It may still be trying to snow in some parts of Britain, but summer is just three months away. By which we mean, of course, the start of the festival season that is Brighton’s Great Escape, on the weekend of 16th-18th May. Taking place for the eighth year around the venues, bars, pubs, theatres, city squares, cafes and shops of the seaside city it is, as far as we know, the only wristband walkabout new music event where you can grab a stick of candyfloss and go and paddle in the sea between bands.

The weather, of course, can not be guaranteed (although it was lovely last year) but the quality and range of music up for grabs most certainly can. Most of this year’s line-up is still to be announced (and probably includes at least one band that doesn’t exist yet at the time of writing this in mid-February) but so far the list includes BRIT Awards Critics’ Choice winner (and Brighton Institute of Modern Music alumnus) Tom Odell, the twisty mathematical sounds of Gallops, 4AD’s latest signing Indians, a double dose of noisy Leeds from Eagulls and Dinosaur Pile-Up, hotly tipped lo-fi pop trio Unknown Mortal Orchestra and teen singer-songwriter prodigy King Krule.


As with previous years there will be a selection of premium shows at Brighton Dome for which separate tickets will be required (see below) of which Bastille will be headlining the Saturday night one (other nights will be announced in due course), and some fringe shows which are free to all with or without a wristband. And alongside the music there will be a full industry event with panel debates, talks, targeted networking sessions and keynote interviews for industry professionals and music business fans. Last year‘s was attended by over 3000 delegates from over 25 different countries.

One thing I’d always personally recommend, as a seasoned Great Escaper, is to go to the international showcases. They will probably be full of names you have never heard of, some of which you can’t pronounce and others of which involve peculiar uses of English – but they’re always good fun. Last year’s Catalan and Icelandic events were among the best bits of the weekend and previous years have seen Canadian, Japanese and French themed sessions. If you’re lucky there’s sometimes free drink or snacks for early arrivals; I remember one year at a Japanese party stuffing enough vegan sushi to keep me going for the rest of the day because nobody else wanted it. This year Great Escape has joined forces with Polish culture and heritage organisation The Adam Mickewicz Institute to bring you an event called “Don’t Panic, We’re From Poland!” and the first names on that are Très.b (whose line-up actually includes Anglo-Danish and Dutch-American members as well as Polish; doing their tour visa applications must be interesting!) and Brodka, with more to come.

Tickets are currently available at Earlybird rates, that being £45 for the festival and £145 for a full delegate pass. This is a limited offer, and closer to the event both prices will increase. Tickets for the Brighton Dome shows cost £7 each on top of your festival ticket, with limited tickets for non festival goers also available at £14.50. Your best bet for tickets for any of it is via the festival website, unless you’re actually in Brighton in which case please support your local independent record shop and buy them from Resident.

This is the full list of names announced to date – and no, you’re not meant to have heard of most of them, that’s the fun bit. For those who enjoy homework the festival website has comprehensive links, and the timetable is usually posted with a few weeks to spare to allow meticulous planning – or you can just run off the festival guide when you get there and see where you end up.

The 1975; Allah-Las; AlunaGeorge; Awaken I Am; Bastille; Bear’s Den; The Black Heart Rebellion; Blackeye; Blaudzun; Brodka; Caitlin Park; Charlie Straight; Childhood; Christine And The Queens; Chvrches; Cloud Boat; Cousins ; Cub Scouts; Dan Croll; Dark Star; David Rodigan; Del Barber; Dingus Khan ; Dinosaur Pile-Up; Drenge; Dune; Eagulls; Echo And The Empress; Eddi Front; Ed Harcourt; Eliza And The Bear; Fist City; Foam Lake; Gallops; How To Dress Well; Humans; Hungry Kids Of Hungary; Indians; Jacco Gardner; King Krule; Lab Coast; Lawrence Arabia; Lewis Watson; Luke Sital-Singh; Mac Demarco; Made In Japan; Marmozets; Mø; The Naturals; The Neighbourhood; Neighbourhood Youth; Nick Mulvey; Night Engine; Phosphorescent; Portasound; Rainy Milo; Royal Canoe; Ryan Keen; San Zhi; Skaters; Skip&Die; Sleepmakewaves; Snakadaktal; Soak; Spectres; Stonefield; Superfood; Sweet Baboo; Swim Deep; Teleman; To Kill A King; Tom Odell; Tomorrow’s World; Towns; Tres B; The Trouble With Templeton; The Upskirts; Unknown Mortal Orchestra; Velcro Hooks; Velociraptor; Wall; Wolf Alice; Young Rival .

And finally, if you’re in a band (or a solo artist) and think you should be on that list then you basically have about 48 hours at the time of writing to do something about it: click here, applications close on Friday 15th February.

Check the Great Escape website for more information and line-up additions.

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Cath Aubergine grew up in Cheshire near a chemical factory which sometimes turned the river orange; this may or may not have had lasting effects. It was however usefully close to Manchester where she published her first fanzine “Bobstonkin\' Aubergines” with a school friend in 1989. After spending most of the 90s trying to grow up, she admitted defeat in 2001 and started going to too many gigs instead. Cath started writing about music again for manchestermusic.co.uk in 2003, and now co-manages the site as well helping out with local bands, campaigning against pay-to-play promoters and holding down a proper job to fund her excessive music habits. Cath is obsessed with ten inch vinyl and aspires to have one day stayed at every Travelodge in Britain apart from the shit ones on motorway junctions.



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