows, you’ll perform to a huge audience and music industry judges in venues such as The NEC and The O2. Last year’s competition featured judges from Modest Management, Universal Music and Sony.

The overall winner will receive studio time to record their debut album, a video for the best single and extensive media promotion from a PR company. Plus, there’s thousands of pounds worth of other prizes up for grabs, including free photos/film of performances and recording studio time. There’s still time to enter for this year, check your nearest audition here:

Image: Keira Cullinane

Image: Keira Cullinane


A new competition for this year, this talent search is all about the live performance, one of the biggest aspects of the industry. The competition takes to Glasgow, Newcastle, Leeds, Birmingham and London (the biggest band and singing contest in these cities) to reach one overall national winner. Something different about Soundwaves is they have a fully staged A&R segment with a management and events promotions arm as part of the competition. It’s an unprecedented opportunity for new acts to experience this support.

Finalists get the chance to perform in prestigious venues to music industry executives. The overall winner receives a UK tour, radio exposure and slots to perform live on air, a chance to develop and sign alongside partner label Subwaves and press exposure. The competition is for acts of all ages, formats and genres. The first stage is applying online, then sending a video. Next, you could be asked to take part in a live audition festival near you. The best from this are invited to perform at The Checkpoint Stage. Finally, there is a national final. 2019 has now closed but you can start entering for the 2020 competition already here:

Tramlines Apply to Play

Grassroots Sheffield based music festival Tramlines hunt for an up-and-coming band or performer to play at the festival each year. There is no fee involved, and alumni include the likes of Imi, Kadija Kamara, Little Grace, Polo, Saint Petersburg, The Golden Age of TV and Universal Tree.

Entrants just need to fill in a form and send in their music, and the shortlist will be judged by BBC Introducing Sheffield, friends of and performers from Tramlines. Find more information here: and keep an eye on their social media @tramlines for when the 2020 competition is launching. 

If you’re an emerging act looking for support, get in touch with us at