Lucky eight shortlisted for band final

More than 70 bands and solo artists entered our Next Big Thing competition and now we can announce eight shortlisted for the final.

Here they are – the eight shortlisted artists in our Next Big Thing 2004 competition, staged in association with Norwich music store Academy of Sound, instrument makers Roland and top local venue UEA Students' Union.

More than 70 bands and solo artists entered our competition and for the last month the judging panel has been trying to whittle down this huge list.

The judges have shortlisted eight finalists to go forward to our live final, to be held at UEA on November 7, and all have the chance of winning a superb BR-1600 CD recording studio or TD-6KV V-Drums V-Tour, plus studio time and a guaranteed support slot to a “name” band at the Waterfront.

So here are the contenders, in alphabetical order:

1 Abyss (melodic-style rock)

2 Geoff Chapa (hard-edged electronica/rock)

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3 DJ Oska (North Norfolk-based urban artist)

4 Elis (all-action city rockers )

5 Aleah Morrison (soulful Norfolk singer-songwriter)

6 Will Overton (19-year-old singer-songwriter from Stalham)

7 The Pistolas (Norwich raw power rockers)

8 Turnstone (melodic rock outfit)

Tracks from these artists will now be compiled on a special promotional CD, to be available in early October and available to download on EDP24– we'll publish more details shortly. We running a series of profiles of each of the finalists over the coming weeks in EDP Event magazine and on EDP24.

It's been a very hard task to compile the final list, and the judges – Colin Wilson, David Banks, Trevor Heaton, Simon Dunford and Linda Barrington-Smith – made their choices on the basis of songwriting strength, musical expertise… and that elusive “factor X” of star quality.

The judges, with backgrounds in a wide range of areas associated with music, from playing in bands to music journalism and managing groups, listened to each entry “blind”. Band names were revealed only after the results were compiled.

Our thanks go to everyone who entered – the standard was extremely high.