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IQ’s five live picks of The Great Escape 2017

Heading down to Brighton this morning? Let the IQ editorial team be your guide to the must-see panels, showcases and more for those in the live business

By IQ on 18 May 2017

The Great Escape 2016, Brighton, five picks from The Great Escape 2017

The Great Escape returns today

image © MAMA Festivals/The Great Escape

The Great Escape (TGE), MAMA Festivals’ long-running Brighton showcase festival and industry conference, returns for its 12th outing today, welcoming more than 3,500 industry delegates to the English seaside resort for three days of networking and new music.

The first panel discussion – Drugs: A Recent History of Getting High, looking at drug-taking trends at festivals, shows and in clubs – kicks off at 10.45 in the Dukes at Komedia cinema; in the meantime, here are IQ’s picks of the must-attend TGE shows, panels and parties…

Brighton rocks
Stripped of the panels, parties and spotlight shows by established artists, The Great Escape is still, at its core, a festival for new music: a place for bookers, A&Rs and everyone in between to discover the festival headliners of the future.

However, with more than 450 acts playing across 30+ Brighton venues, it’s nigh-on impossible to see everything, but by crunching the numbers – specifically Facebook likes, Shazam discoveries, Spotify streams and Songkick charts – we’ve discovered the three acts creating the most buzz are:

  • Yellow Days
    Seventeen-year-old singer-songwriter “bringing a slow-moving, jazz-flecked brand of indie rock which revolves around his gruff, scratchy vocals and languorous guitar playing”
  • Sigrid
    Bergen-based pop singer making waves on Norwegian radio. “Signing to Island ahead of her first Vill Vill Vest performance left a lot of labels wailing and gnashing their teeth,” reckons The Line of Best Fit
  • The Moonlandingz
    Fat While Family psych-pop spin-off “put together by Sheffield’s practical electronics wizards and analogue taxidermists, The Eccentronic Research Council”

Drugs and royalties and Brexit, oh my!
Provided they’re not already all Eurosonic/FastForward/ILMC-ed out, TGE delegates are likely going to want to sit in on at least a few panels. While discussions about the state of music journalism may be of limited interest to IQ readers, the other three conference strands – which focus on drugs, royalties/collective licensing and music export – all touch on some of the most pressing issues affecting the international live business.

Highlights include Drugs, Clubs & Music: How to Actually Save Lives (11.15am, Thursday 18 May), which sees Fabric’s Andy Blackett, The Warehouse Project’s Sacha Lord and campaigner Nathalie Wainwright tackle the thorny issue of keeping patrons safe while keeping local authorities on side; Getting the Most from Showcase Festivals (moderated by IQ’s own Gordon Masson) and A Beginners’ Guide to Brexit; and Direct Licensing in Live, exploring the rise of directly licensing performance royalties with Maria Forte and PACE’s Adam Elfin.

A hole lot of Switzerland
As previously reported, Switzerland is TGE’s country partner for 2017 – and that means Swiss Swiss Music Export will be taking to Brighton a whole host of Swiss delicacies, including showcases, networking and – of course – plenty of cheese.

Swiss acts performing across on Friday include Zeal & Ardor, Sophie Hunger, Buvette, Debrah Scarlett and Baba Shrimps (the Zurich three-piece last seen at ILMC’s Swiss Session in March), while plenty of Helvetic networking can be had at the delegate reception at 5pm on Thursday (Swiss wine, beer and raclette!) and the Swiss Festivals Drink Reception at the same time on Friday.

For a taste of what to expect, a Spotify playlist of all Swiss performers is below:

Extra-curricular activities
As is tradition, most of the big agencies, promoters, ticketers and the like at TGE will be hosting their own (private) dos, but there are also plenty of open-invitation parties well worth checking out.

The always-fun Dutch Impact party (12–4pm on Friday) is open to all delegates, as is Wide Days’ Scottish Networking Party (who could say no to “deep-fried confectionary, soft drinks made from girders and whisky in a smugglers’ cellar”?) and Berklee and Ascap’s networking brunch. The annual Drinks Party hosted by UK collection societies PPL and PRS also returns – it’s first-come, first-served, so get there early – while recording studio Metropolis is staging a one-hour ‘Metropolis Mixer’ at My Hotel at 1pm on Friday.

Intelligent networking
And as always, Team IQ will be out in force on Thursday and Friday. Want to set up a meeting or a casual pint? Drop us an email!

See you in Brighton…


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