In a week’s time, I will have traveled thousands of miles to experience my first music festival of 2013. Just couple of months ago, The Great Escape (TGE) was nonexistent in my knowledge. I had already planned on attending Primavera Sound in Barcelona, Spain as well as Optimus Primavera Sound in Porto, Portugal. Since Europe is a long way from Portland, Oregon, I searched for additional opportunities to further satiate my voracious appetite for music and the challenges of taking on ridiculous amount of correspondent duties. An easy Ryanair commute to Barcelona from London and happening three days prior to Primavera Sound, TGE seems to be the perfect component to my festival trilogy in three countries within three weeks.
Promoted as the UK’s answer to SXSW, The Great Escape, now in it’s eighth year, will showcase acts from world over in 30+ venues in Brighton, England. From May 16-18, the seaside town anticipates over 16,000 fans for the festival. Though TGE is marketed as a “discovery” festival, 30-year veteran like Billy Bragg will be among the 350+ acts making an appearance this year.
In addition to live music that kicks off at noon and lasts as late as 3:00 A.M., TGE is packing the schedule to the brim with “conventions” for industry professionals, commencing as early as 9:30 with keynote speakers, discussion panels, and meet up events galore! As if that doesn’t sound like a sleepless days/nights already, TGE also has a little sibling called The Alternative Escape – where unofficial shows and events take place across an additional 15+ venues!
TGE’s latest press release highlights the “main events” as Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Klaxons, King Krule, CHVRCHES, David ‘Ram Jam’ Rodigan MBE, Parquet Courts, The Strypes, Iggy Azalea, The Eighties Matchbox B-line Disaster, Tribes, Deap Vally, Melody’s Echo Chamber, Mikill Pane, Girls Names, and Jagwar Ma. As someone who spends hours each day, trying to keep up with the music world, I have little knowledge on almost half of these performers. Below are some of the shows I will try to catch at TGE, based on my personal curiosity. But as I’ve learned at Iceland Airwaves, there will probably be plenty of unknown pleasant surprises.
Eagulls – The Leeds quintet leads in the new age of melodic punk in the UK.
Eaux – The London electronic trio entices with peculiar experimental flavor.
Girls Names – One of the main reasons why I am attending TGE. The Belfast foursome’s second LP, The New Life, is an arty and sophisticated post-punk of a record that I obsessed over for months.
Halls – 21 and so brooding – Sam Howard (aka Halls) the musical alchemist serves up a potion infused of classical tradition with electronic modernism.
Jacco Gardner – The young Dutch multi-instrumentalist and producer debuted his full-length in February of this year with Cabinet Of Curiosities – a peculiar blend of baroque pop and neo-psychedelia.
Klaxons – With grotesque music videos like “Twin Flames”, how can one not be intrigued with the progressive Londoners.
Mac DeMarco – Expect plenty of tongue exposure on stage from the Canadian singer/songwriter who can write well-crafted indie pop tunes while never short on outrageous “charm”.
Melody’s Echo Chamber – When I think of French pop, Melody Prochet fulfills the gauzy allure of sweet seductive vocals with a cool flair – très chic.
Merchandise – From the seemingly miasmatic city of Tampa, Florida, three lads with the punk attitude has been brooding in the underground -now set free for the world to hear.
Moddi – How often a music maker hail from an island in Northern Norway? The very pale Pål Moddi Knutsen crafts stark songs of timeless sincere beauty.
Parquet Courts – With so many plaudits from music publications, kind of difficult to ignore the Brooklyn psy-punk quartet, not that I want to!
Thumpers – The London duo sound pretty much like their name – danceable non-frivolous alt rock.
Wolf Alice – A strong female-fronted rock band is still not all that common in 2013, but Ellie Rowsell leads her London boys to a great hope – managing to juggle garage punk rock to electro dream pop effortlessly.
Hear more of the artists performing at The Great Escape 2013 by visting the website.