Our top 10 tips for The Great Escape 2018

By Mark Johnson

The Great Escape is easily one of the highlights of the festival calendar thanks to its supreme organisation and massive range of genres. The festival itself boasts over 500 acts from all over the world, and with another 200 bands joining the mix through The Alternative Escape, there’s no shortage of music to get stuck into.

Brighton is the perfect location for a festival that’s so rich with diversity and every year the organisers do an incredible job of showcasing an endless carousel of gigs across over 40 venues in the city. With so many bands to choose from, and various locations to seek out, it can be hard to know where to start. Luckily we’ve got you covered with 10 bands that should be on your itinerary at this year’s festival.

Noah Kahan

Thursday @ 21:15, Latest Music Bar

One of the highlights of day one is sure to be singer/songwriter Noah Kahan. If you can get the hook from ‘Hurt Somebody’ out of your head then you’re doing well and once we’ve seen him play live on Thursday evening, we’ll no doubt be whistling this tune along the beachfront come Friday morning.

Parting Gift

Saturday @ 19:00, Volks

Manchester’s Parting Gift recently supported COVE on their headline tour of the UK and blew us away with their intense emotion and brilliantly crafted, ambient post-hardcore. As a young, upcoming band there’s no better time to catch them on the rise before they make a name for themselves.

Dream State

Friday @ 15:15, Latest Music Bar / Friday @ 23:45, The Hope and Ruin / Saturday @ 20:00, Volks

Welsh alternative quintet Dream State have built a loyal fanbase in a remarkably short space of time and with three opportunities to catch them over the festival weekend, it would be a real shame to pass them by. Power, angst and an ever-growing arsenal of anthemic songs: everything you need for a fist-in-air live experience.

Dermot Kennedy

Thursday @ 21:00, Wagner Hall / Friday @ 16:00, Beach Club / Friday @ 22:00, Sallis Benney Theatre

Another artist putting on three performances over the festival is Irish singer/songwriter Dermot Kennedy. He recently completed a sold-out tour of the UK, so make sure you get to one of these shows early to avoid disappointment. You’ll be rewarded with a marriage of soulful acoustic with ambient electronic beats.


Thursday @ 22:00, Queen’s Hotel / Friday @ 14:30, Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar

An abbreviation of Albuquerque, ABQ are a intriguing alt-rock act from Belfast, blending the indie vibes of Snow Patrol with the heightened urgency of Biffy Clyro. They’re currently working on a debut record and based on early signs, it’s one to look out for.

Maisie Peters

Friday @ 21:30, Unitarian Church

The Great Escape is a fantastic place to discover young, promising pop acts and Maisie Peters could be the pick of the bunch this year. Though only 17, the transparent emotion of ‘Birthday’ shows a maturity beyond her years and with a beautiful voice to match her songwriting talent, she’s one not to be missed this year.

Sleep Token

Saturday @ 15:00, Volks

One of the best marketed acts of the festival is Sleep Token, a masked, anonymous group of musicians that worship an ancient deity known as ‘Sleep’. Their 2017 EP ‘Two’ proved that there’s plenty of substance behind the gimmick and we’re looking forward to seeing how this manifests in a live environment.


Saturday @ 16:00, Volks

After a host of folk, pop and alternative acts across the weekend, Homebound offer the chance to jump around to some catchy pop punk. Their recent EP ‘The Mould You Build Around Yourself’ was made for the stage and thanks to the diversity of The Great Escape’s line-up, Homebound’s set will be a great way to inject some energy into your final day.

Sun Arcana

Saturday @ 18:00, Volks

With the release of their debut EP ‘As I Take A Breath’ in March, Sun Arcana have added substance to the potential they’ve been building over the past year. They’ve already caught the eye of Easy Life Records and with the backing of the label, we’re likely to see much more of this band in 2018.

Lewis Capaldi

Saturday @ 22:30, Coalition

If you’re struggling to choose a closing act to see this year, we’d suggest singer/songwriter Lewis Capaldi. His 2017 debut single ‘Bruises’ has now amassed over 20 million plays on Spotify, and for good reason. Capaldi’s stripped-back acoustic instrumentals and soulful vocals create a wonderfully raw atmosphere that will no doubt be even more impactful live. If you’re looking for a memorable end to this year’s festival, this should be the act for you.