FOR bands, the old saying goes that you never know who is listening in the audience.

If you are in the right place at the right time and put in a belting performance, a talent scout or music mogul could take your career to the next level.

But at Warrington Music Festival, an industry insider is actually part of the event.

Dave Monks, from BBC Introducing Merseyside, will be hosting the Golden Square stage on May 5 when emerging talent from the town and a little further afield will be playing all day. BBC Introducing is a service dedicated to discovering and championing new music and Dave has been involved with the platform since its launch in 2007.

The presenter helped put the spotlight on Viola Beach when they started out and is already well aware of many of the 22 bands and artists on the Sunday festival bill.

He said: “Looking at the line-up, there’s at least eight or nine that we’ve played on the show over the past couple of months.

“A lot of the artists are from Warrington or close to Warrington so a lot of them are on home turf which is good to see.

“It’s an ideal open-air spot right in the town centre. I think it’s going to be fantastic.”

Dave will also be using his Saturday show on BBC Radio Merseyside, from 8pm, to promote the festival and its grassroots talent.

He added: “The first one that jumps out is Sophie Morgan.

Crewe Guardian:

“She’s done some dates with The Waterboys in the past and she’s put out some really lovely, gentle music.

“She has an EP out called Sons and Daughters and I’ve playing her track off that and also Hey Annie. She’s a must see. She’s really good. Then later on there’s a Widnes band called The Racket who we’ve been playing.

“Just before the headliners there’s a band called Hanover, a four-piece from Warrington and Liverpool.

“They’ve sort of changed their style since they started off. We’ve played every track that they’ve uploaded to the BBC Introducing service.

“The latest one is Away From Grace and they really are good. They’re like a traditional band but they’ve got electronic elements to them as well.

“The bands at the top of the bill – Serratone, Kula Bay and Winachi Tribe – have all been featured on the show. We had the Winachi Tribe in last year for a session.”

Dave and the BBC Introducing team receive between 80 and 100 tracks a week from new artists and have been the first to play bands like Circa Waves.

He said: “The challenge breaking that down into a two-hour show. The standard in this region is really high. We’ve got some really good producers and studios not just in Liverpool but in Warrington and St Helens.”

One of the team’s recent successes has been getting bands onto the Glastonbury line-up including Red Rum Club, who have recently signed a record deal with Modern Sky.

Dave added: “They’re absolutely buzzing about that.

“It’s one of the dreams when you form a band to play somewhere like that. If artists have got enough tracks to get around to national stations and they like them too we can put them in the process to be selected for these festivals.”

Warrington Music Festival might not be quite Glastonbury – but Dave also reckons platforms like that are vital for exposure and confidence building.

Dave, who is also involved with Liverpool Sound City, said: “It’s very important to give new artists a platform to play and get out there.

“With venues closing it is vital that there are still opportunities for bands. There’s nothing better than playing to an audience when you’re trying to learn your craft and also when you’re at the point where you’ve got some really great songs and want to get some exposure.”