The Great Escape Festival

Hello my pretties, yes I know it’s been a while…yes I know there’s no real excuse…besides uni work and waitressing…but still no excuse to leave you hanging for this long. So it’s a good thing that I have an intriguing story for you isn’t it?
Let’s get to it shall we?
Hey mumma look it’s me!
Right, so as of Thursday I volunteered for a little festival called The Great Escape, heard of it? I’m sure you have, as it is Europe’s leading festival for new music based in Brighton, with over 400 bands playing across three days. It just so happens that this year it celebrated its 10thbirthday. Anyways as I said I volunteered to work it, which involved exchanging wrist bands for tickets, then ‘supervising’ acoustic gigs at the Arts Museum near the Royal Pavilion, but we’ll get to that bit a little later. As a reward for the hours I put into working there I received free entry to all the gigs, being a musician you can imagine how excited I was about that. Especially as the music range was so diverse. Bands and artists were scattered all around Brighton, playing both local venues and pubs or playing on the street like a perfectly amplified, scheduled busking session; if you’ve never been I highly recommend it. I recommend volunteering even more as it is such a remarkable experience that cannot be beat, hence I will be volunteering again net year.
Out of all the bands I managed to see…and remember seeing after all this was a festival in which I only really paid for alcohol…I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people hung-over in Brighton streets all at once…or see so many people drinking before 11am…but back to my point. There are a handful of bands I want to talk to you lovely people about, adding them to list of artists you should give a few moments to. The great thing…well one of…was that fact they were all new, upcoming artists, pretty much all of them I had never heard of, so it was a wonderful experience just showing up at a venue to watch a random band…something I once again recommend people to do. Which is exactly what happened with the first band I saw Aquilla now this band definitely had talent on their side, with a big focus on ambiance, however they are more of a band you listen to rather than watch.
The Jacques @ The Hub
Another band I feel are worth a mention are The Jacques, a four piece from Bristol. They played Brighton’s The Hub at 12.30pm, playing this early you could tell it was something they weren’t used to as it took them awhile to get into their set, however when they did their onstage banter started to project into the crowd. They became more and more interactive whilst still maintaining their attitude and personas. Notably, their songs were heavily focused on harmonises and interesting bass lines, similar to the style of the Pixies. What’s more there songs were danceable without swaying too much towards pop genre, all thanks to the bass lines. A key track for me was Painkillers, which I found to have a mesmerising beat, keeping a danceable state, yet with interesting melodic turns.
One of my personally favourite finds was a band called Versus You, anyone who is a sucker for pop punk like I am should check out this Luxembourgen band. This band had me completely captivated that I couldn’t bring myself to make notes during their set, I simply enjoyed their presence and songs. With memorable hooks and fast paces tracks relating similarly to Green Day’s Dookie album and any Blink 182 track. They are definitely one of those bands you couldn’t help but sing along to and completely go mental in a crowd for…even at The Hope & Ruinat 13.15. But they are a band I’ve been listening to constantly since finding them on Spotify.
PollyAnna @ Sticky Mikes Frog Bar
With the pop punk vibe still coursing through my veins I ventured to Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar at 14.00 to see PollyAnna. Now this is a band that is very hard to place on the genre table. Her performance was completely hypnotising, with a beautiful voice that had the power to just cut through you. She began her set with a electronic song, however the rest included singer-songwriter acoustic songs to heavier rock songs, back to a more pop orientation. All the diverse sounds were intriguing combined with a intimate show was truly breath taking. The even more amazing thing is to think that she is an artist that I wouldn’t have necessarily took the time to listen to online, I fell in love with her live performance and look forward to seeing her when she returned to the UK for round two.
Remember I mentioned I was moved to the museum to ‘supervise’ some of the acoustic shows? Well those were experiences I won’t ever forget. It was something extremely out of the ordinary to watch these singer-songwriters. The sets were so intimate that you could hear a pin drop in the audience. The only thing missing was lighters in the air…but then the fire alarms would have gone off and nobody needs that!
Rory Indiana @ Unitarian Stage
Now the last band I want to mention are no strangers to you, at least they shouldn’t be I talk about them enough. And that is my very own Rory Indiana. Unfortunately all three of their sets clashed with my work hours, but my team leader was sweet enough to let me run off and see one of my favourite bands play. Turns out he was there too the sly devil. But the guys played in a setting that would be unfamiliar to any artist of their genre, and that was under the sun in the middle of street…still with their full effects and grit that they deliver in places such as the Hope & Ruin or The Haunt. I won’t lie I was slightly sceptical about the ‘venue’ choice  but it turns out it was truly remarkable, worked so well. Kinda like two opposites so different that they can’t help but work. Now we all know I could go on and on and on about Rory Indiana so I’ll stop whilst I’m ahead.
My hat goes off to all the bands that either played the Great Escape, Alternative Stages or Brighton Fringe Festival. There was some serious talent there, many of which I saw, but there is far to many to document in one blog post. This has given me so much inspiration and motivation to apply to my own writing and performing methods. What’s more, I met so many remarkable people over these past few days who mad the experience that little bit better.
Now where’s the sign up sheet for next year?!

For now, unpleasant dreams.

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