The Big One: The Great Escape

United Kingdom United Kingdom | by Daniel Fahey | 12 May 2009

What is it?

Essentially, The Great Escape is the indie version of X-Factor without Simon Cowell or any neck high trousers - unless of course you’re watching east end art punks S.C.U.M.. Some 300 emerging acts from around the globe take over the seaside city of Brighton for three days to show industry insiders that they’re ready to the become fully-fledged rockstars for their job. A few festival stalwarts – Kasabian, The Charlatans, British Sea Power – are thrown in for good measure. There are also industry talks, conferences, debates and panel sessions for those who are after more than just music.

When and where?

It all kicks off this Thursday (14 May) and continues through until Saturday (16 May), taking in over 30 venues around the city of Brighton, Sussex.

Who to watch

After only a handful of festivals this year, there is one name that seems to be topping each review – Kasabian. See why the swagger rock lads are causing such a commotion already.

Catchy nu-disco from the US with an enigmatic frontman who are guaranteed to get the crowd dancing.

The Chapman Family
A more aggressive version of Maximo Park, The Chapman Family are noisy, energetic and hitting playlists at a rate of knots.

One to miss

The Temper Trap
Australian unich indie that rarely teeters above 80’s indulgence.

Playing a rare festival date

Gang Of Four
With only four UK festival appearances in the past five years, the iconic and influential post punk group are back – don’t miss them.

Inside tip

African Head Charge – Corn Exchange, Saturday
A cacophony of broken African beats merged together in a Fuck Buttons-sounding landscape. NB not to be confused with the awful punk rock group American Head Charge.

Be at The Great Escape if you like…

Saving pennies by combining a weekend getaway with a festival. If the weather is kind, days can be spent catching rays on the infamous pebbled beach and along the end of the pier, while the evenings will give you more musical entertainment than John Peel’s record collection (almost).

Avoid if you hate…

Queuing or walking. With one wristband giving ticket holders access to all venues, certain gigs will quickly fill to capacity and queues will be inevitable. And if you don’t manage to make it into the first venue you fancy, there’s likely to be a hike to your second choice.

Festival tactics

If you desperately want to catch one of the bigger acts or NME-touted names, it’s best to get to the gig early doors because the venue will reach capacity. Plus there is plenty of quality acts further down the bill, so you needn’t worry.

Fashionista or folky?

Brighton is fashionable enough as it is, but when organisers add a hoard of emerging acts you’ve got something so forward thinking you’ll need a time machine to take notes.

Alcohol of choice

Tuaca. This brandy-based liquor is to Brighton, what schnapps is to Austria, so when in Rome…

Take you mum score – 6/10

She may even be old enough to remember the likes of Gang Of Four, so why let her miss out on the opportunity to see them live? Let her wander The Lanes during the day and have a comfy night’s sleep in a good ol’ B&B.

Can I still get a ticket?

Yes, but there are very few left. Weekend tickets are priced at £49 while day tickets are available for £18.50 on Thursday, £22.50 on Friday and £25 for the Saturday. Click here to buy The Great Escape tickets.

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