Boot camp battle for ‘Chilfactor’ hopefuls

Aldbury-based Sophie Ray is one of eight acts in the running to win a performing slot at Chilfest as is Jamie Walker (below)
Aldbury-based Sophie Ray is one of eight acts in the running to win a performing slot at Chilfest as is Jamie Walker (below)

Bands battling it out to be one of the opening acts at Tring’s Chilfest music extravaganza have now been whittled down to the ‘boot camp’ stage in the festival’s inaugural talent contest.

The second annual Chilfest – which will be held over three days instead of two this year – brings with it a new competition designed to find the best local performers who have the ‘Chilfactor’.

The hunt for an exciting unsigned act began late last year and is designed to offer homegrown groups and artists the chance to perform in front of 5,000 people, as the first act on the pop-themed Sunday of the festival, which is to be held from July 4 to 6.

More than 70 bands entered and Chilfest bosses have been busy whittling them down to less than half, before a music-minded panel selected the last eight. The hopefuls – who stand the chance of winning £1,000 towards their career development if they make it all the way – will now compete head to head at a battle of the bands in Pendley Court Theatre on Friday, May 16.

Acts include Aldbury-based singer-songwriter Sophie Ray, who mixes elements of soul, folk and pop and is a regular on the Chilterns gigging scene, even reaching the finals of a national competition run through MTV in November.

Also on the bill for the night is 20-year-old Jamie Walker from Berkhamsted, who lists Ed Sheeran among his musical inspirations, Tring-based three-piece group The Reverie and up-and-coming Amersham band Open Mind. Each act will play two tracks in front of an audience and a panel of judges from Chilfest, The Gazette and Mix 96 along with another mystery judge yet to be announced.

Chilfactor organiser Belinda Rose-Brown said: “We are really excited at the prospect of finding some new and local talent to play at Chilfest 2014.

“There was an amazing response from bands and singer-songwriters to enter Chilfactor. The level of skill was very high which made the elimination process hard but will make for an amazing evening on May 16.”

Tickets for the event go on sale on the Court Theatre’s website, and are priced at £5.

Visit for more info or details of how to buy tickets for the festival.

A total of 22,000 tickets have been made available across the three days, which will see Boomtown Rats and Jason Donovan head up the 80s-themed Friday and Saturday nights, and X Factor contestants Union J headline Sunday’s pop afternoon.