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Bestival Island Band, DJ & Spoken-Word Finalists Announced

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It’s that time of year again. As we limp out of winter and into spring, Festival season beckons, and boy is the news piling up thick and fast.

Finalists for the annual Bestival ‘Island Band, DJ  & Spoken Word Competition’ were announced yesterday, and as ever, the standard is incredibly high. Don’t know any of these names? Consider this a crash course in the local names that have made it to the dance. Have a listen to the samples provided, and we’ll see you down the front at Quay Arts on April 14th.



The crown-princess of Electro-pop on the Isle of Wight is by no means a stranger to Headfunk listeners. She was one of the acts that stormed the roof off at Wight Rock Bar’s 10th Birthday back in December, billed by the promoters as “…the future of Island music”, she wowed the crowd with an emotionally-driven, technically brilliant set.



(Photo Credit to Jake Priddle of  Fret-Buzz)

She was the radio show’s first live guest of 2016, returning to her acoustic roots by performing stripped-back versions of her ouvre, and in the process, proving that she can arrest your attention without the gadgets.


Acoustic singer-songwriter Lauren is a student of Platform One, and currently, It’s most gifted talent. She’s blessed with a natural ear for graceful melody and an amiable personality that you can’t help but connect with.

Having made it through to the final of the regional heats for the Isle of Wight Festival, Lauran should be considered a strong contender. She’s armed with emotional lyrics of love, loss, and those emotional moments that keep you awake at 3 in the morning wondering where you’re life is going.


Fronted by Stuart Spiller, ‘Rebel & The Hearts’ are an indie-pop outfit regularly making the rounds on the gig circuit. Describing themselves as “…Short, Sharp, Punchy Indie Folk Rock’ the band are signed to Disillusioned Records, and through sheer force of workrate, have established a cult-following on the island.

After performing at the other local staples of Isle of Wight Festival and Postfest, the trio are keen to add Bestival to their CV. They have funk, They have guitars, They have a Cajon, and they will not rest untill you have got down with your bad self.


NaNNik is the alter ego of producer and sound designer Keir Hobbes O’Brien. Working primarily in hip-hop and electronic flavors, he dabbles with synths, electric guitars, slap-basses and anything else he can wield to engineer his eclectic palette.

He recently released a collaborative, free-to-download EP called ‘The NK Experience’ (linked above) with an album on the way, due to drop in April.

PORTABLEhigh are a 4 piece venturing into blues-tinged soul numbers that groove along a smooth rhythm. Fusing Acoustic Rock, Ballads and pop-style songwriting, they create catchy tracks that compliment the chemistry of the outfit well.
  • DJ Ronan

The protege of 2011 co-winner, Beavz. Crash-landing onto the scene in a BIG way, Ronan played his first ever set to a paying audience last night at Jamboree in Zanzibar, Mentor watching on proudly from the bar.  He has a BIG pedigree behind him, Beavz other students have included long-time DJ partner, and fellow Headfunk dancefloor-disabler Noah Priddle, and Jamboree’s top selector, Ember.

What he lacks in experience, he makes up for in talent, grit and determination.


MWUJ is Bang on the hype and keen to mix in ALL the flavors. MWUJ is a DJ with a distinctive flair. He has wavey hair, wavey garms, and wavey tracks that just make you want to dance. MWUJ wasn’t christened MWUJ, MWUJ is in-fact Micheal Jones. MWUJ probobly doesn’t refer to himself in the third-person. I don’t know why I’m doing that. Sorry.


Resident DJ of our mates ‘AFTR:HRS’, JustEden is the moniker of Eden Pardey, a bassline & house producer and DJ, and BezzyMates of previous competition winner Hadda.


The Island has a ripe history of Drum’N'Bass DJ’s, and LEAF is carrying that tradition forward with a dark, aggressive sound. Having garnered support from names as diverse as Hype, TC, Serial Killaz, Bailey, Tyke, Sub Zero and Blackley, LEAF regularly gigs all over the south-coast.


At just 17 years old, Alfie is prodigiously talented for a young-adult his age. Working within a 130bpm 4/4 framework, he mixes in house of different styles, modern and retro, commercial and leftfield. With a heavy selection of tunes not just to fill current dancefloors, but heavy hitters of decades past too, Alfie is a name to watch out for on the local scene.

  • Nino Lyons

Graduate of FlipTheScript and ‘Reading Between The Lines’ regular, Nino was trained in the art of spoken-word by Headfunk favourite Cooly Haste, and performance poetry veteran Adam Gaterell. Utterly lovely, staggeringly tall, and primed with humorous verse. Having hone his chops at the likes of  Chorderize, Mondomix Project and The Ventnor Fringe, Nino will doubtlessly be keen to step up to the ampitheatre and follow in the footsteps of Scroobius Pip and Kate Tempest.


  • Jimmy Andrews

Mysterious and fresh-faced Jimmy Andrews wields metaphors and similies like sabres. The pen is mightier than the sword afterall.


  • Kestrell

Enigmatic, mysterious, and set to make his debut at the competition, little is known about Kestrell. Could this rank outsider go on to storm the contest?

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