Kirklees Year of Music 2023 announce local talent who will perform in worldwide music industry showcase

Kirklees Council and Music Cities Events are thrilled to announce the artists that will feature in Platform, a career-changing Artist Exchange Showcase for Kirklees Year of Music 2023.

These artists who were selected from an open call in February, will participate in a public showcase on 27 April. They will perform a 20-minute live session in front of an audience of esteemed music industry representatives, the public and fans of the local talent. The showcase is part of a two-day programme of live music and industry panel seminars from 26 – 27 April at Huddersfield’s Lawrence Batley Theatre. You can book free tickets here.

From folk and psychedelic rock to R&B, the talented artists selected demonstrate the variety of talent in Kirklees. They are:

  • Four-piece indie pop rock band, Boxteles.
  • Don Gonzo, psychedelic rockers who blend elements of post-punk and jazz.
  • Here's The Steeple, who combines intricate textures and thoughtful lyrics with a wide range of folk influences.
  • Klonk, an 8-piece klezmer/funk collective.
  • Garage blues trio Knuckle.
  • Lo-fi R&B artist Isaac Malibu.
  • Singer-songwriter Lauren Mikki.
  • Singer-songwriter Lucas Bernard.

The featured artists were selected by a panel of representatives made up of local, regional, and Northern-based music industry professionals including James Smith from Fox Food Records, Noah Burton from Small Seeds, Sophie Cooper from hcmf//, and Eva Davies from Come Play With Me. The event promises to be an exciting opportunity for these talented musicians to showcase their work to a wider audience.

The judges noted special commendations for runners up Deadbeat Brass, 10 of the North’s finest horn and percussion players, and Fishing4Compliments, a 5-piece indie-folk/pop band from Huddersfield.

Platform will also consist of two music industry panel seminars on 26 April. The seminars will cover music publishing and artist development and management. The first seminar covers royalties, income generation, and the functions of a music publisher. This is delivered by Dan Jones from PRS for Music and Joel Dipple from Sentric Music, an independent music publisher based in Liverpool. The second seminar will focus on artist development and management, covering the role of artist managers and how they work alongside talent to develop their careers. It includes panellist Scott Lewis from Clue Records who are currently partnering up with EMI Leeds, prior to this Scott worked as an artist manager. 

This exchange will support musicians in securing festival and concert bookings or to sign international record label and management deals. The opportunity will also be a strong investment into the Kirklees music ecosystem; developing career-lasting relationships between key Kirklees music business stakeholders and music buyers. As well as providing valuable insights for the region’s music industry. As a region which has historically been cut off, largely due to geographical restrictions. Events like Platform are fundamental to plug early career Kirklees artists into the rest of the industry and highlight the incredible talent the area has to offer. Seminar tickets can be booked here.

Councillor Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council said: “This is an amazing opportunity for artists in the Kirklees area. It will also enable us to put our music offer on the map internationally. Working with a world-leading organisation like Music Cities will create opportunities and build relationships with the global music industry that will benefit Kirklees not just during the Year of Music, but well into the future.” 

Councillor Will Simpson, Cabinet Member for Culture at Kirklees Council added: “Here in Kirklees we've got a wealth of creative talent, and our Year of Music will shine a light on the brilliant artists right on our doorstep. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for local musicians to come face to face with top international figures from the music industry, develop career-defining partnerships and continue to put Kirklees on the cultural map."  

Don't miss this opportunity to see some of the best local musicians live and learn from industry experts.

- ENDS -

Notes to Editors


Please contact and for images please head the Kirklees Year of Music Media Centre.


Boxteles are a 4-piece Indie Pop Rock band based in Huddersfield. They have been performing for 4 years and have shared the stage with various UK acts including Kyle Falconer, The Lottery Winners, King No One, KAWALA, Larkins, Glass Caves and many more. Tom, Rex and Ollie were all awarded their higher education qualifications in various forms of music studies in Kirklees (University of Huddersfield).Over the next 12 months, Boxteles will be releasing seven new singles, with a new release every six weeks. 

Listen to Boxteles | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter


Don Gonzo are a 3-piece band based in Huddersfield that blend the raw unhinged power of psychedelic rock with elements of post-punk and jazz. Don Gonzo have played together for 5 years and have collaborated with one another for much longer in previous acts. They are currently recording their second album which will have a slightly new sound from their debut release.

Listen to Don Gonzo | Facebook | Instagram


Here’s The Steeple is the musical handle of Dan Walters. Dan’s songs combine intricate textures and thoughtful lyrics with a wide range of folk influences, all delivered with a uniquely rich and soulful Northern voice to warm you up like a good cup of tea.

Dan writes music based around acoustic guitar - often either fingerpicked or played in alternate tunings - and vocals, with a strong emphasis on his identity as a Northerner. He sings in his own accent, and deliberately writes lyrics using his own vernacular. He isinfluenced by folk and folk-adjacent artists including This Is The Kit, Fleet Foxes, and The Staves. Dan was encouraged to record his first EP by Matthew Chipchase, the former singer of Young Rebel Set (Ignition Records), this was released under the name 'Run The River'. He changed his stage name to 'Here's The Steeple' for his debut album, released in 2019 which was recorded with 15 local musicians in spare rooms across Huddersfield.

