The Great Escape 2018

The Great Escape in Brighton ushers in the UK summer music festival season – a welcome relief after another long winter battling snow, rain, snow and more rain. In May 2018, our attention turns to the south coast of England and Brighton, the home of The Great Escape for over 10 years. Almost all corners of the city are set to festival mode with music pouring out of venues wherever you turn. Unlike Glastonbury and other outdoor music festivals which set up home in fields and countryside, The Great Escape is based in the city at existing venues – pop your head into any pub, club or performance space from 17 May to 19 May and the chances are you'll hear live music. With over 400 acts performing, it's impossible to see everything that the festival has to offer but, with enough energy and the essential festival app in your back pocket, it is possible to run between most of the venues and fit in a lot of gigs each day.

The Great Escape offers a fantastic opportunity to see a huge range of British performers, however there is also a "country focus" each year – in 2018 this is The Netherlands so expect a strong Dutch contingent in the festival lineup. For many acts, travelling to Brighton from far and wide, their Great Escape performance can be a springboard to wider fame and critical acclaim. Audiences are watching acts and hoping to make some new discoveries and get a look at the next big thing.

Alongside the music, there is also the TGE Convention – a series of talks and networking events for the 3,500 music industry visitors looking to connect with each other and keep on top of the latest trends and topics affecting the industry as a whole. It's perhaps this combination of talks, gigs and city backdrop that means The Great Escape is sometimes referred to as the UK's answer to South by Southwest in Texas, USA.

The British Council's relationship with The Great Escape goes back several years. We regularly invite representatives of the music industry in a range of countries to come and see the festival for themselves, check out emerging British talent and connect with peers. Historically, this has led to a number of projects further down the line, such as Kero Kero Bonito's trip to Indonesia who were spotted by our overseas guests in 2016. Also in 2016, as part of The Great Escape conference series, we presented the results of research that we had commissioned, looking into the opportunities available overseas for UK musicians and UK music industry. You can read the full Going International report here, which is still relevant for anyone looking to get an idea of the various funding bodies and opportunities out there for musicians, bands and industry around the UK.


Our Great Escape 2018 Playlist

With more music than you can shake a stick at, we've handpicked a few of the artists from The Great Escape lineup that we think you should keep an eye out for this year.


Previous years with the British Council at The Great Escape

Great Escape 2017: International Delegation

EGYPT: Amina Abodoma

GREECE: Dionysios Tsonopoulos

COLOMBIA: Gustavo Garci

AUSTRALIA: Travis Banko

VENEZEULA: Maximiliano Manzano Wenzel


ALGERIA: Rachid Briki

INDONESIA: Madrim Djody, Rizka Maulita, Teguh Wicaksono, Sarah Deshita Affandi, Felix Dass

VIETNAM: Nguyen Quoc Trung

MOROCCO: Hind El Ouradi


Great Escape 2017: Playlist


Great Escape 2016: International Delegation

CHINA: Zhang Ran, Jef Vreys, Vincent Chen, Ni Bing, Li Ke, Archie Hamilton

INDONESIA: Robin Malau, Ratih Suryahutamy (Neonomora), Anton Wirjono, Michael Budiman

RUSSIA: Andrey Samorukov, Dmitry Zaretsky, Igor Tonkih

UKRAINE: Sergii Illin, Eugene Kibets, Vlad Malynovsky

VIETNAM: Mai Thang, Quoc-Trung Nguyen


Great Escape 2016: Panel Discussion

Cathy Graham (Director, Music, British Council) introduced the session "Going International" with Julia Payne from the Hub outlining research findings showing the state of play for UK music overseas. They were joined by a panel including Phil Patterson (UK Trade & Investment), Chris Tams (BPI), Paul Bonham (Arts Council England), Vanessa Reed (PRS For Music Foundation), Joel Mills (British Council) and Crispin Parry (British Underground).


Great Escape 2016: Playlist


Great Escape 2015: International Delegation

RUSSIA: Natasha Padabed, Agent, Festival Programer & Music Curator, Sergey Kurokhin International Festival (SKIF)

MALAYSIA: Jia Ping Lee, Program Director

MALAYSIA: Grey Yeoh, Head of Arts & Creative Industries, British Council Malaysia

SOUTH AFRICA: Sibongile Musundwa, Project Manager, Connect ZA


Great Escape 2015: Panel Discussion

We explored the topic of "Independent Music in the Middle East and North Africa" discussing the opportunities, challenges, audiences and how to bring talent through in the region. Journalist Arwa Haider was in conversation with some of the most pioneering, experienced and well-regarded independent music promoters in this region: 

EGYPT: Mahmoud Refat, Founder, 100 copies

MOROCCO: Hicham Bahou, Director, L'boulevard Festival

LEBANON: Amani Semaan, Festival Director, Beirut & Beyond


Great Escape 2015: Playlist



Great Escape 2014: International Delegation

BRAZIL: Bruno Natal, Queremos (YCE)

CHINA: Li Du, Deputy Manager, SACOO Culture Communications

CHINA: Karen Liu, City Newspaper Express

COLOMBIA: Manolo Arango, Owner, Breakfast Club (YCE)

INDONESIA: Indra Ameng, Programme Director, Ruang Rupa

INDONESIA: Robin Malau, Founder, Musikator (YCE)

MALAYSIA: Rahul Kukreja, Director, Livescape Asia

MALAYSIA: Adrian Yap, Director/Managing Director, Urbanscapes Festival/Freeform Sdn Bhd

RUSSIA: Gleb Lisichkin, Owner, Kometa Music Agency (YCE)

SOUTH AFRICA: Dominique Soma, Owner, The Unlearn Agency (YCE)

SPAIN: Alberto Ramírez-Soto Hijona, Owner, MUSIC´us (YCE)


Great Escape 2014: Playlist