By Jonathan Brown
Stars in the making wowed the crowds at a Bury Christmas light switch-on last week in the hope of winning your votes for the Street Stars competition.
The all singing, all dancing acts, who auditioned for the competition at The Rock shopping centre in October, took centre stage to help bag themselves the exclusive prize worth £1,000.
The aspiring stars will be taking turns performing to shoppers every Saturday in the run up to Christmas before voting closes on January 7th and the winner is announced.
Nikki Kitchen, marketing manager for The Rock, said: “They have been absolutely fantastic considering none of them are professional at the moment, there have been some wonderful performances.
“The street dancers and singers were amazing, they should all be on X Factor next year.”
Attracting a crowd of thousands, the Street Stars all played slots on the main stage in The Rock’s St John’s Square, videos of which have been posted online to help voters make up their minds.
The performer with the most votes will receive £1,000 worth of studio time to record their music or top coaching to help perfect their act.
Martin Poole, who has a degree in music, has started his own website on the back of the competition and he feels that the exposure and live practice resulting from Street Stars, has done him a world of good.
The indie-folk singer said: “Tonight has been a cracking event. I think that the competition is a really good idea and something to bring unknown artists to the forefront.
“It’s better than the X Factor, I like that fact it’s much more community based. It would be great to become an individual recording artist one day, having been involved in Street Stars.”
Every Thursday evening and Saturday since the end of October, each of the eight finalists have been performing at The Rock’s designated ‘hot spot’ to perform to passers-by.
Bury-local, Khan Kassine, who goes by the stage name of Krazy Horse and performs in his bare feet, is the oldest Street Stars competitor at age 66.
“It is a great thing that The Rock is helping aspiring artists,” said Krazy Horse. “I just love the way everyone responded to my stuff and how the audience sung my songs in return. I’d love to write for people.”
Several acts auditioned in front of a tough panel of judges from both The Rock itself and local music experts in October, with the judges whittling the performers down to just eight.
Sixteen-year-old singer, Dj Ajayi, who travels from Solihull to perform at The Rock, is currently getting help preparing her own music from legendary member of The Specials, Ray King.
She said: “I definitely want to be a singer in the end but the main thing at the moment is to get some songs together and keep on performing.”
Busker One, Bloco Ashe, Darcie & Paige, Rameez & Shaun, Sammy Bland were also among the performers vying for votes at The Rock’s first ever Christmas switch-on.
Lorraine Barber, from Whitefield, said: “The acts were all of a really good standard and our children have really enjoyed themselves, it’s like Christmas has come early.”
The performances of the Street Star performers can be seen and voted on at The Rock’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/TheRockBury