The Great Escape in Brighton is renowned in the UK, and around the world, for being one of the best places to discover emerging music talent. For many acts, a gig at The Great Escape 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. The festival is one of the first in the UK's festival calendar and provides an early opportunity to see a lot of live music all in one place.
Like so much live music since the Covid-19 pandemic struck, The Great Escape finds itself celebrating its 15th birthday online this year. For TGE veterans, at least going online means there will be no need to compete against the British springtime weather with a combination of suncream and gale-proof umbrella. However, this online incarnation of the festival retains its key ingredients: a huge number of acts to see – some already well known, some completely unknown; a packed conference programme for the 3,500 or so industry professionals that visit each year; and guests from all around the world dropping in to catch the music for themselves.
This year The Great Escape will take place 12 – 15 May 2021.
This year we've invited international delegates from across the globe to visit the festival. They are drawn from the music industries of countries including Argentina, India, Nigeria, Ukraine, The Philippines and beyond. We've worked with The Great Escape festival in this way for many years and historically, these international connections have led to a number of projects further down the line, such as Kero Kero Bonito's trip to Indonesia – spotted by our overseas guests in 2016.
Our delegates will be able to access The Great Escape events (conference and artist performances) and join networking sessions online with their peers in the UK.
Insight into international markets with the British Council
We will be hosting two roundtable discussions as part of The Great Escape which will take place on the Thursday afternoon and Friday morning of the festival.
Our focus for these discussions is international markets – amid the Covid pandemic, international travel and touring has largely ground to a standstill but the music industry is a global marketplace, with networks and exchange between artists and audiences a vital part of the music eco-system.
Thursday 13 May 15.00 – 16.00 BST
Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa have seen fast growth in their music sectors in recent years, both producing global superstars and attracting increased investment from streaming platforms and labels and distribution services. We ask what is the current picture looking like for these markets, over a year into the Covid-19 pandemic? And with huge youth populations that are more digitally connected than ever before, where are the future opportunities for collaboration and exchange?
- Katie Weatherall – Music Programme Manager, British Council
- Michael Duffy – Music Programme Manager, British Council
- Shiba Mazaza (South Africa) – Music Manager Mount Makeda (South Africa)
- Godwin Tom (Nigeria) – Chief Executive, iManage Africa
- Sphe Mbhele (South Africa) – Founder, The Music Imbizo
- José Lasses (Venezuela) – Executive Director, Cusica
- Claudia Assef (Brazil) - Director of Women's Music Event and WME Award and coordinator at Olido Cultural Centre
Friday 14 May 10.00 – 11.00 BST
This session explores international perspectives on how successfully the music sector has pivoted to digital working during the pandemic. We ask how do we keep international relationships, collaboration and exchange alive in the current moment, and what are the benefits and challenges of digital working? Given both the cost and environmental concerns of the effects of international travel, will we see continued digital working across borders, or is ‘being there’ simply too vital a part of the connection to lose?
- Joel Mills – Senior Music Programme Manager, British Council
- Tom Sweet – Music Programme Manager, British Council
- Twinky Lagdameo (Philippines) – Co-founder, Elements Music Camp
- Rizky Sasono (Indonesia) – National Coalition of Arts / Indonesia Music Conference – KAMI
- Alona Dmukhovska (Ukraine) – Co-Founder, Music Export Ukraine
- Fahranaz Bozkurt (Turkey) – Programmer, Bozcaada Jazz Festival
- Tej Brar (India) – Founding and Managing Director, Third Culture Entertainment
The Great Escape 2021 Playlist
We asked TGE booker Adam Ryan to pick his top UK tracks, inspired by his years with the festival, for this month's Selector at 20 playlist as we celebrate 20 years of our very own Selector Radio show. Check out Adam's playlist.
And to get you in the mood for this year's Great Escape, whether you are able to attend this year or not, take a listen to the festival's official playlist and get a taste of some of the acts performing this year.
Previous years with the British Council at The Great Escape
Great Escape 2019: International Delegation
Great Escape 2019: Playlist
Great Escape 2018: International Delegation
ARGENTINA: PAULA RIVERA, DIANA GLUSBERG
AUSTRALIA: MAGGIE COLLINS
BRAZIL: FABIANA BATISTELA, ANA GARCIA, PEDRO SEILER, MARCELO DAMASO
EGYPT: BASEM ABUARAB
GREECE: STEFANOS PAPAGKIKAS
INDIA: VARUN PATRA
KENYA: RIZWAN IBRAHIM
MOZAMBIQUE: JESS WHITE
PORTUGAL: LUÍS MONTEZ SÍLVIA BRAGA
SPAIN: PAU CORBALÁN
THAILAND: PIYAPONG MUENPRASERTDEE
TURKEY: ELIF CEMAL
UGANDA: KEMIYONDO COUTINHO
UKRAINE: VALERIIA PERKOVA
VIETNAM: NGUYEN QUOC TRUNG
Great Escape 2018: Playlist
Great Escape 2017: International Delegation
EGYPT: Amina Abodoma
GREECE: Dionysios Tsonopoulos
COLOMBIA: Gustavo Garci
AUSTRALIA: Travis Banko
VENEZEULA: Maximiliano Manzano Wenzel
BANGLADESH: Nafis Ahmed
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