A winner in the hotly contested DSF Unplugged competition will be decided next weekend - more than 18 months after the first heat was held.
Three acts - Sunset Jet, Biskee Brisht and Mike Wade and Ian Allen of The Ballaghs - will be performing their own music in the final, taking place at The Black Dog Oven, in Peel, on Friday next week (May 12).
The Deep South Music Festival’s Chris Carr told Island Life: ‘For the 10 years or so Deep South Music festival has been active, we have always been mindful/wanted to do something with local musicians that would encourage them to write and perform their own material. So we came up with the idea of DSF Unplugged.
‘Cover songs can be heard loud and clear any given Saturday night throughout the island but what we wanted, what we really looking for was, to get these guys out of their comfort zone, search for the real voice and hear their real take on the modern world today.’
On offer is a contract to record their very own material at Ballagroove Studio under the watchful eye of Gypo Buggane , cash prizes and trophies.
Chris said they were pleased to receive more than 30 applications from acoustic musicians, duos and groups.
‘Our original vision had been successful and we soon realised there was a demand for Manx artists and bands wanting to showcase their own material for the very first time in a public domain,’ he said.
The first heat took place at Talons bar at the Falcon’s Nest in Port Erin in September 2021 but Chris said the heats took longer than anticipated due to musicians’ availability and TT 2022 and Christmas getting in the way.
Three acts took part in each heat, with the winner from each one selected for the quarter final stage.
The semi-finals were held in March last year.
Eoin Molyneux, Biskee Brisht and Alice Dudley competed in the first semi-final, with Biskee Brisht winning.
Sunset Jet won the second semi-final with Mike and Ian going through to the final as best runner up.
‘From the offset, it was obvious that the standard of entry had surpassed all our initial expectations and this wonderful noise being released for the very first time, through the medium of sound was truly outstanding,’ Chris said.
‘Each artist and band played out their emotion-driven recollection of dealing with life’s testing journey and to the listening audience would be a memory they will never forget.’
He said that the four judges faced a tough task as they considered artist planning, the material, originality, interface with the audience, quality of performance and presentation for each act.
‘The panel of judges were purposely alternated at each heat to ensure no bias would affect the overall outcome,’ he said.
Chris encouraged people to watch the final, saying: ‘If hearing original music for the first time is your thing, then this is the ultimate climax of the elite, currently played out, here on the Isle of Man.’
The final start on Saturday next week at 7pm. Admission is free.
Chris thanked Falcon’s Nest and The Black Dog Oven for their support.