Until next year…

The Great Escape Festival. The greatest escape of them all. Three days of fun and live music frolics by the seaside has been cruelly snatched from the music industry due to COVID-19.

But, as the event is imperative in new music discovery, we’d still like to share with you who our writers; Shannon Cotton, Jessie Atkinson, Elli Chappelhow and Lewis Budd, were gearing up to discover, or re-visit, in Brighton, with hopes and dreams of seeing them all in a sticky-floored, grassroots pub venue sooner rather than later. 

Without further ado, here are 15 acts we were itching to see by the seaside this year…

Nasty Cherry

I just wanted to have a bit of fun really. That's what The Great Escape is all about, isn't it? Having fun, hanging out, meeting friends, seeing bands that'll make you want to dance until you physically can't anymore. Fab - now I'm crying. (JA)

Daughters of Reykjavík

I was pretty hyped to see the chaotic energy this posse of nine Icelandic rappers would bring to Brighton.  Granted, a lot of the time I don’t know what they’re saying but if the YouTube sets I watched in preparation count as anything to go by, there is no doubt they bring a sound of infectious vigour. If you need an introduction, listen to 'Fool’s Gold' here. (LB)

The Goa Express

Scatty, synthy, sun-kissed musical goodness oozes from The Goa Express’ debut release ‘The Day’. A perfect soundtrack to introduce festival season, and indeed themselves, we’re going to to be sure to keep our ears firmly fixed on this unbridled Burnley outfit in TGE’s absence. (SC)

Deep Tan

Cool to the point of parody, Deep Tan are a must-see. It's a tragedy that there won't be  a chance to see them by the beach this year, but when you next get a chance to see the brooding, glistening 'Shimmer' live, don't miss it. (JA)


Slicker than slick, hailing from Manchester via Birmingham, the self-proclaimed ‘soulstress’ Layfullstop delivers her fierce verses with effortless flow. Weaving together the very fabric of hip hop, soul and jazz, floating high above the weighty constraints of genre, Layfullstop’s live show is electric, and guaranteed all eyes land front and centre to witness her lively stage presence in the flesh. (EC)


Disq give off the aura of the lads you’d like to know. It’s no secret that they probably have a banging taste in music. With a playing style that mixes elements of 90s American grunge and traditional UK Britpop, Disq were set on making the most of a trans-atlantic trip to play The Great Escape. (LB)

Los Bitchos

Missing parties? Yeah, us too. But fear not - Los Bitchos possess the ultimate power to turn your dreary living room into a tropical beach scene, making it seem like a great idea to be shotting tequila alone in your pants. Arrrrriba! With their infectious sound that brings to mind the sounds of what Khruangbin might play after they’ve had a few strong frozen margaritas, their danceable tracks fuse long noodling instrumentation and flashes of vibrant guitar with feel good cumbia beats. Impossible to dislike. (EC)


As frontman for 2017 cult band Dead Pretties, Jacob Slater was pretty darn good. Then he became plain old Jacob Slater - brilliant, still. Now in his final form, Wunderhorse is One to Watch if we ever heard one. Powerful, smart, all-encompassing guitar music. (JA)

Lucia and The Best Boys

Indie-pop, but make it fuckin’ badass. Born out of the creative hotbed that is Glasgow, Lucia and her Best Boys have been churning out the tunes, empowering women and kicking off moshpits in equal measure. With an evident penchant for the eighties, a whole lot of anthemic pop hooks and enough full-throttle chunk to fill an arena, this band are roaring towards huge things. (EC)

Weird Milk

We’re no strangers to the warm tones of Weird Milk’s baroque pop, the band graced our Hello Tomorrow column back in February, where we premiered latest single ‘Is That Love?’, fusing smooth sounds from the sixties and seventies whilst retaining a modern bite. Word on the street is that the London-based outfit have been working on new tracks that will no doubt have been given an outing at this year’s TGE. (SC)

The Cool Greenhouse

If i were to describe The Cool Greenhouse, I’d say they’re the kind of band who make music for those obsessed with nonsense pub trivia, and for people who probably go to art school, and I can't help but love them for that. They mix chaotic-good ramblings with droning and repetitive guitar lines, which borders on sounding hypnotic. (LB)


Dealing in the market of on point pop, Gracey fuses tactful songwriting with refreshing electronic beats, making her a surefire hit for this summer’s tastemaking festivals. We were especially looking forward to seeing how her string of heartfelt singles translated live. (SC)


Transgressive signee Boniface appeared on last year’s TGE line-up, and played the birthday party for his aforementioned label, however this year the singer was equipped and ready with their debut, self-titled LP. A melting pot of euphoric riffs and rushing compositions, this was always bound to be great. (SC)


After releasing their brilliant album Floatr at the beginning of this month, it seems Happyness have socially distanced themselves from their previous offerings to share with us the real essence of the band. They’re at their most experimental, sonically soaring from grunge to pop, via slacker-rock, taking a trip through an evocative foggy haze of nostalgia, soundtracked by their classic wonky guitar work. If you’re looking for a total lo-fi escape, look no further. (EC)


Having been an icon of experimentation for many years now, Ghostpoet's latest record I Grow Tired But Dare Not Fall Asleep sees his talent reach a fever pitch. Surely it'll be another Mercury nomination for Obaro Ejimiwe - and boy, how we wanted to see him play the new LP's titular track live. (JA)

The Great Escape Festival will now take place 12-15 May 2021.

Photo: Richard Gray