Formed in 2013 by four friends from Bridgend Brynteg School, Fire Fences beat Worcestershire band, Nuns of the Tundra, and Suffolk hip-hop act, EL-Emcee, to win more than £2,000 worth of Orange Amplification equipment and studio time worth £1,500.
The band, comprising Dylan Wictome (bass), Will Davies (lead guitar), Aaron Nicholas (vocals/guitar) and James Lee (drums), played two tracks, Can’t Keep Up and House of Cards. They released a new single the day after the competition with six more planned for 2018.
The final, which took place at the Birmingham campus of the British and Irish Modern Music Institute (BIMM) on 14 December 2017, was screened live on Firestone’s Facebook page to 50,000 people with a five-strong judging panel from Orange, Professional Music Technology, BIMM, Arena Birmingham and Firestone agreeing on the winning act.
Aaron Nicholas said:
‘Every band started somewhere so why not? To win Battle of the Bands is a huge confidence boost for us as so many people voted for us along the way and a huge audience tuned in on Facebook to see us. We couldn’t be happier! We feel we are on people’s radars now and feel like we’re being appreciated for what we are doing.’
Abbie McCarthy from BBC Radio 1, who presented the Battle of the Bands final, said:
‘Competitions like these are vital for aspiring musicians. Firestone have provided unsigned artists with a platform to perform along with the opportunity to gain some valuable experience. Any event that helps some stars of the future to make a name for themselves can only be a great thing. After seeing the three finalists play, they should all be extremely proud of themselves.’
Firestone’s brand manager, Stuart Attfield, said:
‘We have been so impressed with the quality of entries and the decision was an extremely difficult one to make. Each act offered something completely different but Fire Fences’ performance was extremely impressive and their sound was so catchy. We can’t wait to hear more from them in the future and hope that we’ve put them on a journey to the big time.
‘The competition underlines why Firestone is so committed to music and promoting grass roots talent. Back in 1928, Founder, Harvey Firestone, brought together musicians and music-lovers on the Voice of Firestone, which gave known and unknown musicians a platform to perform on and an audience to perform for. This show was the first sponsored radio programme and quickly became the most successful entertainment broadcast of its time. Just as its tyres support drivers on the road, Firestone supports these rising talents on their road to the main stage.’