Local acts wanted: Applications open for our Emerging Artist Stage at Festival of Sails 2024

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Local acts wanted: Applications open for our Emerging Artist Stage at Festival of Sails 2024

Words by Staff Writer

It's back! We're once again hosting the Forte Presents: Emerging Artists Stage competition at the waterfront event this January.

Get ready to witness the next wave of musical brilliance as our Emerging Artist Stage returns to the iconic 2024 Festival of Sails, offering solo artists and duos to grab the spotlight and showcase their talent against the breathtaking backdrop of the Geelong waterfront.

As the Geelong waterfront transform into an entertainment hub, combining world-class sailing on Corio Bay with an array of live music and entertainment for all ages, this year we’ve once again teamed up with organisers at the Royal Geelong Yacht Club (RGYC) to bring back our own music stage competition that will see emerging artists and local acts be part of Geelong’s biggest Waterfront Celebration.

Forte Presents: Emerging Artist Stage

  • Applications are open for up-and-coming acts to play as part of this exciting new stage competition.
  • It will give emerging artists the chance to play a 20 minute set at the Festival of Sails in January
  • You have until January 15 – so register your interest as soon as possible!

Keep up with the latest music news, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

The stage gives emerging artists the unmissable opportunity to perform on a proper stage at one of Geelong’s most popular summer events – an event that attracts more than 300 entries, 3,000 competitors and 100,000 visitors annually to the regional city.

Taking place on Friday, January 26 between 12 noon and 5pm, artists will perform 20 minutes sets with audio and lighting supported by the Festival of Sails.

Acts will not only perform at the iconic Festival of Sails, but running as a ‘battle of the bands’ type of stage, the acts will go in the running to win prize money of $500 for the winner and $250 each for two runner’s up, plus feature articles in our February print edition.

The winner of the stage will also perform as part of the Festival of Sails main stage in 2025. The winner and runner ups will be announced from the RGYC main stage on the same day.

Judging criteria includes originality, songwriting/arrangement, vocals, performance, and overall likeability.

As for who can apply, we’re looking for a diverse range of original artists as solo or duos from all different genres. There are no gender and/or gender identity and age requirements. All ages can enter. However, if the entrant is under 18 years of age, the signature of a parent or guardian is required to provide consent.


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Following the success of the inaugural ‘Forte Presents: Emerging Artist Stage’ at the 2023 Festival of Sails, Festival Chairman Paul Buchholz is excited about the return. “Last year’s competition showed we had plenty of regional talent, and we’re delighted to offer this opportunity again to a new batch of emerging musical artists,” he expressed.

Last year’s winner, 27-year-old singer-songwriter Jacqui Lumsden from Warrnambool, reflects on the fantastic opportunity the competition provided. “More than the prize money – which was very welcome – was the amazing feature article in Forte magazine which really attracted some interest in my work,” she shared. Jacqui has since launched her debut EP ‘Enthusiasm’ and embarked on a successful tour across Sydney, Melbourne, Geelong, and her hometown Warrnambool.

Jacqui will also be performing on the main stage at the Festival of Sails at 2.30pm on Saturday, January 27.

“To anyone who’s thinking about entering, I’d say just do it. New opportunity, new audience and who knows, you might even win it!”

How to Apply

Applications are open now. All you need to do is submit the following information to Geelong Entertainment:

  • Artist/act name
  • Contact Name, e-mail and phone number
  • Social and/or website

Artists can register their interest here.

If you’re an emerging artist looking for a unique place to take your next gig, you have until January 15 to register your interest. Applications will close Monday, January 15 2024 at 12pm. 

RGYC will then notify successful artists and provide all logistical information, time and production.