A BAND from Hyndburn are a step closer to stardom after being voted the most promising new act in the whole of Europe.
Up-and-coming Maupa, whose members are from Clayton-le-Moors, Accrington and Blackburn, won the prestigious award at a star-studded concert in Montpellier, France.
The six-piece group, who are based in Clayton, had earlier been voted the best new band in Britain in a web poll organised by Internet giant Wanadoo, formerly known as Freeserve. They then went forward into a second Internet poll, in which they were pitted against other finalists from Spain, Holland and France, and the results were announced at the concert on Saturday.
Band manager Chris Yates said he hoped the accolade would raise the profile of the group. Their first single, Helpless, has already won praise from the national music press and the band have been compared to Coldplay and Elbow.
Chris said: "It was a fantastic achievement just to get to play at the concert, so when we heard the band had won it was even more amazing.
"It is a bit early to tell what effect it has had in terms of exposure, but playing in front of 6,000 people was really good experience. It was nerve-racking for them but they really enjoyed it."
The Wanadoo Discoveries concert also featured big-name stars such as Alicia Keys, Craig David, Jamelia and Christina Milian.
Maupa's prize for winning the poll, which attracted more than 800,000 votes, included a trophy and a major promotional campaign on Wanadoo websites throughout Europe.
The band - Anthony Gibbons, of Brisbane Street, David Boon, of Meadowside Avenue, and Matthew Smithson, of Mill Field, all Clayton-le-Moors; Patrick McKeown, of Royds Street, Accrington; and Lorcan Moriarty and Adam Bishop, both from Blackburn - are now looking forward to playing more gigs in Manchester and London.
Their debut album, The Minor Highs and The Major Lows, is due to be released in early June on the London-based Necessary Records label.