It wasn’t so long ago that The Lutras were taking eight hour overnight journeys from the local bus station for their gigs, in front of audiences between 10 and 12 people on an unsteady stage…
…But since beating nearly 1,000 acts to win Firestone’s prestigious Road to the Main Stage competition, they can look forward to an exciting new beginning and a potential big-breakthrough.
The four-piece Indie band from Dumfries have won their own VW Transporter tour van for a year, in-store credit at a Professional Music Technology store and brand new gear from Orange Amplification worth thousands of pounds. The schoolmates will also win a slot at a high profile summer festival in 2020 and a contribution towards the creation of an EP, in a success story like no other.
The Lutras, made up of Danny Heron, Ben Clements, Thomas Gillan and Finlay Maxwell, formed in 2013, where they dreamt of playing to huge audiences and giving up the day jobs once and for all – currently consisting of lorry driving, door-to-door sales and working in a supermarket.
The band, which has gigged at more than 300 venues around Scotland already, can now keep believing and plan for a more mature sound thanks to the new Orange Amps equipment, a bigger presence and a conceivable way of getting to and from gigs in the first place.
Firestone’s Road to the Main Stage has been developed over five years to give artists a chance to shine, reaching out to more than 3,500 entrants since its inception in 2015 and generating more than 10,000 votes during this time.
A Firestone judging panel featuring Road to the Main Stage’s official partners Orange Amplification and Professional Music Technology had the unenviable task of whittling down the 1,000 entries to eight shortlisted acts back in October, whose fate then lay in the general public’s hands, who eventually voted for The Lutras to win in November.
Bassist and songwriter Danny Heron said: “When we saw the van, I think we all had to pinch ourselves. It felt like we had finally arrived. And then walking into Professional Music Technology to see all of our new gear was another surreal moment. That’s when us winning felt real for the first time.
Singer and guitarist Ben Clements added: “It just feels like a massive weight has been lifted off our shoulders. We have played in front of 10 people, in gazebos in back gardens and on collapsing stages. We have worked so hard, for so long, with so little reward. Now we can look forward to a future a million miles away from our past – and we don’t want to waste this opportunity.”
Danny added: “We were just four naïve lads when we started out. We were playing for fun and our love of music. Reality begins to bite when you realise how tough it all is. We could never have afforded equipment like this, and our sound is going to improve so much because of it.”
Guitarist Thomas Gillan agreed, stating: “Our music will change now. We have all had a vision for how we want our songs to come across, but we can start to put that vision in place because of the equipment we now have. It’s an exciting thought.”
With transport to gigs now taken care of thanks to Firestone, The Lutras are planning on playing in Europe in 2020, with Germany and Holland already earmarked as destinations. Meanwhile, a new single will drop on December 13 and an EP is also in the pipeline for next year – thanks in part to the free studio time as part of the Firestone Road to the Main Stage winning prize package.
The band cite a number of acts and artists as inspirations, ranging from the Stereophonics right through to Motley Crew and Jimi Hendrix.
Danny added: “We want to follow in their footsteps. Why not?! It will be so difficult to emulate artists like them, but we’ve reached a pinnacle and it is now up to us to make the most of this opportunity.”
TV and radio presenter Abbie McCarthy is the Road to the Main Stage’s official ambassador.
She said: “It’s great to see The Lutras win Firestone’s Road To The Main Stage competition. They’re a really hardworking and talented young band, who I’m sure will go on to brilliant things. I’m looking forward to seeing where things take them in 2020!”
In five years, Firestone has given away more than 160 hours of studio recording time,
and more recently given the 2017 and 2018 winners, Fire Fences and John Nicholas, the chance to play at the All Points East festival in London, generating priceless exposure and national media headlines.
Firestone UK’s Brand Manager Sofie Bronserud said: “We couldn’t have wished for a more deserving winning act than The Lutras. We can see how much this means to them and what a difference Road to the Main Stage is going to make to their future, as they aspire for success and longevity in the music industry. They’re a confident group with a great sense of togetherness. To see their joy when collecting their prizes is a sight that will live with us all for a long time.
“They work incredibly hard at what they do and they sound incredible. We’ll be looking out for The Lutras in 2020 and we wish them all the very best of luck as they begin an exciting new chapter as a four-piece band.”
For more information about Firestone’s Road to the Main Stage, visit firestone.roadtothemainstage.co.uk
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