Gigs is the Mayor of London's annual busking competition for young musicians. Launched in 2009, it has seen well over 1,000 talented artists take to the streets to showcase their talent and develop their performance skills.
The competition is open to performers aged 11-25, whatever their musical style, from classical to country, folk to pop and everything in between.
Gigs is all about performing with a real busking vibe. No stage or fancy equipment - just you and your music. All acts need to make sure they're completely portable and can play in a stripped back, lo-fi fashion.
Acts chosen to take part in the competition will get the chance to perform in the summer on our exclusive circuit of Gigs busking pitches that cover some of the busiest, most iconic locations in London. Every Gigs pitch is staffed by a Gigs Event Manager and equipped with a battery-powered amp, microphone and stand.
All acts will be seen by the judges during the live performance period. They will choose 5 acts in each category to reach the Grand Final, held in September. Gigs acts aren't busking for money, but for the public vote. One act in each category is chosen by the public vote to go through the final.
There are three categories in the competition and acts are automatically entered into the one that is right for them.
All performers must be the correct age for the category from the date entries open to the date of the Grand Final.
This category may include instrumental ensembles, rock, pop or folk bands, any type of vocal group. Music must be the main feature of the act but acts in the category may include other types of performance, e.g. elements of choreographed movement or section of speech.
Although most acts enter for the experince of taking part, this is a competition and there are some fantastic prizes up for grabs. The winner of the Soloists and Duos category will receive a sought after licence to busk on London Underground, courtesy of Transport for London. Other prizes include:
- The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance training package
- Recording time at a top professional recording studio
- Time with top industry songwriters
- A stash of busking equipment
- A busking trip to Paris, courtesy of Eurostar
- A host of great performance opportunities around London
The Gigs Grand Final 2016 was held on Sunday 4 September at Westfield Stratford City and saw Clarissa Mae crowned as Gigs Champion.
Cateogry and prize winners chosen by the judges were:
Youth Category: Clarissa Mae
Soloists and Duos Category: Cyreez
The Mayor's Gigs Award, in partnership with ICMP: Nicola Hogg
Eurostar Prize: Luca Fiore
The Gigs Songwriting Prize, sponsored by PRS for Music, is a great showcase for emerging songwriters
Anyone entering Gigs who writes their own music can enter the songwriting prize. Six winning songs are chosen by a panel of judges, with an overall winner chosen by Guy Flethcer, Chairman of PRS for Music. Each winning songwriter gets a day of masterclasses with some top industry composers, with the overall winner also performing at the PRS for Music VIP tent at Glastonbury.
The winning songs in 2016 were:
Alex Weybury - Turn Back the Clock
Beth Keeping - No Hard Feelings
Callum King - Everything
Cyreez - Be With Me
Kaity Rae - Before I Knew
Nicola Hogg - Flow (overall winner)