Touted as ‘Europe’s leading festival for new music’ The Great Escape is a music conference situated in Brighton that showcases new music from known names and up and comers alike, while the conference aspect explores some of the industry’s hot topics.
Over 300 bands play across 30 different venues in this city of over 155,000 people. Running since 2006, past lineups have featured the likes of Adele, The xx, Alabama Shakes, Alt-J, The Temper Trap, Maximo Park, and Friendly Fires, while championing the rise of many others.
While a variety of shows are scattered throughout the city, the festival’s main headliners play the biggest shows at the Brighton Dome, which has a seated capacity of 1700 and standing capacity of 1860.
Keynote speakers in the past have included Radiohead’s Colin Greenwood, Adele collaborator Paul Epworth, Spotify founder Daniel Ek, and Norman Cook aka Fatboy Slim.
The Great Escape festival is for those who are not only interested in finding the next big act, but also for people who have a keen interest in the music industry. While the festival component allows punters to witness the latest trends from rising bands, the conference allows attendees to gain insights into the driving forces of change within the industry.
The festival also allows ticket holders to experience the city of Brighton without being restricted to one site where food options are often limited and expensive.
Kelis and Ella Eyre will headline one of the two Brighton Dome shows with the second yet to be announced. A plethora of acts have already been added to the bill with more still to come. The likes of Charli XCX, Circa Waves, Marika Hackman and The Hold Steady are set to be highlights of the event.
Homegrown acts on the bill include Hermitude, Dune Rats, The Creases, Money For Rope, Jeremy Neale, Ginger and The Ghost and Courtney Barnett.
Check out the full lineup here.
Where and When
The Great Escape festival and conference is held over three days from the 16th to the 18th of May, in the heart of European spring time.
The event is located all over Brighton and while travelling across the city might seem daunting, getting around by foot should suffice. There are also train, bus and taxi options available.
Check out Brighton’s official website for more information on getting around the city.
How To Get There
Australians travelling to Brighton must first catch flights to London. Return flights are upwards of $1,700 from all major Australian cities.
Once in London, getting to Brighton shouldn’t be much of a hassle. It takes under an hour via train from London Victoria Station.
While those heading from either London Heathrow or Gatwick airports can catch National Express bus services that take 2 hours and run regularly. For more details head to the National Express website.
If you’re a little more adventurous and decide to hire a car, it’s approximately a 45-minute drive from London to Brighton. Just take the M25 London orbital motorway. From M25, take the M23/A23 to Brighton & Hove. Coastal route A27 links the city east and west. Got that? Too easy.
Where To Stay
While the festival has also partnered with Journeys Hostel where they offer festival attendees with a wristband pass and three nights accommodation for $185.
Although these options fill up fast, but if you’re a little on the unorganized side, you needn’t stress there are plenty of other options for accommodation from five star hotels to cheap hostels. Check out the official Brighton website for more details.
How To Get Tickets
A three day festival pass will get you in all official venues around Brighton, setting you back £54.50 (booking fee inc.) Get your three day pass here.
Single day tickets and two day tickets are likely to come on sale closer to the event.
A three-day delegate pass allows you inside the convention and to networking events as well as priority access to gigs. The three-day pass is worth £145.00, while a multitude of hotel packages can also be purchased. View all the options here.
The Brighton Dome headline shows are not included in your festival passes, those tickets are sold separately. Follow this link and scroll down to find out all the details.
Insider Tips/ Things You Shouldn’t Miss
The Alternative Escape is a ‘secret’ strand of stripped back matinee shows presented by various sponsors, which are free entry for wristband holders. Keep your ear to the ground throughout the festival to find out where and when these events are. For more information on The Alternative Escape go to this link here.
While many attendees will bypass the delegate ticket for the festival only events, it would be a darn shame to miss out on keynote speeches at The Great Escape. Look out for the speakers to be announced in the lead up to the festival.
The festival also partners with a country every year to promote their music scene and local acts. While The Great Escape partnered with Australia in 2010, Finland is the event’s international partner in 2014. The partnership not only includes a host of Finnish acts playing at the festival, but a showcase featuring music from the area.
For more details head to The Great Escape’s official website.
Brighton Dome Headline shows include modern day troubadour and one of the UK’s biggest names in political folk Billy Bragg, Manchester’s art rockers Everything Everything, and London alterna-rockers Bastille.
International acts include everyone’s new favourite electro-duo AlunaGeorge, ‘Magick’ makers Klaxons, US/NZ psych-rockers Unkown Mortal Orchestra, the Kevin Parker-produced Melody’s Echo Chamber and more.
Aussies hitting up the bill will be the barely legal Snakadaktal, and Stonefield, Brisbane’s 12-piece 60s pop band Velicoraptor, Brisbane’s Hungry Kids of Hungary, Dune, Neighbourhood Youth and more.
With over 350 acts performing, be sure to check out the festival’s full lineup and interactive poster here.