Belfast Guitar Star Gary Lutton goes from gigging in city pubs to performing for 30,000
A Belfast musician has performed in front of 30,000 at the Latitude Festival after he won the Guitar Star talent competition.
Viewers of Tuesday night's televised final on Sky Arts saw Gary Lutton claim the coveted title.
The 23-year-old, originally from Carnmoney but now living in the Lisburn Road area, performed The Percolator by Eric Roche and Everywhere by Fleetwood Mac to be crowned winner of the show hosted by Edith Bowman.
Following more than 1,000 entries by performers across the UK and Ireland, musicians Nitin Sawhney, Helen Sanderson and Huey Morgan tested their ability in the audition rounds and then the shortlisted candidates were mentored by some of the biggest guitar stars in the world including Tony Iommi, Lee Ritenour, Rodrigo y Gabriela and Milos Karadaglic.
"It was an amazing experience," Gary said.
After nine weeks of competition Gary emerged as the winner and his prize was performing on the main stage at the Latitude Festival in Suffolk.
"It was insane," he told the Belfast Telegraph. "I play instrumental guitar so I am not used to such a large audience. It was a lot of people."
The Belfast Metropolitan College graduate is studying part- time for a music masters at the Ulster University's Magee campus.
"I did the national diploma in music at Belfast Met and now I am a lecturer there part-time," he said. "I gig in Belfast, mainly in bars and I did the Belfast Guitar Festival on Friday at T13."
Gary, who counts Van Morrison, Thomas Leeb and Mike Dodds among his music influences, says it is difficult to make a living from music in Belfast but he is hopeful he can combine his talents to forge a successful career.
"I love performing and teaching," he said. "It is hard to make money as a musician in Belfast as it is not a massive city like London. But in terms of the solo instrumental percussive stuff, there are quite a few of us doing that in Belfast and that is quite rare for a city this size."
Gary will be gigging at Whelans in Dublin on August 30.
For more about him follow @garyluttonmusic on Twitter or search Facebook.