The great thing about being in Brighton this past weekend – aside from visiting Charlize in a castle – is that The Great Escape music festival was taking place too. It’s billed as Europe’s best event for new music, and there were quite a few names on the bill I wanted to see. After hopping around the town, finding the venues and fitting in the set-times, I only managed to see a handful of acts, but they were memorable enough to make me want to come back to this event to catch more cutting edge artists.
Here are some of my highlights:
I had to come to Brighton to see this Brooklyn-based group, founded by a South African who grew up holidaying in the seaside-town of St Lucia. The indie-pop music is made up of dreamy landscapes grounded in the reality of lyrics about love and loyalty.
Lianne La Havas
“Do people know Lianne in Seuff Africa?” asked the guy standing next to me for this soul-singer’s set asked. “People don’t even know her here in England properly yet. She’s going to blow up soon,” he enthusiastically added. How true these words are. This singer has a piercing voice that cuts to the core of emotion. But she has a great sense of humour to softens the blow of her close-to-the-bone lyrics.
Africa Sound System Express
Spoek Mathambo was part of a fiery African contingent at TGE. Singer-songwriter Farryl Purkiss also performed and Aking were meant to play too, but they couldn’t make it in the end. It’s good to know artists from the continent are making their voices heard at this festival, and if the performances offered up by them this weekend are anything to go by, they appealed to so many beyond the diaspora border.
The eclectic prettiness of Brighton by the sea
The setting of this festival really enhances the experience of The Great Escape. In between all the brides, grooms, hens and stags running around the town, there are musicians, artists, fashionistas, and even Brighton hipsters. Throw in the Brighton Pier, that pebbly beach, and cosy little Lanes and you’ve got more to take home with you than just a couple of new names to add to the iPod playlist.