Borders promoters give unsigned bands a chance to shine

Alex Howell
Alex Howell
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TWO Borderers who run an events and marketing company and have close links with the movers and shakers in the music industry are on the lookout for unsigned local bands to perform at a major festival, writes Andrew Keddie.

Selected acts will each get a 15-minute slot on the main stage at the inaugural Thistly Fest, which takes place in Dunbar on Saturday, July 28.

And Alex Howell, 22, from Peebles, who runs RAWK Music along with Gareth Anderson from Earlston, has confirmed that A&R executives representing major and independent record labels will be at the festival to check out the talent.

Alex, whose guitarist brother Rob founded indie sensations Come On Gang last year, told us: “We’ve made four acoustic slots available and I really hope that performers from the Borders, who get so few chances to showcase what they can do, will come forward.”

To be in with a chance of making the line-up, potential acts must upload what they think is their best track, along with their name, contact and a little biography to the drop box on the Thistly Fest Soundcloud by June 29.

The competition drop box is

“From the entries we receive, four favourite acts will be chosen to play on the day,” explained Alex, now based in Edinburgh. “A link to each band or artist will be placed on our official Facebook page and the running order will be decided by the number of ‘likes’ each track gets in the run-up to the festival.

“Musicians of any genre are welcome to enter the competition, although they should remember that, on the day, it has to be an acoustic performance.”

Alex, whose mother, Lucy Pappas, was a well-known promoter at Traquair Village Hall, has four years of experience in providing management, tour and technical support for a wide range of artists and companies, including Dewars Whisky and Thistle Cross Cider, sponsors of the Dunbar festival.

Gareth has a degree in public relations and in 2011 went on to set up his own company Pause Record, which provides tailored PR campaigns for musicians and events in the music sector both locally and nationally.

The one-day festival, which starts at 11am, has already confirmed a strong line-up of indie acts including Dan Wilson, aka Withered Hand, and Glenrothes-based garage four-piece Tango in the Attic.