The Glastonbury Festival’s Emerging Talent Competition, the free-to-enter contest that has brought the likes of Declan McKenna and She Drew The Gun to people’s attention, has announced its shortlist of eight acts for 2019. Bristol, Brighton and London dominate proceedings, with Swimming Girls and BIMM graduate iiola earning coveted slots in the invitation-only final, which takes place in Pilton on April 27th.

Considering that Swimming Girls began as a musical project, a bunch of strangers put together in Bath as students, it’s proven to be a rather fruitful meeting of minds. Their dark dream-pop draws from influences that pre-date their births, such as The Cure, Cyndi Lauper and the darkly abstract cinematography of David Lynch. What synchronicity it would be if they ended up on the same bill and swapping eye-liner tips with Robert Smith this year. All the best to Vanessa, Jay, Roo and Max.


Hailing from Wiltshire, Shannon Saunders recorded music under her own name from the age of thirteen. That energy eventually carried her forth to the fine musical training ground that is BIMM in Bristol. As her career evolved, so did the persona and stage name of iiola. Her debut EP, Chrysalis, was released on her own label, Lovejoy Records. Might 2019 be the year that iiola’s years of creative endeavour will lead her to the Vale of Avalon? Go well, Shannon.

The full Glastonbury Emerging Talent Final shortlist is as follows (it’s a belter):

Che Lingo 
Marie White
Roma Palace
Swimming Girls

For the festival’s playlist of the finalists, click here.

See the video for ‘Beneath You’ by Swimming Girls here:

See the video for ‘Sickly Sweet’ by iiola here: