Brighton, that colourful and culturally vibrant city on the south coast. For decades, people have made the pilgrimage to its shoreline in search of good times and respite from the daily grind. It's been a while since the Mods and Rockers would converge on the city, however, a broader spectrum of folk now migrate here looking to embrace Brighton's unique culture.

The Great Escape is distinctly Brightonian, with venues scattered across the city and a lineup of the hottest new acts carefully curated to broaden musical spectrums. It's impossible to come away from TGE without discovering new music - with up-and-coming artists championed by the festival and sponsors, you're more likely to find new acts headlining the main stages than Radio 1 regulars. That's not to say the line doesn't feature big acts, Mystery Jets, Stormzy and Frances to name a few all occupied Brighton for the weekend. It's a festival designed to open doors to acts and engage music lovers.

To fully appreciate The Great Escape you must be open to discovering new music, embracing street culture, taking in the architecture, and slowing down to the typical slow and steady pace of the locals.

We spent the festival hanging out with some of the artists playing over the weekend - showing them what's great about the musical city of Brighton. We spent the afternoon with french band Her, talking about their native food and visiting the Pavilions - a must see over the weekend. We checked out the street art of the North Laines with Sam Sure to see if his artwork was still intact (sadly not but it was an enlightening couple of hours). His knowledge of street art is well founded and clearly a strong influence on his music! Canadian bands LA Foster and Wake Island were down as part of the Pop Montreal showcase at Green Door Store; after their shows we checked out the framed Banksy with Wake Island before heading to the sea with LA Foster. We asked the all the artists we spent time with what their favourite bits of Brighton and the festival were, retrospectively. The Great Escape couldn't be any more Brighton if it tried.


What we did at TGE:

  • Sam Sure: checked out his old street art spots in brighton
  • Frances: hung out at her room in the Hilton
  • salute: had a beer at Twisted Lemon
  • MIAMIGO: explored around Brunswick Square in Hove
  • K-X-P: went to look at West Pier
  • The Hearing: explored the victorian buildings around Brighton station
  • Wake Island: had a look at the painted houses in the Laines/Check out the framed Banksy
  • LA Foster: took her to the sea
  • Bleeding Heart Pigeons: went and had an ice cream
  • Her: hung out in the Pavillion gardens
  • Zak Abel: heltered from the rain before his show/checked out the old fishing boats
  • JFVHS: got blown around on the beach
  • Jodie Abicus/GIRLI: hung out on the pier


Sam Sure

"Brighton is great...g raffiti everywhere! TGE is an amazing festival; the programming is so diverse and you never know who will appear and the bill. You can stumble on the sickest show ever."


The Hearing

"The city seemed super lively and cool, with all the venues, bars, shops and tattoo parlours! And met so many nice people during the festival. Would love to visit again some lovely spring or summer day."


LCMDF

"The highlight was probably spending two days at the Brighton Pier tivoli, and winning the main prize at one of those weird ticket machines. We won 500 tickets, that equals 20 glow sticks."


K-X-P

"Brighton has this distant "edge of the world" vibe. Off-season beach resort. Ice cream never melts cause its too damn cold and Poseidon brings this wet mist from the ocean that is not rain, but much more dense than the friendly fog we have in Finland. Sit down on the beach and look at that burned down pier and for a moment you are in dystopian (or utopian) comfort zone, and last man on earth.

This was my first Great Escape and I enjoyed Frisco and D Double E at Prince Albert on Friday. Floor was bouncing. Got really paranoid that the floor structure might actually cave in, so I found an electric cord on the wall... I was hanging on to it for the whole set.

On Saturday I went to the Paganini Room cause Paganini actually played there in 1831.

Rozi Plain was great. Proper live band and singer with a great voice, guitar licks and charisma.

Saw Finno band Elifantree. Wow... Like a breath of fresh sea air after all those generic bands. There was this amazing synth moment like Rush's Moving Pictures. Trust me, I don't like complicated music and prog-rock has too many notes usually, but this shit was heavy!"


Wake Island

"We had a really amazing time in Brighton during The Great Escape. First of all, the city has a really cool vibe and is very pretty, the atmosphere there is welcoming from the minute one arrives in the train station. It is clear that Brighton is a music city that contains many cool venues and performance spaces concentrated in the center of the city and TGE uses this feature quite efficiently. Hopping from a venue to another to check out different shows was very easy to do by foot and we even found a beautiful relaxation spot on the shore by the water where we took breaks and chilled out in the afternoons before hitting the evening shows. That is really special and pretty rare for a big festival. In general, we found TGE to be very well organized, big enough without being overwhelming, and extremely fun! We really appreciated the fact that it didn't feel like a huge corporate festival and we hope that it will manage to stay that way in the years to come because this is what makes people feel good about being there and that's what catalyzes real connections among artists and industry. In general, we had a great time there discovering new music and making new friendships. We'd love to come back and do it again next year!"


GIRLI

"Seeing sick gigs then partying all night, before going to bed at 6am and waking up at midday for the bands and fish and chips. Lady Leshurr at patterns was wicked. She has such a warm and witty stage presence with not a shred of ego. And there was a lounge for artists playing the festival sponsored by Spotify and they had free booze, food, massages, and haircuts. I got a bit too excited about this."


LA Foster

"The Great Escape was a wildly positive experience. Being my first time playing it; playing Brighton and being an independent artist, I feel like I was exposed to so much talent and so many interesting people that now my drive is just that much more. The city has so much character and you immediately feel part of it all. I loved walking through the narrow streets winding to the ocean. It's a lovely place that hosts an incredible festival."


MIAMIGO

"It was our first time playing an outdoor show, the sun was shining and we were in our home town so it was pretty special! We played our first ever show at TGE last year, so having strangers in the crowd singing along this time was surreal, and awesome! Seeing Transviolet play Patterns was a highlight, they killed it!"


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