Listen to Here’s the Steeple | Facebook | Instagram 


Isaac Malibu’s music sits at the intersection of R&B and pop. With hip-hop, soul, funk and lo-fi influences, Isaac’s work has a heavy emphasis on strong vocal melodies and harmonies. His music is heavy on the vocals, featuring layers upon layers of harmonies, vocal runs, and adlibs - harkening back to the R&B of the late 90s and early 00s. 

Listen to Isaac Malibu | Instagram | Twitter


The music of Klonk has its origins in the secular Jewish and native folk music of Eastern Europe. This 8 piece plays tunes that have been passed down since the Middle Ages. For millennia, dances, rituals, and celebrations have had their own traditional musical accompaniment. The traditional Klezmarin (Jewish musicians) and their tunes were almost wiped out during the Holocaust, and it is only thanks to the hard work and dedication of a handful of people that they are still heard today. The Jewish and Romany peoples had much in common and shared and influenced each other’s melodies. Despite the history being difficult to unravel one thing is very clear - The legacy is rich and celebratory, and the tunes live on through the musicians and groups that perform them. Klonk continue this tradition in their own unique way.

Listen to Klonk | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter


Knuckle is a Garage Blues Trio. They have been a band for 9 years, starting as a guitar and drum duo and adding bass 6 years ago. They are due to release their second album 'Life's a Bench, Then They Put Your Name On It' on Philophobia Music later this year.

Listen to Knuckle | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter


Leeds-based singer/songwriter Lauren Mikki combines ethereal soundscapes with raw emotion in her music. The effect is distinctive and dreamy, interweaving layered harmonies and an infallible sense of melody that makes for an unmissable live experience. Growing up travelling between her northern home and family in the south, Lauren was surrounded by diverse musical tastes that have subtly influenced her style. From a childhood dominated by the indie tastes of her parents, she went on to discover her love for the likes of Eloise, Ariana Grande and Lana Del Rey. Lauren is currently working towards creating her first EP for her final project at university.

Listen to Lauren Mikki | Instagram


Originally hailing from France but now stationed in Huddersfield, singer-songwriter Lucas Bernard takes his inspiration from traces of traditional americana filtered through the inspiring musical heritage of Manchester where he spent the most of the last ten years as part of a band called JELA. He plays solo and fronts his 6-piece band under his own name.Lucas has released 4 singles and has two more plus a live EP in the pipeline for later this year.

Listen to Lucas Bernard | Facebook | Instagram 

About Kirklees Year of Music 2023 (KYOMO23)

Kirklees Year of Music in 2023, is a unique, place-based, cultural change programme initiated and led by Kirklees Council, part of the wider cultural offer in the region of West Yorkshire over the coming three years.  2023 is designated as a Year of Music for the district and, through investment in the district’s diverse music talent, communities and businesses, the year-long programme of events and projects, will strengthen the music ecology of Kirklees from its roots.  

2023 will celebrate the richness and diversity of Kirklees music heritage, the music created and performed today, and the ambition for the future, inclusive of all music genres, all communities and in all forms.  

Kirklees is a place where everyone can hear world class music through festivals and programming; where children and young people have access to high quality musical experiences and education; and where the next generation of musicians and music professionals can build and sustain a high-quality career, with access to the very best industry advice, career opportunities and performance routes. 

@musicinkirklees | #kirkleesyearofmusic | #YearOfMusic2023 | #kyom23 |

Sound Diplomacy

Sound Diplomacy is a global research and strategy consultancy, committed to building and supporting sustainable ecosystems that bring economic development to people, places and cities. They provide research and recommendations to businesses and policymakers to help them make informed decisions on the best use of places and how to stimulate economic, social and cultural growth.

Sound Diplomacy also presents Music Cities Events, the leading series of conferences focused on the business of culture, music and the night-time economy and their importance to communities, recognises the development of robust music ecosystems through the annual Music Cities Awards, and manages the online Music Cities Community

Music Cities Events

Music Cities Events organise the biggest international conferences on the topic of music cities, music policy and music tourism. They produce the leading international awards ceremony on music cities - the Music Cities Awards, and run the Music Cities Community, the first-ever platform for professionals in all industries using music to create more value in towns, cities & places.

In everything they do, they aim to educate on the value of music, and showcase the best uses of music by individuals, organisations and cities all over the world.

About Lawrence Batley Theatre

The Lawrence Batley Theatre is a cultural landmark located in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. Their mission is to provide exceptional entertainment and education to their community and beyond, with an extensive range of performances covering theatre, music, comedy, dance, film, and spoken word. Their modern facilities include a 400-seat main auditorium, a 100-seat studio theatre, and a range of performance spaces and workshop rooms to cater to all needs. The theatre supports both emerging and established artists, and their programming reflects a deep-rooted commitment to diversity and inclusivity.