Finally the day had come: The Great Escape Festival in Brighton was about to start, which for me meant the official start of festival season, yay!
For those of you who don’t know about TGE – it is a 3-day festival in the amazing city of Brighton with its beautiful seafront. The festival is spread across the whole city, performances and stages are in music halls, clubs or even tiny pubs. Spotlight is on emerging or independent singers and bands, and the line-up is huge! So you’ll definitely find artists you have never seen/heard before!
Panels, discussions and speeches are provided for those who work in the music industry which makes the Great Escape an amazing place for networking as well.
So let’s start with Thursday! Pouring rain awaited me when I arrived in Brighton, obviously. After collecting my ticket and wristband for the festival and checking in into my lovely Bed & Breakfast (seriously guys, if you ever consider staying in Brighton for a few days, then go to Colson House – it’s lovely and no this is no advertisement, just sharing my experiences. )
Anyway, I headed down to Hotel Pelirocco for Liberty Music PR‘s GRL PWR showcase. Unfortunately I arrived quite late so most acts had already performed – nevertheless I was still able to watch and listen to amazing performances, including JONES who was headlining. I have to admit, I didn’t know the pop/soulsinger before but I’m glad I do now. Check her out here.
The incredibly intimate setting of the venue turned it into an even more special experience.
Another act I am very thankful to finally having seen was Ray BLK at The Old Market. Born in Nigeria and raised in South London, the singer has made major waves in the music biz over the past year by receiving several awards and releasing masterpieces of songs. Check out her debut album Durt here. I promise you will love it if you are into R&B and soul.
Safe to say that she did not disappoint at all. Her vocals are so extremely soulful, heartfelt and passionate, and you just know that she loves what she is doing. A proper live band, consisting of background singers, a bassist, drummer and more, made a great contribution to the set and left me highly impressed. I’m looking forward to seeing her again this summer at Lovebox Festival! Watch a video of her show here.
On to day two! Have you ever been to a show at a Vintage store? Yeah, me neither, until Saturday afternoon when I headed over to Beyond Retro for the Leeds-based band Marsicans. What a fancy, powerful and uplifting performance they delivered! Brilliant guitar riffs and energizing drum sounds is what they are all about. The fact it was based in a vintage store made the performance even more authentic. In case you don’t know the indie-rock/pop band yet, check them out here.
After a few drinks and some networking at the Arch, we headed straight to Shooshh where GRM Daily had its showcase – with a pretty solid line-up that consisted of Not3s, Kojo Funds, Tizzy and Brandz and many more special guests.
Right after GRM Daily, New Gen had its afterparty at Patterns – a club close-by.
What can I say guys, the New Gen compilation, launched on Caroline SM’s New Gen radio show on Radar Radio and recorded via XL Recordings, is my favourite release of this year so far and I listen to it A LOT because it’s just that good. And no, I’m not exaggerating 😉 If you don’t know what I’m talking about, do me a favour and check it out here.
So anyway, the show at Patterns was dope. I was right in time for 67, a rap crew straight outta Brixton Hill. Raw and gritty bars combined with haunting, heavy beats is what makes them unique. Recently they unleashed a collab (Listen here) with Nadia Rose, and all of a sudden she came out to support them on stage! It was a real turn up, believe me.
Jevon followed – his live version of Man Of The Hour was flawless, if not even better than recorded! Same goes for Renz who was next! After special guests Belly Squad, Bonkaz came out to perform a couple tracks, And Dat among others, and confidentally shut down the stage – the club was hyped!
All in all, it was an amazing night. I can’t really put it in words though because it was so unbelievably eventful!
The last day, Saturday 20th, was rather relaxing. Or at least I thought so in the beginning.
I headed back to Beyond Retro to watch Skies, a Kent-based band which mix rock, pop and emo elements, and delivered a bracing perfomance!
Swedish electronic/pop singer Skott and East London’s rapper Ryan De La Cruz (who had such an incredible energy, wow!) were on my programme next after I fuelled up at an All You Can Eat Buffet.
The highlight of the night was Stefflon Don though! Her “I don’t give a shit”-attitude is admiring, and so are her tracks. Booty-shaking dancehall combined with rap elements and uncensored, honest lyrics – that’s what you could look forward to! Much to my enjoyment she brought out Abra Cadabra for their collaboration Envy Us – they nailed it.
Then the coolest part happened though: For her last track Real Ting she asked people in the crowd to join her on stage, and what can I say – I definitely did not expect that I would ever be dancing on stage with her and a few others. It was a bizarre moment which I will surely never forget!
So as a conclusion I can say: Great Escape, you were literally great!! Can’t wait for next year which is going to be even better because the Unsigned Music Awards will take place one day before! For more information please read here!
I hope you enjoyed reading my little review – I tried to make it as short as possible 😉 Cheers to everyone who made this weekend a memorable one <3