So that was The Great Escape.
One of the most important new music showcase events on the calendar, virtually every venue in Brighton seemed to be overflowing with fresh talent.
At times, it's overwhelming – bands, songwriters, rappers, producers, from almost every continent (we missed the Antarctic showcase) combine to make The Great Escape a vital experience on just about every level worth discussing.
Clash had a team on site, and we're busy collating our tips, best performances, and stand out moments. First, though, we're going to present a few things we learned at this year's Great Escape...
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Grime's purple patch is going to continue for a long time.
The current creative flux within grime is one of British music's most dissected elements, and it provided an unmistakeable element of our weekend. The Great Escape is often viewed as a hub for guitar music, but grime seized control of Brighton last year for an incredible show at the Dome that saw Skepta supported by some of the scene's young princes.
2016 expertly picked up the baton. Stormzy headlined on Saturday night (May 21st) but grime's impact on The Great Escape ran a little deeper – from Lady Leshurr's explosive show at Patterns to legendary spitter D Double E making an appearance in Brighton, grime continually caused seized the limelight wherever it went.
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Guitar music is going nowhere.
Every six months or so someone somewhere will pen a piece about the supposed death of guitar music. There was plenty for indie fans to get excited about at The Great Escape, however – from Diet Cig to Chastity Belt, the explosive growth of Spring King to newcomers such as Eat Belt and Catholic Action, the line up was dotted with exciting acts.
Once more, though, indie seemed to lack a lightning rod to coalesce around, and the weekend's most talked about performances – from Craig David to Stormzy, and beyond – seemed to come from elsewhere. Currently sitting in the shade behind grime, though, is no disgrace – grime is, after all, one of the most exciting scenes on the planet.
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There's so much more to Brighton than The Great Escape.
Heading off piste at the Great Escape is one of the event's great pleasures. From Demob Happy hosting a secret show at a community-run café or High Tyde inviting fans round for a house party, Brighton seemed to be simply overflowing with incredible DIY shows.
The Alternative Escape remains a curious beast. Traditionally, line ups would fluctuate and quality would veer wildly, but this year the Alternative Escape seemed to give the main event a run for its money, picking up on slightly left of centre acts for a series of intriguing showcases in curious venues.
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O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
The Great Escape is an international event, attracting special showcases from countries across Europe, North America, and beyond. Canadian music sits right at the forefront, with the Canadian Blast events bringing together the country's complex array of scenes, styles, and language.
Acts from Vancouver to Montreal, Toronto to Winnipeg took part, supplying fans with an expertly curated cross-section of Canadian music. Clash stopped past for the POP Montreal event, with L.A. Foster and Wake Island proving that there's a lot more to Montreal than big hitters such as Grimes and Kaytranada. Oh, and they gave out free poutine for Saturday night fans!
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There is simply never enough time to see everyone you want to see.
Even with the most adept clash finder, and the most organised timetable, fans will invariably miss out on desperately sought after acts. But that's fine – some of the best things we caught this year happened by accident, and some new artists played multiple slots across the weekend.
Sure, The Great Escape tends to breed an incredible sense of 'fear of missing out' but, thanks to the deftly organised timetable, there's less and less chance of that happening.
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