Below you'll find a festival diary from 405 writer Robbie Wojciechowski, along with a 'Top 5' from 405 New Music Editor, Hector Barley. It doesn't end here though, as 405tv spent a lot of time hanging out on the beach with cameras (what's new...) - so expect more on that soon.

Festival Diary by Robbie Wojciechowski

Three days of gallivanting around the streets of Brighton, on the face of it sounds like the perfect idea for festival. Hence, over the last few years, The Great Escape has become a staple of the summer festivals, becoming a place where new music sits perfectly alongside sea and sandcastles. That is until you realise that Brighton is a busy and bustling place, where the loud and livid go to get their fix of the nightlife. With the seafront a maze of gash nightclubs and cheap pubs - by night, Brighton flocks full of the faces you try and forget exist in our society. Juxtapose those alongside a heavy dose of music industry busy bodies and you're mixing a cocktail with the devil.

But it's not all bad - by day, Brighton glistens, and those same people who fill the nightclubs by night are no more. Replacing them, are millions of kids getting their own fix from the gelato's and fish and chip shops that cover the high street.

From the shore right up to the station - venues open their doors to us punters, giving us open access to view what Brighton has to offer. From cherished indie stalwarts like the Klaxons and Everything Everything, right down to the steel pans of Fimber Bravo, or funk and soul grooves of Roosevelt, the Great Escape offers a little something for every taste. Gliding from one side of town to the other, and you feel certain calmness as you swing past bands loading in and out of venues. For most of them, it's back off home after their set. Ten minutes after their set, and it's back off to Glasgow they go.

Really, the British music press should cherish a chance like the Great Escape. Though the sets might not be of the highest quality you'll ever see, it's a perfect opportunity to pick on the acts that will go on to make the summer. The Great Escape offers us a chance to discover brilliant acts away from the world of blogs and soundcloud - as the pen pushers of the industry make way for plain old good music. What many forget while blogging is the importance of live when it comes to breaking a new band. But that's where the Great Escape establishes its market, by helping us remember live music again. Nothing can beat the sensation of falling upon a great live band, and that's not something we should forget when it comes to scouting new music.

One weekend spent in every venue Brighton has to offer comes to let you see a few things - mainly the drinks prices, which by comparison to London seem like pennies. Three days of sun-soaked fun, powered by endless cheap pints and salty battered sausages can have its effects on the mind. Brighton starts to feel like home; you start to question why it is you aren't living here - and why, if it has such a bustling music scene, it isn't a more prominent part of Britain's musical economy.

Top Picks:


Greco-Roman's latest signing, Roosevelt - a man of German descent who merges Italo disco and lo-fi pop in effortless fashion - shone throughout the weekend, first at his set inside the small confines of Audio on Friday night, and later on Saturday morning in the middle of the lanes. Getting audiences grooving with a selection of likeable, and groovy tracks, Roosevelt should be someone we'll be seeing a lot more of later this summer.


New York boys, Skaters, might only be making their first appearances on UK shores, but the plasma punk inspired four-piece make a sound that brings you back to the summer '05. Think Arctic Monkeys at their peak, with the raw live energy of Foals pre-Total Life Forever. Get ready for big choruses and cheeky vocalists.


There's something fascinating about bands that take inspiration from post-punk, and draw music further and further into the world of sonic disposition. A maze of guitar pedals, heavy compression and dizzy hedonism helps make up Kins. File next to Do Make Say Think, then sit back, relax, and watch them blow your mind.

Top 5 by Hector Barley


Highasakite. It's a terrible name isn't it. Luckily for the Norwegian 6-piece the cliche rings true, 'don't judge a band by its cover'. Not only did the band not play any covers, their set was incredibly enjoyable. The band was undoubtedly driven by the charismatic singer Ingrid Håvik, whose Lykke Li-esque on-stage presence could surely shine through any Norwegian winters day. Making the most of a reassuringly familiar Scandinavian pop-sentiment and idiosyncratic, intense instrumentation, Highasakite bounded through a thoroughly enjoyable set of experimental-pop songs. Even the broken-English stage banter was fittingly endearing, at one point seeing Håvik saying something like "here performing in Brighton great" prompting a chuckle clearly unexpected by the band. Who needs a good band-name when your musical output is as good as theirs?

Marika Hackman

Oh Marika, so majestic and endearing. The Brighton native stood with a quiet confidence before a heaving crowd at the small Unitarian church. The ornate, whitewashed church made for a perfect setting for Marika's beautiful, delicate acoustic-folk music. The church itself acted as an instrument that accompanied her stripped-back set, lending lush reverb and stunning acoustics to her restrained, melancholic sound. Marika is an unconventionally engaging performer; her expression remained neutral and her remarkably subtle and controlled voice danced gracefully over her simple guitar picking; Marika was able to effortlessly command the enraptured audience with nothing more than a guitar, voice and selection of engaging songs.


For most people, Childhood was a time that is remembered fondly; an age without responsibilities and full of endless hazy summers. Childhood is a suitable name for the London indie-rock quartet, who create muisc that is nothing if not enjoyable. Amidst a wave of fuzzy nostalgic 'guitar music-is-back' bands, Childhood prove that flawless songwriting and striking presence elevates the band beyond. Childhood's performance might be loud and energetic enough to get people at the front moving but it always remains considered and precise; the vocals danced majestically over the music and every instrument and dynamic had their place. Lets hope Childhood never reach adolescence.


Thumpers make perfect pop music. Said music effortlessly straddles a fragile line between flawless melodious pop sensibilities and 'indie credibility'. The London six-piece bound through a slick set littered with exuberant, infectious songs, all of which were overflowing with lush multiple-part harmonies and strong, engaging rhythmic patterns. The band are no strangers to the world of music, having previously made up part of mid-00s indie-darlings Pull Tiger Tail. This experience is immediately noticeable, providing a performance that was equally tight and riotously enjoyable.

Mac DeMarco

You'd struggle to not have fun watching Mac Demarco. Whether it's the bands endearingly slacker-rock ethos, novelty trucker-hats or maybe the Rammstein cover, DeMarco demonstrate their brand of psych-pop is nothing short of irresistible. It barely even matters that his singing was almost entirely incomprehensible and they rushed through every song, DeMarco and his band are cool motherfuckers. Above all else, the band were clearly enjoying themselves in front of the large captivated crowd, they ripped through their performance as though they were playing it for the first time - apparently the second of the bands shows ended up with DeMarco climbing on the roof. Mac DeMarco was wonderfully noisey, sloppy and fun.