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University music expert to perform at international festival in United States

A University of Gloucestershire music expert and his critically acclaimed band will perform at a major festival in the United States that attracts 300,000 people.

Mark Daman Thomas, Academic Course Lead for Popular Music within the University’s School of Creative Arts, is a founder member of the band Islet, who have been chosen to perform at the South by South West (SXSW) Music Festival 2024 on 11-16 March in Austin, Texas.

The SXSW Music Festival brings together artists, industry professionals, and music lovers from around the world to make connections, elevate their careers, and celebrate the magic of live music.

Performers at this year’s festival also include five-time Grammy-winning band The Black Keys, legendary singer-songwriter Bootsy Collins, and rap duo Flyana Boss, who gained worldwide fame with their recent viral hit ‘You Wish’.

Formed in 2009, the band, who are signed to Fire Records, have released four studio albums and four EPs, and have been shortlisted for the Welsh Music Prize twice.

Reviewers have described Islet as ‘more of a happening than a band’ (The Independent), ‘unmissable’ (Q) and ‘one of the best live bands playing in Britain’ (Loud and Quiet).

the four members of the band Islet stood next to each other - image has a red tinge
The band Islet, featuring Mark Daman Thomas, second right (photo: Megan Winstone)

Mark Daman Thomas said: “We’re very excited to be among the bands performing at this year’s SXSW Music Festival. As a band, we love playing live, and to do so at such an exciting festival is a fantastic opportunity. We released our latest album ‘Soft Fascination’ late last year and I am looking forward to playing songs from that record at SXSW.

“As an academic as well as a practicing musician, it is also an opportunity for me to connect with the music industry, watch lots of other artists from around the world perform and bring back up-to-date knowledge which can benefit our students.”

Main image: Mark Daman Thomas working with a student at University of Gloucestershire