Now in its eleventh year, The Great Escape (TGE) festival (19-21 May 2016) looks like it will be going from strength to strength in 2016. It’s the UK’s most industry focused festival, with its emphasis being on the new classes of bands coming through the ranks, as well as having the TGE convention where industry professionals can debate and discuss the future of our fabled industry. The fact it’s based in Brighton is a massive help in its successes: it’s a centrifuge of artistic and creative talent with the added bonus of being next to the seaside.
For those not in the know, it’s the equivalent of the American festival SXSW, which is essentially a mammoth music convention a la mecca. It’s the perfect destination for music lovers and workers, a melting pot of ideas and talent.
This year’s first round of acts has been announced, much sooner than we’d normally expect. With one of the coveted Spotlight Shows (formerly Dome shows) going to pop hit-writing duo Oh Wonder (pictured at top), who back in September 2015 released their self-titled debut record that consists of their promise to record and release one song a month for one year, starting in September 2014. Certainly a strong start for the festival. They will be supported by Shura and Masa Mura, a not to be missed show.
One of the more recognisable, bigger names on the released list of first acts to be revealed is Mystery Jets, who are no stranger having played back in 2009 and who have held our hearts ever since ‘Two Doors Down’ was released in 2008. They’ve returned with the announcement of a fifth album due out in January 2016, so we should expect to hear a mix of new material and old.
Owen Rabbit. will certainly be another artist to watch. The 24-year old Melbournian utilises what is essentially junk to create instrumentation that layers up to form a sculpture of electronica not easily found with the use of even the best equipment. He will definitely bring an intriguing and exciting performance, with the perk of being environmentally friendly.
Last year’s headliners Alabama Shakes previously played back in 2012, so the anticipation for the announcement of this next year’s top acts is high. The spread of talent is so wide, the festival isn’t known for one particular genre or favouritism to certain acts, past highlights have included everyone from Adele (2007) to Fat White Family (2014), Ed Sheeran (2011) to Charli XCX (2014), and absolutely everything in between.
Acts come from all over the planet be a part of one of the most exciting festivals, one that’s full of discovery and absolute wonder. This year is set to be better than ever, they’ve even reduced the age limit to some of the venues to 16+ so the range of music lovers can grow. We all know what it’s like to miss out on the coolest events because of age at some point in our lives, and this just shows the lengths they’re going through to approach almost absolutely every demographic.
TGE is one festival not to be missed, with over 30 different venues housing the plethora of bands and fans, you’re sure to find something worth watching, even if it’s a familiar name or a 24-year old Australian playing empty bottles, you’ll be hard pressed to not have a good time. If you really do find yourself at a loose end with no music to watch, there’s always the beach.