Isle of Wight Festival 2018

Whoever’s decision it was – whether it was new owners Live Nation, promoter John Giddings, or indeed Solo Music Agency – to move the Isle of Wight Festival to Glastonbury weekend, it turned out to be a masterstroke. Not only was the sun blazing for four days straight with not even a sign of any clouds, let alone rain, but it was one of the busiest Isle of Wight weekends since its reformation back in 2002, as seemingly everyone filled the fallow year void across the Solent.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the very first year back in 1968 (which saw the likes of Jefferson Airplane, T. Rex and Fairport Convention flock to the island), this year too had a suitable amount of legends in the form of Nile Rodgers, Van Morrison and Depeche Mode, as well as enough new music to keep it feeling as fresh and vital as ever. One thing the Isle of Wight Festival has always done well is straddle generations, as well as genres, and this year was no different. Like so few festivals, the age range must have stretched from five to 80, and everyone was there for a good time.

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The Great Escape Festival – 2018

To paraphrase that Marmite film classic, the streets were alive with the sound of music! Over three long days and nights, Brighton did truly come alive as The Great Escape juggernaut rolled into town for its 13th edition. The festival for new music saw over 500 acts playing in 40-odd venues, representing countries from all around the globe. If you add in the The Alternative Great Escape, and the plethora of events and pop-up performances arranged off the back of TGE and AGE, you’re looking at closer to 1,000 acts in 80-odd venues. Yes, it was mad, but glorious. Helped along by some beautiful mid-May sunshine, somehow within all the chaos, Brightonsfinest were out in force, documenting, commenting, and enjoying what we like to do best. Watch live music.

So, brace yourself. If you were there, hopefully memories will be stirred. If you weren’t, dive into our thoughts about the state of new music, and check out our many recommendations.

Read reviews from Ben Walker, Dan Whitehouse, Liam McMillen, Iain Lauder, Jeff Hemmings, Jamie MacMillan, Ben Noble

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­Who to see at The Great Escape 2018

Back for its 13th year, The Great Escape is the premier showcase in Europe for new music. Over three days and nights, Brighton is host to 450-plus acts playing over 30 venues, from around 20 countries. You won’t have heard of many of these acts, but quality and potential is the name of the game here. Along with a few fairly established names, the bulk of the bill is made up of acts who have shown their talent, and are on the cusp of bigger and better things. It is a fabulous opportunity to check out new music, covering almost all genres known to man. Alongside The Great Escape, there’s The Alternative Escape, which also features a wealth of stunning new talent, and The Great Escape Convention, where many of the music industry’s movers and shakers congregate to check out the talent, and do a spot of networking and deal making. For three days in May, Brighton truly is the place to be! To help you get a grasp of what is out there, we asked various Brightonsfinest contributors, along with some industry players, to give us the lowdown on who they are looking out for.

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