The Great Escape – Future Bubblers

Discover your favourite new band at this year’s The Great Escape

With January out of the way, and the possibility of some much needed green shoots within our barren and chilly cityscape, thoughts turn decidedly to May when Brighton becomes one big festival. Along with the Brighton Festival and Brighton Fringe (both of whom will be announcing their programmes this month), new music lovers will be itching for the 13th Great Escape, the annual three-day festival of new music, which runs alongside a music industry convention. It’s where all players of the music industry converge with music fans, primarily to watch and discover new talent from around the globe, do some deals, make new friends, and discover their new favourite band. Moreover, it provides a big financial boost to the city each and every year.

Considered the best showcase of its kind in Europe, The Great Escape is host to over 500 acts from 20-plus countries, performing in 30-odd venues. It’s a highly concentrated programme of some of the best emerging talent spanning almost all genres known to man (even the heavier side of things are getting a look in with Download Festival partnering up with The Great Escape this year).

So, with the second tranche acts just announced, the anticipation levels rise yet another notch or two. From here to the beginning of May there will be a steady drip feed of new announcements, of new and exciting bands and artists. Yes, even for seasoned music industry veterans it will look like a list of largely unknown bands. And, for the most part, it is! However, delve deeper and you’ll soon find that they are invariably talked about as ones to watch, the ones with potential: the ones who have basically got that special something.

Personally, I’m aware of the likes of Phoebe Bridgers (who released her stunning debut to very high praise, Stranger in the Alps), or the raucous garage indie-rockers King Nun, and the barely out of her teens but super-talented soul and r’n’b singer/songwriter Mahalia. Plus, there’s Australia’s indie-rockers Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, the chilled 80s indie grooves of Her’s, and Aquaserge, a supergroup of sorts, made up of members of Stereolab, Tame Impala and Acid Mothers Temple.

Delve even deeper and there will be names that will be barely known. Such as South Korea’s surf rockers Say Sue Me, psych-funk-rockers Leah Dou from China, and snotty teenage punks from Ireland, Touts. Or, how about Gus Dapperton, Hockey Dad, Sports Team, Freya Ridings, Tshegue, and Brighton’s Underwater Boys. Relative unknowns all of them, but ready to take on the world.

New partnerships have also just been announced. Along with the aforementioned Download Festival, FADER, Notion and Gilles Peterson’s Future Bubblers (the new talent discovery and development arm of Peterson’s Brownswood Music) will be hosting stages this year. While Steel Bangelz, Fredo and Ebenezer will be joining Mist and MoStack at Brighton Dome on Saturday 19th May for The Great Escape Spotlight Show.

This is, of course, just the beginning. There are still 300 more artists to be announced over the coming weeks, more info on the TGE:Convention strands, networking events and parties, plus a very special new venue.

In the meantime, jump aboard and buy a ticket. Three-day passes are available now. The Great Escape has sold out in recent years as is likely to do so again this year. Don’t miss out!

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