With the sheer overwhelming levels of buzz, hype and bluster surrounding Brighton’s Great Escape festival, the most sensible way to approach it is to acquire a time machine, go back to previous year’s festival and catch all the bands you kicked yourself for missing a year later, before you started liking them, and when you didn’t notice them on the bill at the time. Previous years have seen Vampire Weekend, Bombay Bicycle Club, Klaxons, Gallows, Good Shoes, Laura Marling, British Sea Power and Crystal Castles get by if not unnoticed, then certainly un-mobbed-to-within-an-inch-of-their-lives. If, pathetically, your media prowess doesn’t stretch to time travel, the Great Escape can be both a treasure hunt and a minefield, including great new band experiences, and pap.
Five years in, TGE2011 looks set to be scorcher, hosting a stellar selection of both old and new, homegrown and international music. Those you might have already heard of include Dundee’s newly-mellowed enfant terribles The View, cherubic indie partyboys Friendly Fires, Sufjan Stevens, Just Jack-V-2.0 Example, The Vaccines, The Heartbreaks, The Joy Formidable, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Guillemots,We are the Physics, Frankie and the Heartbreaks, Katy B, Warpaint, Handsome Furs, Art Brut, Yuck, Frank Turner and Sons and Daughters.
The music festival, as always, runs parallel to its own industry convention, hosting talks, parties and masterclasses to delegate pass-holders. Delegate passes are available to enable you to “network”, attend “showcases“, “frantically run from venue to venue trying to find meagre portions of free food and alcohol”, and generally plug your eager nodes into the music business. Delegate passes also get priority status for gig entry, in other words, judging by previous years, are essential if you actually want to get in to see any bands*.
“Buzz music”-wise, Making either a big noise or a big stink at this year’s festival, depending whether the prospect of “discovering new music” makes you excited or furiously angry, are surprisingly harsh London metallers Flats, the latest Oakenfold-Animal Collective electronic crossbreeds Braids, SBTRKT and Grimes as well as British rap’s ever-ascending stars DELS and Devlin. Also playing are R.O.M.A.N.C.E, Funeral Suits, Tribes, Team Ghost, Idiot Glee, Matthew and the Atlas, The Radio Dept, and other bands who are already old news, depending on how amazingly cooooooooool and on the puuuuuuuuuuuulse you are (or who won’t mean anything to you until you jump into the previously mentioned time machine in 2012).
The Great Escape takes place 12th – 14th May, across multiple venues in Brighton, East Sussex.
*just kidding, Great Escape lovers!