The Great Escape 2022 guide: festival highlights

The Great Escape 2022 - Lynks performing in a red sequined jumpsuit with horns

The sun shone on the triumphant return of The Great Escape, Brighton’s epic music industry conference and celebration of new music. Here are some highlights of The Great Escape Festival 2022, held between May 11 and May 14, 2022.

Live music

Day 1 highlights included Yard Act who showcased tracks from their debut album which hit number 2 in the charts! Meanwhile, The Amazons and Goat Girl also impressed eager crowds.

The Great Escape celebrates nationality as the line-up can be filtered by country and includes over 500 artists from 44 countries! Sinead O’Brien was one of the musicians representing this year’s lead country partner; Ireland. She performed a country set by the beach.

Day 2 saw the first Spotlight Show at the historic Brighton Dome Concert Hall. Happy punters saw an eclectic mix of neo-soul, rap, and afrobeat from Gabriels (featuring Jacob Lusk), ENNY, and Nigerian rising star TEMS.

Elsewhere, Lynks played “club-ready queer bangers” on The Beach Stage and then lit up Chalk at 2:00 am.

Another masked performaner, rap/grime MC, CASISDEAD, dropped his lyrical talent at Coalition.

Dora Jar has been tipped by Dora Jar and showed her worth to the Brighthelm audience. Meanwhile, indie-pop darling charmed the folks at Komedia, and Claudia Valentina jumped into the crowd at Revenge during The Gay Times showcase. Then, queer popstar Rebecca Black and her jewel-encrusted chainsaw drew one of the biggest crowds as she performed her hit viral 2011 hit Friday.

Rock and punk fans had their choice of politically charged alt-rock duo Bob Vylan, post-punk band Warmducher, and pop-punkers NOAHFINNCE.

So many new artists have already played over the festival’s 45 (!) stages, but there’s so much more to come. We’ll keep you updated!

The Great Escape 2022 music industry conference

Industry delegates split their time between attending shows and attending insightful conference panels. Topics included data in music, royalties from streaming, and legal protection.

The lawyers behind the recent court case about alleged plagiarism of Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You spoke with CMU’s Chris Cooke during a keynote event.

“Writers have to protect themselves when writing. Record the writing session, don’t delete any voice notes, and you’ve got a basis to prove that you haven’t copied anything.”

Jim Doyle, Music Consultant

Later on, the influential founder of the #BrokenRecord campaign (also Chair of The Ivors Academy and member of the band Gomez) Tom Gray spoke with Labour MP Kevin Brennan.

“Collective voice is important. You don’t make harmony without working together. Find your allies who will help musicians. If you are a credible artist with a following, then you ought to have an income to sustain some kind of career.” 

MP Kevin Brennan

On day two, music publicist Barbara Charone gave key keynote tips to the next generation.

If you want to be a music PR, being liked is a really important thing and knowing about music is really important. If you just want to be on the guest list, this isn’t for you.” [Editor’s note: same goes for music journalism!]

She also reminiced about working with the likes of Lou Reed, Foo Fighters, and Madonna.

People ask if Madonna has changed but she hasn’t. She was the same when she was unknown as she is as a global superstar.

Other conference topics included music syncing for TV, games, and movies, plus the metaverse, sustainability, and TikTok.