A fantastic and productive time was had by all at the Great Escape Festival in Brighton last week, with BIMM more involved than ever in providing opportunities for students from numerous campuses to interact, network and perform across four days worth of events.
Now in its twelfth year, TGE serves as the British equivalent to SXSW, with the whole of the UK’s music industry flocking to Brighton’s bustling seaside streets to connect, learn and catch scores of live performances across 36+ venues.
Headline artists such as BIMM Manchester graduates, Pale Waves, Alma, Gengahr and Carnival Collective were joined by hundreds of new acts across the weekend, and the festival also featured a comprehensive programme of panels, interviews and networking sessions with key music industry figures.
As the lead education partner for the festival, BIMM teamed up with CMU Insights and Urban Development to host the official Education Conference, which addressed key issues to help secure the future of the British music industry and further solidify its ties to the national education system.
The event featured a roster of experienced panellists including Paul Latham (President of Live Nation UK), Simon Raymonde (MD at Bella Union) and Hannah Fouracre (Director of Music Education for Arts Council England) alongside appearances from BIMM staff Phil Nelson, Julia Ruzika, Dr Mark Irwin, Mel Thornton and Julian Deane among others.
At the heart of TGE ’18 was ‘The Hub’ in Jubilee Square – the epicentre of artist and delegate accreditation. Along with key venues Coalition, T.O.M, My Hotel and the Paginini Ballroom, the Hub offered hands on work experience opportunities for more Music Business and Event Management students than ever before.
“I was blown away by the hard-work our students put in at this years The Great Escape festival.” Said Careers and Industry Coordinator Nicky Kingsbury Williams. “We had over 50 students working in various positions. This valuable work experience will look great on their CV to potential employers and every one of them really made a mark upon the visiting music industry professionals.”
The Hub site also provided a unique custom built performance space in the heart of the city, which saw live appearances from up-and-coming BIMM acts Stranger Girl and Currls. Fellow students FUR secured the first evening gig of the weekend at the newly added Beach House Stage before setting off into the city for numerous shows throughout the weekend, including a secret headline slot as part of the Alternative Escape.
One of the main events of the weekend was the BIMM Showcase at the Hope & Ruin on Queens Road. The impressive line-up of current students and recent graduates included newly-signed headliners Orchards (BIMM Brighton), House Pop duo Le Boom (BIMM Dublin), Glam Rock guitarist Maddy Storm (BIMM Manchester), Electronic R’n’B artist Harvey Causon (BIMM Bristol) and Pop Rockers Luna Bay (BIMM London).
With collective accolades including Radio One airplay, Spotify playlistings, record deals and industry hype, the eclectic line-up attracted a capacity crowd, with queues of excited festival-goers outside the venue from the off. Needless to say, the showcase was a resounding success.
The artist opportunities didn’t stop there. Three official ‘Hotspot’ spaces in the centre of the festival saw a whopping 50+ street-level acoustic gigs from BIMM acts throughout the weekend, plus a full-day’s worth of performances at the North Laine Brewhouse in collaboration between BIMM, newcomers Hotwax Promotions and the Alternative Escape. Highlights from the incredible line-up included student and alumni acts including La Lune, Yetundey (BIMM Berlin), Strange Cages, MY-HI, Radidas and LibraLibra.
All of these performance opportunities wouldn’t have been possible if not for the incredibly dedicated work of BIMM Brighton’s Artist Development & Events Manager Suzi Ireland who once again curated an amazing weekend of performances and opportunities for BIMM students.
Here’s what she had to say on the weekend’s events.
“Our fourth year working in partnership with The Great Escape has been our most successful. We had more performances from our talented students then ever before, and an abundance of hardworking students in various roles across the festival site. It was a pleasure to see them all working together to make the festival happen, and all the feedback has been incredibly positive. Let’s make it even bigger next year!”
BIMM are incredibly proud of all the students and acts involved in this year’s Great Escape Festival and are certain that many of them sowed the seeds for promising young careers.