Surface Festival

In 2011 the Surface Festival will be organising over 500 shows across 14 cities in the UK and Europe. Shows will take place in London, Portsmouth, Bristol, Cardiff, Swansea, Birmingham, Nottingham, Oxford, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Glasgow, Barcelona and Budapest.

The climax of the Festival will culminate with 21 bands playing the IndigO2 at the O2 Complex - a venue which has seen acts such as Jools Holland, Timbaland, Joss Stone and Estelle to name a few. Dominic Nicholls, music photographer, explains “Surface gives bands the chance to play the type of venues that most bands only dream of when they've 'made it' - add to the expertise Surface offers in terms of lighting and sound management, PR and exposure and you're looking at an opportunity that's too good to miss”.

The main focus of a band should be live performance. The sweaty, loud and beer saturated venues across Britain are where bands are born and it’s this aspect that the Surface Festival is focused on keeping alive. Other venues Surface will be using include the O2 Academy Main stage in Birmingham and Bristol, the Dome in London, the Manchester Academy and Oxford Academy. Nights are set out by genre providing opportunities for bands and artists to gain exposure from new audiences, sell merchandise, promote networking opportunities and attract new fans. For a list of testimonials from bands that have played the Surface Festival check out:

The Surface Festival works in association with 24 international sponsors that cover all bases for a band. “Marshall Amplification are extremely excited to be working with the Surface Festival for 2011. This event is truly inspiring for all involved” - Marshall Amplification. For a further list of sponsors see

With a prize pot of £100,000 including a slot at Sziget Festival 2011, bands and artists get the opportunity to progress further in the music industry. “The prizes offered for the winning band and runners up are just fantastic and the experience all the bands gain from playing larger venues is priceless” - Alex Baker; Kerrang Radio Unsigned show.

The Surface Festival Committee consists of a panel of music industry representatives who will have the privilege of seeing the very best acts from around the UK and Europe that will appear at the National Showcase at the o2. Judge Alex Baker says that “the show this year was very hard to judge; amazing stage shows, amazing songs, amazing bands – congratulations to Great Imitation who blew everyone’s minds, a much deserved win!”

Surface Festival takes bands at grass roots level and brings them through a journey culminating in an industry showcase. The quality of the sponsors, judges and management lends colossal credibility to this event and should be a breath of fresh air to all bands and artists in the UK. In an uncertain time, where longevity and sustainability is rare in today’s music industry the Surface Festival can be exemplified as a solid force for good, offering some amazing opportunities to bands. Working together with key industry bodies and organizations is paramount to developing a model that is fair for everyone – the promoters, the venues, the fans and most importantly the bands taking part and the experience and value they get from playing the live shows.

“The Surface Festival was a fantastic experience for us, an unforgettable journey through many rounds at different venues. The ultimate prize and ultimate goal was to perform at the IndigO2. The chance to play at this incredible venue gave you a real sense of achievement and a wonderful feeling that will stay with us for a long time. The Surface crew were helpful, friendly and always very supportive which made the whole experience just that little bit better. Thank you guys for an amazing opportunity.” Loaded Dice.

For more info and to sign up see Surface Festival


  1. surface festival is a scam that should be torched. it has nothing to do with music, its just about taking quick and easy cash from bands that in addition have to charge fans (friends) even more on behalf of surface festival. bands don't see a return on any of the money, and are even required to pay up front for something they will never pay back. biggest mistake if anybody supports this slime-ridden cowboy organization



    Close these cowboys down!!

  3. Total scam artists - here to steal the money from hardworking bands and their friends. Avoid at all costs!

  4. They dont steal anything. they help promote bands on every level . What proof have you got that its a scam? You don't.. They have helped countless bands and have given bands opportunity to play on stages they have only dreamed about..

  5. Bad comments from a band with no friends perhaps? So from what these idiots are saying is "if you charge for your friends to come to a gig its a scam, if you pay for a venue its a scam"----hey idiot that's what promoters do, the rent a venue and pay the bands depending on how many tickets are sold!! and the certainly DO NOT pay the bands everything they take on the door!! Re the surface festival, we are now on the 4th level, the National Final, we have been paid on all the concerts we have played, guess what, we have both friends and fans!!!

  6. Bands are a business, if you want to make it you have to charge people to watch you it's a simple fact. I entered Surface Festival with my band last year and it was a great experience from start to finish. We made our money back and a bit more as we sold our ticket allocation and a shed load of merch at gigs. If you're moaning that it costs money to enter and you have to charge people to go to the shows why don't you try and a put a show on at the venues surface use without charging and see how you get on. I guarantee you will end up skint. The Surface team supported us start to finish and helped us develop as a band and a business, we got to play one of the most famous stages in Wales and at the O2 arena in London, Surface is no con and I guarantee that if you're spreading malicious rumours about it you're band probably went out in the first round but you think you should of won it. Rant over!

  7. No one is arguing that music isn't a business or that entry to gigs should be free. It is the pay to play aspect of Surface that most people find unsavoury. Why should bands pay to get on a gig in the first place? Either they are good enough to play or not. It is the promoters job to sell the tickets for gigs (yes helped by the bands but with no demand to sell several hundred pounds worth of tickets). The whole point of playing in towns and cities other than the bands own town or city is to play to a new audience and not sell tickets to your mates then put on a bus for them. That may mean playing for nothing at the bottom of a bill but bands should NEVER have to pay for a gig.