Buskers battle to join Primal Scream on Hogmanay bill

Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream
Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream
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DAY by day they ply their trade on the city streets, playing for a passing audience and some loose change.

But for one night only a lowly busker will be elevated to the main stage at the biggest street party in the world.

Radek Kepczynski hopes to perform on the same stage as Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie

Radek Kepczynski hopes to perform on the same stage as Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie

Organisers of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay party today launched the Hog the Street competition to give a musician or singer the chance to star alongside rock legends Primal Scream.

Ten finalists will be selected by judges to compete in a live busking final in Princes Street, on December 3 and 4 for the opening slot at the Concert in the Garden.

The band who manage to raise the most money during their busking set get the gig, with all money raised through the event going to charity.

Pete Irvine, festival director for Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, said: “The line-up for the street party and Concert in the Gardens is world class this year, and we are delighted to be able to include a new, young, unsigned Scottish band amongst such acts as Primal Scream, The Vaccines, Friendly Fires and Bombay Bicycle Club.”

One of those who plans to compete for the top spot is guitarist Radek Kepczynski, who was wowing crowds on the Royal Mile yesterday with his rendition of tracks by guitar legend Joe Satriani.

The 34-year-old Stevenson College music student, from Sighthill, said he would relish the chance to play in front of such a huge audience.

He said: “I’m absolutely going to give the trials a go. I can’t imagine playing in front of such a huge crowd, but it would be a great experience.

“To be honest I haven’t even heard of Primal Scream, but I’m sure it would be amazing.

“Just now I pretty much play for my bus fare, but one day I’d like to play for a living.”

Jim Wolff, co-founder of Leith Records, said playing at the event could launch the career of young musicians.

He said: “Band competitions can sometimes be a bit cheesy and stale, but with Hog the Street we’re giving new Scottish bands the chance to play one of the biggest gigs of the year.”

Last year’s competition winners Kitty the Lion kicked off the street party on the Waverley Stage before thousands of revellers and alongside headliners The Coral.

Anna Meldrum, from Kitty the Lion, said the experience had been a huge boost for the band.

She said: “We were totally thrilled, every surreal second of it felt like a really brilliant dream, but there was no blinking ourselves awake at the end.

“To be included amongst a line-up of such successful artists, at the best New Year celebration in the world, was incredibly special.”

Any band based in Scotland can enter Hog the Street.

Bands must submit a short biography, music track, video and picture at www.hogthestreet.com to be considered for the shortlist.

Deadline for entry is 6pm on Friday, November 25.