hmv previews…The Great Escape
Throughout the year, we're going to be bringing you a comprehensive preview of the summer's best festivals. This week it's the turn of The Great Escape...
Brighton, almost all of it.
May 8, 9 and 10 this year.
How did last year go?
Very well, it sold out for the first time and everybody who went seemed to have a great old time.
Who's playing this year?
The big names are Kelis, Wild Beasts, These New Puritans, Ella Eyre, Albert Hammond Jnr, Pulled Apart By Horses, Jon Hopkins and MNEK. But there are over 200 other names on the bill, including rising stars Jungle, hmv.com faves Lonely The Brave, Slaves and so many more great acts...
£49.50 for a three-day ticket, £56.50 if you also want to catch Wild Beasts' or Kelis' show at Brighton Dome as well.
hmv talks to Kat Morris, festival director of The Great Escape...
For those who don't know, how would you describe The Great Escape as a festival?
"The Great Escape is Europe’s leading festival for new music – we showcase 400 emerging artists in 30+ venues in the beautiful seaside city of Brighton. It’s been described in the past as the UK’s answer to SXSW and Steve Lamacq called it the “Cannes of the Music world last year” so hopefully that gives you a good indication!"
How did 2013's Great Escape go? Were you happy with things?
"Absolutely! It was the best yet and the first year we sold out, which was a very proud moment. Every year it feels like we achieve something greater than the previous festival, whether it’s line-up, a standout performance or even being blessed with beautiful weather (Yep, even as a city festival that takes place in venues, weather still makes a huge difference!). We had some brilliant moments, like London Grammar giving an incredible show in a church and Iggy Azalea sending the crowd completely wild in a tiny venue just off the seafront. It really was great!"
The festival takes place down in Brighton, how has the city responded to the event? Do the locals like it?
"Brighton is a wonderfully creative city, with a fantastic live music scene and therefore has the perfect infrastructure to run The Great Escape, as well as having a community that is really naturally receptive to what we’re trying to achieve with the festival. The arrival of The Great Escape for 3-days a year just brings an extra buzz to the city – the whole place becomes heightened as every bar, café, and venue gets involved; Just walking through the lanes you can see how everyone is engaged with the music and the vibe of the festival – a lot of locals attend and we hope they look forward to the festivals return every year."
What changes have you made for 2014? Anything we should look out for in terms of layout or new additions?
"We are expanding and do have a couple of new venues which will be announced in due course. I can’t give too much away at this stage, but it’s definitely all going to be bigger and better."
It's known as a festival for newer acts, how difficult is it to gauge which bands to book ahead of time?
"In some ways its really hard, but that’s a lot to do with the sheer volume of artists that are showcased… however, ultimately, it is an exciting process of discovery. During our festival booking months the team are out most nights listening to new artists and spend weeks reviewing new music online. We also have a system in place where all artists can register for consideration via our website (deadline for 2014 has passed, we’ll open again for 2015 in the autumn)."
"Those submissions are reviewed by the bookings team on a daily basis. In addition the core team travel to other international showcase festivals between one TGE and next, listening first hand to bands from outside of the UK. We also place a spotlight on one international partner each year. This year it is Music Finland. Basically, we’re a team of complete music addicts, and we hear something which compels us to share it with our festival goers, then they get booked."
What do you look for in the bigger bands you book?
"Our booking process is the same for bands whether they are on their first EP or fifth album – if we feel that they are doing something new, exciting, boundary pushing and are guaranteed to give festival goers an amazing show, then we book them."
Tell us about the rest of the bill, who are you most excited to see?
"One artist that I’m really looking forward to seeing Jaako Eino Kalevi, who is performing as part our International Partner MusicFinland’s showcase. I’m also really excited about Albert Hammond, JR, Courtney Barnett, Jon Hopkins, MNEK, Charli XCX, Hozier… I could go on!"
Finally, if you could book any band in the world to headline The Great Escape, who would you book?
"I’d love to see the return of an artist that played at the festival before they made it really big – we’ve got a lot to choose from... From Adele in 2007, to Mumford & Sons and The XX in 2008, it would be great to get some of the TGE alumni back on our festival stages."