Meraki Festival puts up and coming talent into the spotlight

A silent disco will entertain the clubbers at Meraki Festival

A silent disco will entertain the clubbers at Meraki Festival - Credit: Archant

The cream of local musical talent will be hitting the stage for the first Meraki Festival.

A plethora of the leading bands and solo artists from the St Albans music scene will have the opportunity to showcase their work in front of festival crowds.

We took a look at a selection of the acts appearing, including some sample tracks from their repertoire.


Iain Hornal’s talents as a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and songwriter are impressive. Having previously shared the stage with the likes of Jeff Lynne’s ELO and 10cc, Iain is used to playing the sideman on some of the world’s largest stages. However, at this yea’rs Meraki Festival, Iain returns to the main stage as a frontman.

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The sound of his old school pop music might suggest Bowie, Fleetwood Mac and Peter Gabriel are just a few of his artistic influences. Iain’s debut album ‘The Game Begins With The Lights Out’ features collaborations with a whole host of musical friends including special appearances from Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Matt Berry and Dan Gillespie-Sells.

Billington and Quinn

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Tom Billington and Sinead Quinn form the perfect duo. Both share a love for country and Americana music, and together Tom and Sinead are able to cast a modern twist on the old influences that originally inspired them. Citing inspiration from Johnny Cash, Pete Seeger, Neil Young and Dolly Parton, the pair are ready to show people what country music is all about.

The band also include drummer Paul Stewart and bassist Ciaran Jerremiah from pop band, The Feeling, pedal steel virtuoso Matt Park of The Mystery Jets, Stuart Wilkingson from the Andy Burrows band and are rounded out by Sam Wilcock on guitar.

Simon McBride

The gifted guitar player, Simon McBride is taking the stage at Meraki Festival this year. Named one of Ireland’s guitar legends, Simon is following in the footsteps of Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore. His debut album ‘Rich Man Falling’ was released in 2008 and perfectly captures the expressive bluesy nature of Simon’s self-penned songs.

His latest record ‘Crossing The Line’ is a fiery amalgam of maestro guitar skills and character-soaked vocals.

The Kondoors

Jess Greenfield and Gavin Conder make up the sound of The Kondoors, a unique duo focused on song writing and producing original material. Both of them draw on a host of musical influences from Marvin Gaye to Dusty Springfield and Tina Turner. Individually, both have established themselves as must-see live performers and supported chart toppers including Brian Adams, Rudimental, Rod Stewart and Sam Smith.

Belfast Bullfighters

Belfast Bullfighters brings together a cast of talented musicians to celebrate a unique brand of Contemporary Celtic Rock. The collective is lead by Dave Marks who writes and arranges the music.

The band features the likes of Darragh Murphy (Pipes & whistles), Donal OConnor (Fiddle), Guthrie Govan (Guitar), Darby Todd (Drums) Matt McGinn (vocals) and many more.

Jessica Murae

Singer and songwriter Jessica released her self titled EP last October along with her single ‘Still Cold’. The single was named track of the week by the BBC introducing Bed, Bucks and Herts. Since then, she is used to performing sold out shows including venues like The Islington O2 Academy, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Bar and Kensington Roof Gardens.

Mamas Gun

The feisty and upbeat sounds of the five-piece that make up Mamas Gun will be playing at the Meraki Festival on the Saturday. The band has had huge success. After releasing their debut album ‘Routes To Riches’ in 2009, Mamas Gun have gone on to enjoy an Album of The Week feature at Smooth Radio. Interestingly, they have received huge recognition in Japan, where they have been heralded as the most played international act in the country, even beating Madonna in the airplay charts whilst doing so.

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