Brighton Rocks: The Great Escape 2011 is back

Scenes at The Great Escape 2010 by John Bownas
Scenes at The Great Escape 2010 by John Bownas

Daniel Fahey looks ahead to The Great Escape 2011 with who to see, what to drink and that all important Spotify playlist to get you in the mood.

The Great Escape? Isn’t that a Steve McQueen film?
It is, but that’s not what we’re here to natter over. I’m more excited about the three-day seaside getaway of the same name, which takes place around Brighton from 12-14 May.

I love the seaside!
You’ll love it even more when you find out that it’s not all about broken deckchairs, swindling arcade machines and sunburn. The Great Escape is a music festival that brings together boatloads of bands from around the globe – enough for Customs to get suspicious at the very least.

This year they’re focusing on Irish acts and I don’t mean crap like Westlife. Far from it. There will be the acoustic attractiveness from Villagers and James Vincent McMorrow to the more hectic, guitar-bashing beauties like Fight Like Apes and And So I Watch You From Afar….

Sounds good. What else is there?
Well, the programme is packed tighter than wet sand in a bucket with the return of DJ Shadow as well as indie bum-wigglers Friendly Fires and rapper-turned-pop-star Example. There’s so much more as well, just check out the line-up here, with Cerebal Ballzy, Starfucker and You Can’t Win Charlie Brown among the best band names. There’s also an industry conference if that floats your boat…

Who are the ‘must see’ bands this year then?
Well, you can’t go wrong with this lot:

Canada’s Brasstronaut seem sick of everything. Not in a smash-the-place-up-style, but in genital brass-led baroque pieces, where they wish death of things like the internet with as much force as a daisy fluttering in the wind.

Idiot Glee
Mormon pop with echoing harmonics and saintly arrangements.

Mumbling London rapper who owes a little to Mike Skinner for his delivery as he perches towards electro-dub with his beats.

Melodica, Melody And Me
With folk hotter than a pyre of burning acoustic guitars right now, Melodica, Melody And Me do it beautifully with dual-sex vocalists.

Sound Of Rum
Poet Kate Tempest leads a indie band that noodle away like Gil Scott-Heron did in the 70s.

I want to hear more!
Check out The Great Escape Spotify playlist here.

Wow. I want in! Can I still get tickets?
Well, Saturday single day tickets are sold out, but you can still get Thursday (£22.50) and Friday (£27.50) tickets as well as three-day (£49.50) tickets too. If you really can’t make it all, there are Friday and Saturday-combi (£38) tickets available too.

Click here to buy The Great Escape tickets.

What else do I need to know?
I best tell you that there’s no camping, so you should sort somewhere to stay, unless you think you can sleep on Brighton beach’s pebbles for three nights. I also suggest that you get into venues early to catch bands that you really want to see because once a gig is full they just won’t let you in. Oh and try the Tuaca – it’s a Great Escape staple.