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The acoustic experience of RedGap
RedGap.  Image Nick Collings
Earlier this year RedGap headlined at the Lancaster Music Festival

Of course it takes talent but getting your band noticed these days also takes canny marketing skills.

Those in the know spend hours online raising the profile of their band and Val Nelson from RedGap is no exception.

She takes delight in bidding to appear in the line up at festivals around the world and her diligence is beginning to pay off.

Last month the band played at the Lancaster Music Festival and next year, who knows, it could be China.

Earlier this year RedGap headlined at the Lancaster Music Festival and they have already been asked to return in 2010.

Val Nelson by Tony Winfield
RedGap's Val Nelson on backing vocals and bass guitar

The invitation to return next year is down to their talent but the initial break was down to the hard work and tenacity of Val Nelson who admits she loves the marketing side of the music industry.

"If you can get to one festival you have effectively got your foot in the door. We are currently waiting to hear back from events in the Netherlands, Kent and an all-expenses paid tour in Asia. If we can get something that big it would be tremendous.

"It does help if you have an album because it means you have something to sell. Being good at marketing is also really important. Festival organisers like to take on hard- working bands.

Jo Earner by Tony Winfield
It was Jo's voice which inspired the group to form

"We have joined the Sonic Bids Website where you can submit applications to play at various events in the UK.

This is the only way you can get on the main stages. You pay a fee and submit your electronic press kit. Then you go through a selection process.

"It's working for us purely because our sound is nice to listen to. It's not too over the top on the noise front and we appeal to a wide range of age groups.

We get a lot of opportunities basically because we don't have a drummer and we can play in any size venue.

"Red Gap is based around the vocals of Jo earner. She has such an awesome voice. We started singing together around the kitchen table.

We tried out some Crosby Stills and Nash harmonies just for fun and before we knew it we were being asked to play at a Blues Festival. That was a bit of a shock because we didn't even have a band together at that point.

Barry Nelson by Tony Winfield
RedGap's Barry Nelson on vocals and guitar

"Apart from Jo Earner on vocals we have Adam Cubbon on lead guitar, Barry Nelson on vocals and guitar and me on backing vocals and bass guitar. I suppose I would describe our sound as very vocal acoustic.

"Locally we've been given the chance to play a lot of gigs. We have played at loads of the pubs in the Isle of Man and a soon as you start getting your band's name out there people begin to trust you.

This is really important in the beginning. Once people trust you and know your music you WILL get invited back.

RedGap is a busy band and not content with conquering the local pub scene they are also a popular choice for corporate events for the big finance companies based on the Isle of Man.

It's great because every gig is always completely different. We played at the outdoor stage on Tynwald Day last year and once we even played in a hanger at the airport.

That was interesting and we may get the chance to do it again. Where else in the world would you have such a varied life?

Adam Cubbon by Tony Winfield
RedGap's Adam Cubbon is the star on the lead guitar

"There is a lot of talent on the Isle of Man. At the last count we had about 110 bands which, per capita, is pretty superb.

It's amazing to see really young musicians coming up so early and I would love more help coming from the schools to develop this talent, not just for classical training but also for rock musicians.

"I would love to see a rock school here on the Isle of Man. A place where kids could get the chance to have a go at playing the guitar and being part of a band.

I think it would be really popular and it would give the kids a chance to develop their talent without having to leave the Isle of Man at a really young age."

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