About the Festival

Festival Structure

Prize List

Scoring System


Industry Judges


Click here for more testimonials Click here to visit bands website

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I sign up to Surface Festival?

The only way to sign up to the Surface Festival is to fill in an application form which you can find on the sign up page on the website. Please make sure that you fill in all the relevant areas marked with *; we require all band members’ names and ages, at least three email addresses, two contact numbers and two addresses. Don't worry, we will not pass any details on to any other organizations - all your information is private and will only be used by us in conjunction with the festival.

What areas do Surface Festival accept applications from?

Surface Festival are currently accepting applications from all areas of the U.K. and Europe.

How old does my band have to be to enter the festival?

All band members have to be 16 by the day of your first gig.

What is the age restriction of fans wanting to come to see a gig?

Age restrictions for each event can be found by each gig on the regional mini-site. 18+ events are for people of 18 years of age and over. 16+ events are for people of 16 years of age and over. 14+ events are for people of 14 years of age and over. Please respect age restrictions. Please bring ID. There will be no refunds given on tickets.

Is Surface Festival open to all genres/styles of music?

Yes. We accept bands and artists from all backgrounds and genres.

Can solo artists enter?


Is there a deadline for entries?

We receive around 15,000 applications each year from bands and artists wanting to take part in the Surface Festival. Therefore, we strongly advise that your application form reaches us by 31st December 2011. As general guidance Surface Festival recommends you get your application to us as soon as possible, as the later you leave it the less chance you will have of successfully gaining a place.

Can my band play cover songs?

You can play cover songs, however we suggest that you showcase as much original material as possible. Surface Festival is all about discovering new music so if you decide to play a cover make it as "original" as possible. You can also play instrumentals.

Do I have to bring equipment to the gig?

Surface Festival provides the venue, the technical organization, the sound tech, stage manager, lighting technician, presenter and every other aspect of organization i.e. the P.A., microphones, stage monitors etc. Surface Festival also provides the full backline (guitar & bass amps, full drum set incl. cymbals, stands, drum stool and kick pedals). The backline is as follows:

Bass: Ashdown ABM 500 EVO II Head 575W bass amplifier head and ABM 810 Cabinet 1200W 8 x 10" bass cabinet
Guitar: 3 x Marshall 100W Heads and Cabs/provisions for acoustic instruments
Drums: Tama Superstar Kit with Zildjian cymbals
Vocals: SM58’s through the house P.A.

Any other instruments can also be catered for; however please drop us an email if your band has other instruments apart from guitar (acoustic and electric), bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.

Can I use my own equipment?

The Surface Festival provides a fully pro backline. All bands and artists are expected to use the backline as much as possible. However, drummers may bring their own snare and kick pedal. Guitarists can bring their own effects and their own amp heads but NOT their own cabs. Bass players must use our Ashdown rig. Full details about equipment will be issued at the first initial meeting, however for any other questions about equipment please email your local area manager.

Which venues are you using?

We use the best venues available, such as the o2 in London. For a list of venues in each area, please take a look at the appropriate regional mini-site.

What prizes are in store for 2012?

Please see the prize list page on the website.

Is there a deposit?

At your meeting for the Festival there will be a one-off deposit of £50 per band in order to secure your first gig slot. Only bands and artists that get booked onto the Festival pay the deposit. You will receive the full deposit back on the day of your first gig if you sell 25 tickets. If you do not sell 25 tickets you can still play, there is no minimum amount of tickets you have to sell. Experience has shown that if we do not charge a deposit some bands and artists will drop out on the day of their gig, leaving us with an empty slot which could have been given to another band.

Do I get paid for the gigs I play?

Yes. Our payment scheme to bands and artists is as follows:

At your first stage gig if you sell 25 tickets you will receive your £50 deposit back. In the first stage of the festival you will get paid £1.00 for every ticket you sell after 25. Payment back to you increases the more tickets you sell according to the payment scheme below:

26 tickets or more: You receive £1.00 per ticket.
50 tickets or more: You receive £1.50 per ticket.
75 tickets or more: You receive £2.00 per ticket.
100 tickets or more: You receive £2.50 per ticket.

