This year’s Breakthrough Music Awards celebrated an unbelievable Live Final at 60 Million Postcards, Bournemouth on Saturday 16th April. The talent of all six finalists blew both the audience and the judges away and made for a hotly contested night of incredible live music that won’t be forgotten in a hurry!
Over the past month the initial submissions, numbering in the thousands, were whittled down to ten. The ten went through to a tense public vote where thousands got involved to decide the six LTBMA16 finalists, who battled it out at the Live Finals to win one of two highly-coveted slots at the festival.
The venue was at capacity as each act performed a fifteen minute set in front of four judges who would ultimately decide the winners. Our judges were James Shepard, Festival Founder and Director, Simon Emmerson, Producer, DJ and founding member of Afro Celt Sound System, Kristian Davis-Downs, Label Manager at Naim Records and Laura Lewis-Paul, Founder and Director of Saffron Records and recently tipped as one of Bristol’s top five women in music by Rife Magazine.
Salisbury’s The Neighbourhood Strange were first up, describing their sound as ‘edgy, punk-tinged, psychedelic garage-rock’, the five-piece certainly got the crowd warmed up and kick started the Live Final in style.
They were followed by solo artist, singer-songwriter Jazz Morley, whose beautiful lilting songs rendered the whole audience speechless, the venue was captivated!
Third to the stage, Bare Jams, a joyful seven-piece band who, by combining brass instruments with funky tunes and ‘a sneaky bit of reggae and ska’, had the whole audience dancing and cheering.
Ready to rock, Elixir, a Southampton based four-piece were up next, stunning the audience with their high energy set. With classic rock sounds inspired by Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix, these guys really knew how to perform!
Bella Fitzella’s swinging jazz and soul took centre stage as the fifth act of the Live Final. With vocal references from Ella Fitzgerald to contemporary artists Alicia Keys and Caro Emerald, Bella and her band were fantastic.
The final act of the evening were Coosbay, a three-piece from Bournemouth who take inspiration from the lush landscapes of Dorset and transform it into soul-searching, psychedelic sounds, the crowd went wild!
After so many amazing performances the four judges stepped outside to deliberate. Once they’d reached their decision James Shepard took to the stage to announce that Bare Jams and Coosbay are the official LTBMA16 winners to great cheers from the audience!
James Shepard told us more, “The standard of all the acts was incredible, but I can’t wait to see winners Coosbay performing again at the festival in our new venue The Chase. And winners Bare Jams were great – they had everyone up on their feet. They’re a perfect festival band and I know they’ll be a huge hit at Larmer Tree in July”
Thank you to all the acts, the four judges, the 60 Million Postcard team, and everyone who came along to the Live Final – what an evening!