Larmer Tree Festival 2015 announce Breakthrough Music Award winners

The Villanovas. Photo by Stuart Walker

The Villanovas. Photo by Stuart Walker

After an evening of fantastic live music, with acts from across the UK coming to compete, Larmer Tree Festival have crowned the winners of the 2015 Breakthrough Music Awards, an annual event celebrating and supporting emeging talent.

Bournemouth local four-piece The Villanovas and lively folk-duo The Drystones were the two recipients of this prestigious award, beating the other acts for the opportunity to perform live at the festival, joining an incredible line-up of established artists including Tom Jones, Jimmy Cliff, Levellers and Bill Bailey, as well as scooping up four-day passes to the festival this summer.

There was an air of excitement at 60 Million Postcards on Saturday evening (11th April) as the six finalists battled it out for this golden opportunity. Following a gruelling shortlisting process over the last couple of weeks, the judges and a public vote had whittled hundreds of entries down to just six, who each had 15 minutes to perform live and entertain both audience and judges with their best sets.

Kicking off the evening was Cate Ferris, a singer-songwriter from Brighton whose acoustic instrumentation had the audience in awe. Next up were five-piece bluegrass band Papa Truck, who travelled from South Buckinghamshire and their music, bursting with rhythm and energy, had the audience tapping their feet.

Frome folk musician Al O’Kane and his band took to the stage for the third set of the evening with some beautiful songs and clear influences from folk, rock and country music. The fourth act were introduced as a Hastings band who had played live gigs supporting Example, Scouting for Girls and The Hoosiers. Dorey The Wise did not disappoint with an exuberant set and a dry sense of humour.

The Drystones were the fifth act up on stage and were certainly the youngest in the competition. Having produced their first album aged just 16, this folk due are no strangers to awards having won the Mid-Somerset Battle of the Bands in 2011. After a storming set from the Somerset pair which had the audience clapping and jumping around it was clear why they were the winners of the evening.

Last, but by no means least, and with a crowd of home town supporters cheering them on, local-act The Villanovas were up. Named Blues Magazine 2015’s ‘band to watch’ this four-piece wowed the crowd with their guitar riffs, catchy hooks and nod to 60s and 70s, leaving the judges with a very tough decision on their hands.

The Breakthrough Music Awards were judged by an esteemed panel of judges: James Shepard, festival founder, director and music programmer, Rob Challice festival director, CODA Agency and Concert Clinic, and Nuala Honan, musician and music programmer at Larmer Tree, had the difficult task of picking the winners and gave high praise to each of the acts for their superb sets.

“The quality of this year’s acts was astounding. It was a fantastic night of live music and it was very difficult to choose a couple of winners. I was really impressed by The Villanovas; great to see a band so young playing rock and blues like they were born for it. With the right songs and guidance they should go far. Our other winners, The Drystones, have a folk sound with a real energetic kick to it; their music and enthusiasm should be a great hit with our festival audience. We’re looking forward to seeing both bands tear it up at Larmer Tree Festival this July” – Rob Challice, Larmer Tree Festival Director / Coda Agency.

Both The Villanovas and The Drystones will be performing on Thursday 16th July at Larmer Tree Festival, joining a fantastic line-up that includes Levellers and Bellowhead.

In 2014 Larmer Tree Festival introduced a tiered ticketing system, rewarding loyal festival-goers who buy early, and this is in place again for 2015. Super early bird tickets, tier one, two, three and deposit scheme tickets (introduced this year) for the 25th anniversary festival are now sold out.

Tier four tickets and day tickets are currently on sale, with weekend tickets priced from £174 and discounts for children and teenagers. Under-5s go free! For full details visit