At your 2nd stage gig, Semi-Final Showcase and Regional Showcase you will get paid £1.00 for every ticket you sell, if you sell 25 tickets. Payment back to you increases the more tickets you sell according to the payment scheme below:

25 tickets or more: You receive £1.00 per ticket.
50 tickets or more: You receive £1.50 per ticket.
75 tickets or more: You receive £2.00 per ticket.
100 tickets or more: You receive £2.50 per ticket.

There is no minimum amount of tickets to sell and you will not have to pay for any unsold tickets, simply bring any unsold tickets to the venue on the day of the show and give them to your area manager. All sold tickets must then be reconciled before sound checks.

Fans will also be able to access the venue on the door.

Does my band have to pay for any unsold tickets from the ticket booklet we were given?

Surface Festival will never ask bands and artists to pay for tickets in advance nor will you have to pay for any unsold tickets. Simply give any unsold tickets back to your area manager on the day of your gig.

How do bands and artists progress from one stage to the next?

The voting system consists of a ratings structure. Surface Ratings can be gained through text votes, audience votes, musicians’ votes (bands and artists vote for each other) and industry votes:

A text vote = 1 rating
An audience vote = 5 ratings
A musicians’ vote = 20 ratings
An industry vote = 30 ratings

For further information on the Structure of the Festival please see the Festival structure page.

What is the text vote for and how can my fans text vote for my band?

The text vote was set up for fans who cannot make it to your gig(s) but still want to show their support for your band.

When bands and artists get as far as the Regional and National Showcases, the venue capacity makes it impossible to keep an accurate track on audience votes. With the text vote the public can still contribute.

When we book your band onto the Festival we will assign your band a text vote number. Your unique text vote number will stay the same throughout the whole Festival.

Please remember to add the following terms and conditions whenever advertising your text vote number:

16+. Texts cost £1.00 plus standard network charges. Please get permission from the bill payer. Customer services: hello@surfaceunsigned.co.uk or contact us on 0800 434 6076


I have applied to the Festival but haven't heard anything back. What do I do?
Please check your junk-folder as accounts such as hotmail and yahoo sometimes automatically forward non-spam emails into junk mail. Please check this before contacting us about not receiving your verification email.

When filling out your application form please make sure that you fill in all the relevant areas marked with *; we require all band members’ names and ages, at least three email addresses, two contact numbers and two addresses. This is to make sure we can get in contact with you. Emails sometimes bounce and telephone numbers change. (I.e. mailboxes are full, servers fail, people change their contract or loose their phone etc.) Don’t worry; we will not pass these details on to any other companies. If you are uncertain please contact us via email.

Once we have received your application and have sent you a verification email, your application will be vetted. Due to the large amount of applications received Surface Festival cannot inform every band if their application has been unsuccessful, we will only contact successful applicants. Successful applicants will be contacted via email.

What does Surface Festival do with personal data collected from the website?
E-mail addresses and other personally identifying data submitted to us is used by Surface Festival only. Personal data will not be disseminated to parties outside of Surface Festival. Personal information provided to us through our online application form is used by area managers to book bands and artists onto gig slots. In addition we sometimes direct e-mail to website visitors who have provided us with their e-mail addresses for specific purposes such as receiving our e-mail newsletters. If you at any point no longer wish to receive communication from Surface Festival, please send us an email with ‘unsubscribe’ in the subject.

My question is not listed here, who do I contact?
Drop our team an email and we’ll answer any question you have.

© Surface Festival 2012 | T: 0800 434 6076 | hello@surfaceunsigned.co.uk | Terms of Use Agreement | Privacy Policy | Text Voting Terms & Conditions
By entering this website you are accepting our Website Terms & Conditions. If for any reason you cannot accept these terms and the disclaimer in full then you must leave this website immediately.