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The Great Escape announces keynote speakers for 2024

The Great Escape has confirmed Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker as one of the keynote speakers of the newly revamped conference.

The UK music industry event returns to Brighton from Wednesday 15 May to Saturday 18 May, with the Council of Music Makers (CMM), The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), BBC Introducing and Youth Music each set to curate a day of the programme.

On the Saturday of the conference, Cocker will present Biophobia, a special climate-themed talk about getting to grips with nature. The session will be presented by EarthPercent, the charity founded by Brian Eno to help the music industry support the most impactful organisations addressing the climate emergency.

Giving the conference’s opening keynote conversation on Wednesday 15 May, Darcus Beese OBE will reflect on his career as the UK’s first black record company CEO and one of the greatest A&Rs of his generation, having signed and nurtured artists like Amy Winehouse, U2 and Florence and the Machine. This conversation will come soon after the publication of his upcoming memoir ‘Rebel With A Cause’.

“Without a doubt, this is set to be an unmissable event for the UK industry”

On Thursday, Tom Gray (chair of the Ivors Academy and Labour Party PPC for Brighton Pavilion) and YolanDa Brown (OBE DL, musician, broadcaster and chair of the BPI) will deliver another keynote speech, discussing what the industry needs to do to protect music copyright and culture on a legislative level.

They join two previously announced keynote speakers: Lauren Mayberry (lead singer of CHVRCHES) and Sacha Lord (chair of the NTIA, co-creator of Parklife Festival and the Warehouse Project and Night Time Economy Adviser for Greater Manchester).

Also announced today, the Association of Independent Music joins as the conference’s newest industry collaborator, hosting three sessions centred on the independent music sector on the beach on Wednesday 15th May.

Rory Bett, CEO, MAMA Festivals, says: “From cultural icons to industry legends, our revamped conference has truly been supercharged with the calibre of these keynote speakers. Without a doubt, this is set to be an unmissable event for the UK industry.”


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The Great Escape details ‘revamped’ conference

UK showcase festival and conference The Great Escape (TGE) is undergoing a revamp for next year’s instalment, slated for 15–18 May in Brighton.

The event, which is operated by Live Nation’s MAMA, has invited new expert collaborators from across the music industry to help shape and elevate its programming.

The Council of Music Makers, Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), BBC Introducing LIVE and Youth Music will each present a day of the conference using their expertise and networks to “take TGE to the next level”.

The BPI, meanwhile, will host a welcome party on the beach on Wednesday 15 May to kick off proceedings.

“We’re very excited to have these amazing organisations on board as collaborators for our conference,” says Rory Bett, CEO of MAMA Festivals. “They’re all tapped into key areas of the music ecosystem for anyone forging a career in the modern industry, from bedroom artists to experienced professionals and entrepreneurs. Together, we’ll be curating a cutting-edge line-up. Watch this space.”

It has also been announced that Spain is TGE’s Lead Country Partner for 2024, following Italy last year. Led by The Spanish Wave and TGE, they will present a full programme with two showcases, panels on the Spanish music industry and industry receptions.

“These organisations are tapped into key areas of the music ecosystem for anyone forging a career in the modern industry”

Sila Lua, a Galician-born artist creating dance music with an experimental flair, is the first Spanish performer to be announced.

TGE’s first Spanish partners include The Spanish Wave, AIE, Fundaćion SGAE, Instituto Cervantes, Live Nation Spain, Ticketmaster Spain and Mondo Sonoro.

“Everyone is looking at Spain and Latam at the moment,” says César Andión, head of The Spanish Wave. “We are the gateway and bridge to Europe and Latinoamerica. Spain has a thrilling industry in talent and structure, a large and varied roster of festivals, venues, promoters and labels, so we are incredibly happy to coordinate Spain as Lead Country at the most exciting, well-curated showcase festival and conference in the United Kingdom. After years of bringing The Spanish Wave showcase to Brighton, now it’s time to highlight our vibrant industry with receptions, panels and the freshest and hottest music. ¡Nos vemos en Brighton!”

The showcase side of TGE is also taking shape, with the announcement of Faye Webster for the first Spotlight show.

While, earlier this week, TGE held its First Fifty launch, which celebrated the announcement of the first acts playing at next year’s festival.

Sid Sriram, Victoria Canal, Olivia Lunny and Sirens Of Lesbos were among the acts that delivered First Fifty live showcases in and around East London on 15 November.

For more information and tickets, visit https://greatescapefestival.com/.


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