A local musical foursome is set to perform at one of the UK’s biggest music festivals later this month.
Brand New Friend, made up of brother and sister pair Lauren and Taylor Johnson, Aaron Milligan and Luke Harris will be playing at Radio 1’s Big Weekend on Sunday, May 28.
Lauren (19) and Taylor (22), originally from Ballyclare, formed the band with Lauren’s boyfriend Aaron (19) and their friend Luke (18) in 2016.
The group will be the only band from Northern Ireland performing on the ‘Introducing Stage’ after being selected by a panel of music experts at the BBC.
Taylor, who writes and sings the songs, as well as playing guitar said: “We were nominated by Across the Line at BBC Radio Ulster and after listening to some of our material, a panel of music experts and DJs at the BBC in Britain selected us to play at the Big Weekend in Hull.
“We are privileged to not only be picked by the local guys at Across the Line, but also the big boys across the water.
“We really can’t believe it and are just trying to enjoy every second. The biggest audience we have played in front of is 300, so it will be a massive experience to play at such a big festival and we can’t wait.”
Lauren and Taylor now live in Castlerock, having studied at Slemish College in Ballymena. Lauren was Deputy Head Girl during her time at the Larne Road school, while Taylor, who now works as a freelance journalist was Head Boy.
Taylor was once a promising footballer, playing for Larne Youth during his career. However, at the age of 18 he decided he wanted to play music over football.
He added: “I have never had a music lesson as such, but a friend asked me if I wanted to start playing and writing music and I decided in the long-term to play music over football and now looking back, I am glad I made that decision.
“Lauren said I should buy a microphone and start recording some of the songs I was making, because up until that stage I had just been keeping them to myself.
“I agreed to get the mic, but only on the condition that Lauren would agree to sing some of the songs too. She did and the band took off from there, with Belfast boys Aaron on bass and Luke on drums.”