Festival Preview: The Great Escape

Tomorrow I shall be heading down to Brighton for the UK’s answer to SXSW, The Great Escape. It’s a wonderful weekend packed with some of the most exciting new bands in the world. Unfortunately  it’s not looking like we’re gonna have the weather of SXSW, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be great.

If you missed by day by day line-up recommendations, check out Thursday, Friday and Saturday. And below is a collective playlist of all 29 bands I think are must-sees! I’ve also listed some tips for first-timers.

Top Tips:

– Make sure you check out how far venues are from each other. You can do this using the handy map that is already online, click here. Some venues take 15 minutes to walk between so make sure you’re prepared.

– If you really, really, really want to see a band, make sure you get there early. I’d particularly say this is true of shows from CHVRCHES, Tom Odell and London Grammar. The evening corn exchange shows also usually fill up.

– Check out the city of Brighton during the day, the North Laine area (pictured at top) is particularly great, lined with wonderful little cafes and record shops.

– While your there, make sure you go to Resident Music Brighton’s finest record. Last year I managed to pick up a Girls vinyl which had sold out everywhere else.

Bombay Aloo, a Vegetarian Indian take-away restaurant I become slightly obsessed with for my three days in Brighton each year. £1.99 for a takeaway box of all you can eat curry. And it’s amazing. Thank me later. Located on St. Ship street, just off Kings Road.

– Beyond Days at Beyond Retro- the last few years they’ve had an array of great bands play in the vintage shop. Sometimes they publish the line-up online, but that’s not happened this year yet, so pop into the shop and pick up a leaflet. Beyond Retro is located on Vine Street, near the North Laine area.

– Sign up to the exclusive Great Escape text alerts. They send you info about secret gigs taking place around the city. Over the last few years I’ve seen the Smoke Fairies on a balcony, and James Vincent McMorrow play at the end of a pier. They also usually let you know when venues are full. Details are in the festival guide.


– Don’t forget about the Alternative Escape! Check out the line-up before you go, as it’s not usually fully listed in the guide.

– Relax, the best shows happen when you least expect. Go and see a band you’ve never heard of before, they might be your new favourite. Great Escape can be one of the best weekends of the summer, it can also be one of the most stressful!

See the full line-up here and schedule here.

The Great Escape Festival takes place this weekend from the 16th-18th May. Tickets have sold out. See you on the beach!



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