Nineteen British bands that are signed to independent labels are getting Government grants of up to £15,000 to help them make it big abroad.
The acts are receiving the cash – to pay for overseas marketing, session musicians and roadies – as part of the Music Export Growth Scheme (MEGS).
Winning acts – whose record companies must match the sums awarded – include Sheffield post-rock outfit, 65daysofstatic, who were founded in 2001, as well as MONEY from Manchester, Leeds-based dance producers Maribou State and Lonelady, signed to the legendary electronic label Warp, and the Temperance Movement, who have opened for the Rolling Stones.
Up-and-coming bands dominate the list, including two nominated for the BBC Sound of 2015 prize – Lapsley from Merseyside and SOAK, aka 18-year-old Northern Irelander Bridie Monds-Watson.
MEGS is an inexpensive schemes that was launched last year by the coalition Government, which slashed grants to arts organisations between 2010-15. It is run by UK Trade and Investments, the quango that helps boost British trade abroad, and the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).
Music festivals 2015 guide
Music festivals 2015 guide
1/17 T in the Park
The Libertines have been confiirmed as the first headliners for this Scottish festival at Strathallan Castle with the rest of the line-up yet to be announced. Tickets go on sale on 27 February. tinthepark.com
2/17 Wireless Festival
Nicki Minaj, Drake and Avicii are headlining this festival in London's Finsbury Park from 3-5 July. Weekend tickets cost £209.50 with day tickets also available for £76.45. wirelessfestival.co.uk
3/17 The Isle of Wight Festival
The Black Keys, Fleetwood Mac, The Prodigy and Pharrell Williams are all playing this fun festival in Newport from 11-14 June. There's even a Champagne Garden, treasure hunt and real beach. Weekend camping costs £195 while students pay £180. isleofwightfestival.com
Catch the best dance acts from Avicii and The Chemical Brothers to Armin Van Buuren and Annie Mac at this Cheshire festival. Runs from 28-30 August with weekend camping costing £200. Day tickets start at £85. creamfields.com
The Chemical Brothers, Underworld, Duran Duran and The Jacksons are the first acts to be announced for Bestival's Summer of Love in September. More acts will be announced in the coming months. www.bestival.net
6/17 Splendour Festival
This family-friendly festival in Nottingham's Wollaton Park will host The Specials, Jess Glynne and James among others on 18 July. There will be fairground rides and a free kids area ft. crazy inflatables and giant bubbles. Adults pay £44 and children 10 and under go free. £34 for 11-17 year-olds. splendourfestival.com
Bombay Bicycle Club and Laura Marling are the first headliners confirmed for Somersault, now in its second year and promising ‘five days of stripped-back happiness’ from 23-17 July at Castle Hill Estate in North Devon. Expect plenty of adventures beyond the usual festival fare, from coastal rafting to falconry and yoga. Day tickets from £75 and weekend tickets from £125. somersaultfestival.com
8/17 Reading and Leeds
Metallica, Mumford & Sons and The Libertines headline this rock and indie festival spread across two sites from 28-30 August. Weekend camping tickets for £213. readingfestival.com
9/17 Fling Festival
Held in Hylands Park, Chelmsford on 4 July, this one day boutique festival costs just £22 and features an eclectic range of live music, cabaret and arts. flingfestival.com
The Fling Festival
Join the likes of Portishead, alt-J and Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds in Suffolk from 16-19 July. Weekend camping is priced at £200.50. latitudefestival.com
11/17 Field Day
Caribou, Ride, FKA Twigs and Patti Smith are all playing at this two-day festival in London's Victoria Park from 6-7 June. There's no camping but weekend tickets cost £83 and day passes start at £38.50. fielddayfestivals.com
12/17 Festival No 6
Belle & Sebastian and Grace Jones have been announced as the first headline acts for the music festival in Portmeirion. Kate Tempest and Mercury Music winners Young Fathers will also perform. Weekend camping tickets start at £160. festivalnumber6.com
13/17 Sound City
Sound City at the Liverpool Docklands has a fantastic range of established and up-and-coming artists. The Vaccines, The Flaming Lips, and Belle & Sebastian are headlining. Other great acts include Fat White Family, Gaz Coombes, Everything Everything, and The Bohicas
14/17 6 Music
Royal Blood, Hot Chip and Neneh Cheery are among the acts performing in Newcastle from 20-22 February. All 8,500 tickets have now sold out. bbc.co.uk/events
15/17 Radio 1's Big Weekend
Taylor Swift is heading to Norwich for Radio 1's Big Weekend which this year runs from 23-24 May. Tickets are allocated by ballot with priority going to those living near the host location. bbc.co.uk/events
16/17 Primavera Sound
The Black Keys, The Strokes and Ride headline this sunny festival in Barcelona from 27-30 May. Patti Smith, Damien Rice, alt-J and James Blake will also be there. Tickets range in price from 175 euros to 195 euros depending on how quickly you book. primaverasound.com
17/17 BST Summer Time Hyde Park
The three day (non camping) festival in Hyde Park has an impressive line-up this year including Kylie Minogue, Taylor Swift and The Who. www.bst-hydepark.com
Last year it gave a grant to established indie band Metronomy, among others. The scheme has given grants to 89 independent music companies in the United Kingdom and claims to generate £8.50 for every £1 it spends.
MEGS has echoes of the Enterprise Allowance Scheme, set up under Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s. While the scheme - which gave £40 to unemployed people to set up their own business - in no way made up for Thatcherite spending cuts to the arts, it helped several individuals of cultural note, including Alan McGhee, founder of Creation Records, dance act Soul II Soul, and Tracy Emin. Work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith revived the scheme in the last Parliament.
This year’s awards were announced, slightly incongruously, by Sajid Javid, the business secretary - who has admitted to listening to Simply Red and Keith Harris and Orville, albeit a few years ago. His apparent lack of interest in culture was criticised when he was made culture secretary last year.
Mr Javid said: “Music is a defining part of British culture, from the British Invasion in the 1960s to 90s Britpop. I joined the music faithful at this year’s Glastonbury, witnessing first hand our country’s musical talent and the passion of festival-goers come rain or shine.
“Through the Music Export Growth Scheme, the government is banging the drum for the UK’s fledgling music stars and promoting the UK’s world-class sound in overseas markets. The scheme highlights the strength of the UK’s creative industries and the benefits they deliver to the UK economy.”
One of the lucky acts, ESKA, said: “I am very thankful for the support of UKTI and BPI which will enable the promotion of my album and open opportunities to tour in Europe.
“The critical acclaim garnered by my debut album and live performances in the UK has already been generating interest internationally and without this vital and timely support, it would not be possible to pursue any of these exciting performance opportunities.”
Full list of bands awarded grants
Ciaran Lavery (Belfast)
Dr Meaker (Bristol)
Fearless Vampire Killers (Suffolk)
Maribou State (Hertfordshire / Leeds)
Marika Hackman (London)
Oh Wonder (London)
Songwriters Paul Drew (Croydon), Pete Barringer (Isleworth), and Pete Boyes (Essex)
Sam Lee (London)
SOAK (Derry, Northern Ireland)
The Temperance Movement (London)
Until The Ribbon Breaks (Cardiff)
While She Sleeps (Sheffield)