Top cash prizes are again on offer as the Wexford People-sponsored Wexford Has Talent swings back on to the local entertainment calendar.
The annual event, the biggest talent competition in the South East, and one of the biggest in the country, was launched on Wexford Quayfront over the weekend, with Mayor George Lawlor (last year's MC for the final) and 2019 winner Luke Spellacy Shaw among those braving the biting cold to kick off the contest.
The 2020 Wexford Has Talent competition will reach its climax at the grand final on Saturday, February 29, but before that the all-important auditions and semi-finals take place.
This year, the hugely popular competition has three new prize categories: 'Over 25s', 'Music and Song' and 'Variety'. The winner of each category will receive a cool €750 while the overall Wexford People Wexford Has Talent winner collects a whopping €2,000.
Organisers say the new categories have been introduced to entice performers who may not have considered entering the competition in the past.
Singers, dancers and entertainers of all kinds from around the county are invited to register for a free audition place in the open auditions, taking place at Clayton Whites Hotel on Sunday, January 19.
Participants must over aged 8 years or older. Auditions slots can be reserved online in advance and are also open on the day to participants on a first come, first served basis. Auditions run from 12 noon to 6 p.m.
A panel of expert judges will welcome performers on the day and will cast their eyes over the 2020 performers, to whittle them down to 28 semi-finalists.
Wexford Has Talent serves as a fundraiser for Sarsfields GAA Club.
Club chairman Enda Whelan, one of the organisers, said: 'We have announced some new competition categories as we know there are a huge number of incredibly talented performers whom we have not seen join the Wexford Has Talent competition just yet and we hope that the prize category breakdown will assure them that we are serious about all genres of talent and age category of acts. It's like the X-Factor or Britain's Got Talent and if you can sing, do magic, dance, anything, we want to hear from you.'
Jim Hayes, Group Editor at People Newspapers, said the Wexford People is proud of its continuing association as principal sponsor of Wexford Has Talent, 'a competition run by a dedicated team of volunteers, showcasing and rewarding the very best of what Wexford entertainers have to offer.'
'I'd urge talented performers of all ages to give it a go at the auditions. You never know, it could be the springboard to national or even international stardom.'
After the auditions, the names of approximately 28 semi-finalists will be announced in this newspaper on Tuesday, January 21 in a big reveal.
The semi-final live shows take place at Clayton Whites Hotel on Saturday, February 1, and Sunday, February 2. At least a dozen acts will progress to perform before an audience of 600 at the Wexford Has Talent grand final on Saturday, February 29.
Wexford Has Talent winners have gone on to perform across the country, release albums and appear onstage at some of the biggest music festivals in Ireland. Previous winners include Fit for Kings, Tara Doyle Robinson, 7th Fret, Rachel Grace and Luke Spellacy Shaw.
Tickets for the Wexford Has Talent semi finals and final will go on sale over the coming weeks, priced at a very reasonable €10 and €15. To register for a free audition place, see www.wexfordhastalent.com