It is a well known fact that aspiring U.K artists face a constant struggle against the barriers that have been thrown in front of them. Be it lack of funds, rejection by the mainstream media or just the absence of a decent venue, many talented young performers have fallen by the wayside.
However, through the most unlikely of partners, Vauxhall Motors, many unrecognised artists could now have the chance to get their skills seen and promote themselves to a host of top industry names.
Throughout the end of this month and into December, the Vauxhall Tribes competition will be touring the country in search of the next big thing. The competition is open to any performer who specialises in urban/ hip-hop dance or music. Vauxhall are looking to reward the most talented MC, beatboxer or dancer with £1000 at each of the four events.
The dates for the competition are as follows:
- 25th November: The Hi-Fi Club, Leeds
- 26th November: Poppy Reds, Birmingham
- 2nd December: Pressure Point, Brighton
- 3rd December: Sea Club, Newcastle
After a successful trial event in Kennington Park, London in September, the event has gone on tour and is backed by some of the cream of U.K talent. B-Girl Firefly, UK beatbox champion Beardyman and organizer of the UK B-Boy Championships, Hooch, are all involved in judging the X-Factor-esque competition.
Participants will be given two minutes to showcase their talent at each heat. The crowd will then judge who advances (with the judges stepping in to eliminate split decisions). In the semis, contestants will go head-to-head in two round battles with one minute for each round. Those lucky enough to reach the finals will then showcase their talents and the judges will pick a winner.
Artistic director and spokesperson for the competition, Andy Instone, said: “This gives contestants a platform to hone their skills, try out new performance techniques in front of a supportive audience and gauge a greater understanding of what it takes to do this full time. They also get to meet new people on the same wavelength.”
“There are a few competitions going on with urban dance and a few with the voice but not one combining all of these disciplines. The problem is the gaping chasm between the professional world and youth platforms. There are a few of us who are trying to close it but it’s a long process. What a lot of these artists need is a mentor with professional experience that is unbiased and will guide them in the right direction. I feel the few opportunities that are out there should get more attention from the media to help raise awareness.”
Andy Instone is also involved in the judging of the contest and will be the one consistent judge throughout the events. He is amply qualified for the job. He has worked with some of today’s most famous choreographers and dance organisations including Culture Shock Dance Troupe UK, a group who specialise in Hip-Hop and has also worked with Missy Elliot, Lil’ Kim, Justin Timberlake, Beyonce and Michael Jackson.
Since becoming involved in the urban dance scene, Andy has taken great pleasure from uncovering raw talent from around the U.K. He feels that competitions of this nature could hold the key to opening up people’s eyes to the talent that the U.K holds beneath it’s mainstream surface:
“Following the hugely successful Vauxhall Tribes event in London earlier in the year, they’ve organised the regional tour that opens up the stage to all budding urban acts to perform in front of the UK’s top acts.
Vauxhall realize there is a mass of untapped talent in the UK. It could be the guy behind the counter, the girl in the call centre or the city trader that wants to perform but doesn’t know how. They know they have the resources to put on an event like this and give people an opportunity.”