The Great Escape Festival: Our Top Picks

For one weekend every year, the glorious seaside town of Brighton is flooded with hot new artists and a tonne of excited pundits all looking forward to hearing great music and eating fish and chips on the seafront. We were thrilled to join them this year and thought it was the perfect opportunity to share what we managed to catch a glimpse of!

Conor Albert Pia

Musical polymath Conor Albert completely blew us away on Thursday evening, seamlessly floating between keys and guitar while showcasing a real sensitivity to the strengths of his bandmates and flawless guest singers, Lily Agnes and Alice Auer. Raring to go in a North Face puffer jacket, Conor’s chill summer bangers were a real hit with the crowd, while the more tender moments of the set didn’t quite lend themselves to the griminess of the nightclub infrastructure. Nevertheless, it is clear that Conor is an artist driven by the fruits of collaborative work, which we look forward to immersing ourselves in at larger festival stages later this summer. 

Emie NathanHermione

We headed down to the (only mildly) claustrophobic Queens Hotel basement to catch a performance by Emie Nathan, a singer songwriter whose gorgeous, crystal clear voice really stood out over the weekend. Wonderfully assured Emie  managed to perfectly hit the sweet spot between ethereal, dulcet tones and a sense of something more impactful. Not only was her vocal performance incredibly strong but her connection with the crowd felt natural and unforced, full of a real gratitude for the support she was receiving. With some real belting pop ballads now in her roster, be sure to give her stuff a listen if you are looking for something new! 

Thomas HeadonHermione

The epitome of a ‘cheeky chap’, Thomas Headon’s set was a total breath of fresh air. Brimming with tongue in cheek humour and character, the young singer-songwriter demonstrated a real knack for crowd control, totally understanding the brief and even getting us all to sing along to a Taylor Swift cover. For fans of alt-poppy Harry Styles, The 1975 “Love Me” era he’s the perfect addition to your playlist. An energetic dose of puppy energy without doubt.


We discovered Budjerah on Saturday afternoon by happy accident while taking a moment to bask in the sun between sets. At first shy and understated on stage, the young singer suddenly let rip into a number of heartfelt ballads that knocked the whole crowd for six. Hailing from Fingal Head, Australia and of Bundjalung descent, Budjerah’s voice is effortless and full bodied, with soulful echoes of Sam Cooke, pop heavyweights such as Ed Sheeran and Shawn Mendes with an almost operatic affect. Budjerah’s vocals oscillated between the pure angelic in songs such as “Higher”, to the downright declamatory in “My Name”. Based on this performance, his name should be on the edge of everyone’s lips.


Orange-obsessed vocalist OURAA served instant seratonin and good vibes on Saturday afternoon. A central player in Kojey Radical’s bespoke curation for TGE, OURAA’s lyrics had a camp, pithy quality akin to that of Lizzo, with the catchy hooks to match. A particular crowd favourite included an ode to “the baddest beans on toast in town” which we deem to be worthy of a Heinz sponsorship deal if nothing else. Her effervescent stage presentation made us fall in love with her even more, as candid confessions of love, relationships and orange-related tattoos were underscored by the low hum of her handheld electric fan which reverberated through the PA system in the sweaty basement of the venue (£10 from Amazon if you’re interested!). A sure one to watch. 

Opus KinkHermione

An eclectic mix of blistering punk, jazz and sheer tenacity Opus Kink were a glorious surprise for me this weekend. Already a fan of their recorded sound, I was delighted to get the chance to hear them live and they certainly did not disappoint. Playing in the glimmering tin can that was The MVT Stage, Opus Kink serenaded the crowds on the beach with an onslaught of funk and attitude, bringing thoroughly unique atmosphere to the stage. The six-piece demonstrated not only a hell of a lot of attitude but proved their tremendous aptitude for putting on a show.  

Words by Hermione Kellow and Pia Rose Scattergood

Photo © Apocalypse Music

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