The Great Escape: One

I’ve only ever been to Brighton once before and I’m sure, like many of you, I truly believed it was a classic seaside town: sun, sea, pebbles and loads of Mr Whippy. We arrived late on Wednesday for our first Great Escape expecting much of the above... Until we woke up on Thursday, when the heavens opened. There was definitely some slight apprehension that the whole weekend would be a write-off as we trudged though the Lanes, quietly sobbing into our wet jackets. Oh and let’s not forget the gale force winds!!!

For those that don’t know, The Great Escape is a festival dedicated to new music and little known artists; over 400 up and coming bands play in 35 locations across the city and within ‘the industry’ it has become one of the leading locations to hunt out the next big thing. Now I don’t really like talking ‘music’, as it is such a personal thing, don’t you think? People can be quite judgemental when you say that you like one thing and god forbid you know of their favourite ‘unsigned, niche, unheard of’ band; but I love music of all shapes and sizes and The Great Escape was a real chance to seek out some new gems.

After collecting our wristbands and drowning our sorrows over coffee at Café Coho we got wind of the VEVO UK treasure hunt for ‘golden wristbands’ on twitter. Of course one to take up the challenge we located our Brighton local pal who know immediately directed us to the right location. Never have I been so undeterred by wind and rain, after a brisk power walk we arrived at Resident Records, greeted with open arms and golden wristbands. In fact, we were so keen, we were the first to arrive! For that I should thank VEVO UK, their team were all lovely and if it wasn’t pouring with rain, I’m sure the barbeque would have been delicious too.

The festival is in affiliation with Brighton Fringe, The Brighton Festival and The Alternative Escape, meaning there are all sorts of art exhibitions and crazy performances going on at the same time. We slipped into one wonderful exhibition at Fabrica called On Balance by Jacob Dahlgren; interactive contemporary art has always interested/baffled me and I’m sure few people in the studio could actually explain what was happening, but the two pieces Heaven is a Place on Earth and The Wonderful World of Abstraction were hoots of fun! Hundreds of polished bathroom scales and thousands of meters of multi-coloured ribbon created a kaleidoscopic effect across the room. A more-than pleasant way to dry off a little and expand our minds!

We spent the rest of the day popping in and out of little venues and pop-up gigs, listening to some great live music - check out Kimberly Anne (@kimberlyanneiam) if you like strong female vocals with a south-London twist.

The real highlight of my first day was our evening at The Warren with VEVO; one of my favourite artists George Ezra (who I’ve blogged about before) was playing and the Special Guests were announced as an old old favourite of mine The Klaxons. Russian Red kicked off the evening, a beautiful Spanish girl who sang with a hint of Feist. I managed to have a fan-girl-y photo and a brief chat, which comprised of me apologising for being such a fan-girl, with George Ezra! I usually cope quite well with the ‘famous’ having lived in cities that are teeming with them, but something (and a couple of drinks!) came over me in a big way - much to the hilarity of my friends. Gorgon City played a brilliant live set as opposed to their usual DJ gigs and the Klaxons blew everybody out of their water with synths and guitars, by playing some of their better-known hits and of course utilising their famous ‘DJ!’ button.

We snuggled up in bed in the wee hours with sore dancing feet; happy the day hadn’t been the washout we’d expected. Was anybody else at The Great Escape and saw other artists on Thursday?

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