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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Getachew

The Great Escape Review: What It's About and How to Go

The Great Escape festival is one of the biggest festivals for new music. The weekend is composed of around 500 new and developing artists from all over the world. Taking place in Brighton, the festival doesn’t take a normal form since it’s spread across Brighton and Hove venues and pubs. This festival claims to be your chance at seeing the next big artists in an intimate setting before they go on to headline major stages. Throughout my weekend at the festival, I got loads of questions about how I was able to go and what exactly the festival is all about. To most people, the idea of paying for people you’ve never heard about doesn't sound appealing. In this article, I’ll be telling the three main things you should do prior to booking tickets to The Great Escape 2024!

The Great Escape by nature is a music industry-dominated event. Brighton Beach was littered with head-hunters, agents and managers looking for talent. Alongside the festival is a separate conference that delegates (working in the music industry) could go to and attend industry panels and topical debates. This festival is a gold-mine for creatives looking for networking opportunities. I attended the Student Music Network as a vlogger/interviewer so I was met with a handful of big names and normally intimidating agents but the informal environment makes it incredibly easy to create connections and establish industry relationships.

The way the festival works is that artists actually apply to play; both signed and unsigned. Submissions are then reviewed by their booking team and chosen based purely on the quality of content, not numbers. Artists who’ve performed in the past include Ed Sheeran, Charli XCX and Adele! Behind every household name is a beginning and TGE is the bridge for new artists to play in a welcoming and easygoing setting.

Going into its 11th year of being the UK’s hotspot for new talent, TGE has been able to expand its reach significantly over the decade. Prior to this season, the biggest downfall was the spread of all the venues across the city. Not only is it a hassle to walk all up and down the city for days but also many venues have maximum capacity within the first 15 minutes of the door opening. For this season, Amazon Music sponsored a portion of the festival on the beach and erected three new stages for acts to play on. Having such a large sponsor behind the event definitely improved the quality of the overall festival and overall experience. The mobile app is designed to make your festival as easy as possible! They add artist descriptions and detailed maps of Brighton to help you navigate the grounds better.

Prior to attending, I had always figured that the festival wasn’t worth it as I wouldn’t know all the names but I found so many talented and approachable artists who were able to deliver 30 minutes of hard work into every performance. The best part of the festival is the beach!

Living in Brighton, The Great Escape marks the first weekend of people stepping out in groups and enjoying the sun for me. A huge plus for those who want to get involved for the whole experience but can’t finance it is TGE’s volunteer program. The festival offers 250 spaces to fill for students and adults around Brighton to gain first-hand experience of working in live music spaces. The roles range from venue operations to technical production! These volunteers are the backbone of the whole weekend and are responsible for keeping all shows to their set time and ensuring artists are able to perform to the best of their abilities.

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