The Great Escape - Review 1 - A magical festival of new music

Rosemary and Garlic
Rosemary and Garlic

The streets of Brighton and Hove were graced with some of the world’s finest new musical talent last week as The Great Escape music festival made a triumphant return to the city.

Now in its 13th year, the festival featured almost 500 individual shows, across 61 venues, bringing more delegates, artists and visitors than any year in its history.

Grace Carter SUS-180523-183827001

Grace Carter SUS-180523-183827001

One of the stand-out factors of the festival was without doubt, the variety.

It was a delight to walk around an already vibrant city, and see festival-goers ranging from excitable young children to more mature, music-loving couples; and of course, everything in between.

From the dark depths of underground function rooms in some of Brighton’s best-loved pubs, through to the newly launched Beach Hub to the left of the pier, The Great Escape takes over the city in the best way possible.

The festival utilises and embraces its surroundings – hosting live music, conferences, networking, parties and just about everything else it can squeeze into the busy three-day schedule.

Day Fly

Day Fly

Attendees basked in gorgeous sunshine every day, and of course - like with any other festival, glitter, sequins and outlandish outfits were out in full force.

With artists from all around the world in attendance, the line-up boasted a broad range of genres and styles across every spectrum of the music industry in 2018.

From Melbourne to Spain, Amsterdam to London – the eclectic range of musicians worked tirelessly to provide incredible music across the city.

Second to the variety of acts, the next strength of the event is its successful execution.

Walking from venue to venue, the event runs just as smoothly as any other festival in the more traditional setting (a field) but instead, it’s based in a bustling city.

It’s not until you stumble past a surprise DJ set from a rock duo in the middle of the Dr.Martens store on Prince Albert Street, or attend a headline act at the YouTube stage on the beach (quite literally) that you remember you’re in the middle of Brighton.

The main attraction of The Great Escape is always discovering new artists, (alongside seeing those they may already know).

Having seen close to 40 different shows over three days and walking well over 50,000 steps, narrowing my experience down to just a few personal highlights is no easy task.

That said, several artists in particular feel worthy of stand-out mentions, and these include (but were by no means limited to) British superstar-to-be Call Me Loop, Finish break-out superstar ALMA, the ever-charming Grace Carter, Scotland’s sweetest - Nina Nesbitt, Dutch-

based Rosemary and Garlic and British electro duo Day Fly.

Roughly 75 per cent of the artists I saw over the three days were unknown to me prior to the festival, which speaks volumes for just

how much one can discover.

May is a busy month for Brightonians and tourists alike with the fabulous Fringe running, add to this The Great Escape and Brighton truly becomes a global destination for art and music lovers alike.

From the Jubilee Square ‘hub’ with the BBC Music stage all the way down to the multiple venues along the seafront and even onto the pier – Brighton was absolutely teaming with talent.

Commencing mostly around midday and running well into the early hours, the opportunities to witness new music, network and socialise were endless.

Although very much aimed at music industry professionals and artists alike, there is a wonderfully warm and welcoming feeling along every street. There is without doubt a serious focus on new music and emerging talent from across the world, and I for one think there is no better platform for it to be shared than this magical little festival.