By Áilín Quinlan
If you’re able to warble a melody or knock out a tune on the old guitar, it’s time to step up to the plate and show West Cork what you can do – because opportunity is knocking!
The hugely popular 2016 Star Search competition is kicking off next month with a new age limit – it has been increased from 21 to 30 – and auditions taking place in Ballincollig, Clonakilty and Bantry.
So if you’re between the ages of 12 and 30 and can hold a note, why not give it a shot?
‘We extended the age group to between 12 and 30, because we found that there were very talented musicians in their 20s who were interested in auditioning,’ explained Niamh Casey, a member of the organising committee.
This is the 11th year of the competition, whose semi-final is in July, with the final taking place in Timoleague in August.
Some 60 separate acts are expected to audition for the hugely popular contest – but contestants should prepare for stiff competition!
Just last spring, 2015 finalist Áine Carroll from Mayfield in Cork made it through the first round of The Voice UK. Carroll had competed twice in Star Search, winning last summer.
‘We looking for talented singers, bands and groups across all traditions and genres – traditional, pop, folk, rock – we are basically looking for talented performers between the ages of 12 and 30,’ said Ms Casey.
First prize is €1000, sponsored by Charlie Madden’s Bar, plus a recording session at the Lettercollum Recording Studio, sponsored by John Fitzgerald. Second prize is €200 and third is €150.
Don’t be afraid to throw your hat into the ring if you didn’t win last time, urges Ms Casey: ‘We quite often get repeat entries from the same artist! This is basically a platform for young musicians to get a short at singing in front of a large group of people,’ she said, adding that audiences of up to 400 regularly attend the semi-finals, which this year take place on Saturday, July 23rd, while attendances at the final, on August 18th, can reach up to 1,000 people.
‘It’s a very professional set-up with real-life sound engineers. By now, this competition is very much a rite of passage for young musicians and singers from all over the country,’ she added.
Saturday, June 25th – The Quality Hotel, Clonakilty;
Sunday, June 26th – Oriel House Hotel, Ballincollig;
Sunday, July 2nd – Bantry Bay Hotel, Bantry;
Semi-final – Saturday, July 23rd – Timoleague Hall;Final – Thursday, August 18th, The Dome in Timoleague.