Yesterday, the hottest names in new music treated sun-kissed festival goers to a day of unforgettable performances throughout the city of Brighton, packing out venues as The Great Escape 2022 returned for its first day of music.

Thursday’s highlights included one of the most exciting breakthroughs of the year, Yard Act, taking their acerbic post-punk stylings to the Komedia Basement, riding high off scoring a number 2 album with ‘The Overload’ earlier this year. Anthemic rockers The Amazons returned to the festival to ignite audiences at Chalk, whilst South-Londoners Goat Girl brought their achingly cool guitar-laden indie to the festival.

The new generation of punk and nu-metal rockers were readily represented with Cassyette bringing her infectious alt personality to Chalk, whilst her previous collaborator, the buzzy Kid Brunswick, stirred the crowd into a frenzy at the seafront venue Coalition. Sinead O’Brien, one of the many artists representing this year’s lead country partner Ireland, played an uplifting set by the beach, and multi-instrumentalist CKTRL had the crowd spellbound with his serene genre-blending sound at Brighthelm.

With The Great Escape famous for giving a platform to the newest faces on the scene, the spellbinding Kam-BU took to the stage of Patterns with his maverick attitude and urgent bars, whilst elsewhere Enola Gay delivered their formidable noise rock drone to an afternoon audience at the Queen’s Hotel.

With more than 45 stages to choose from, the crowd spilled out onto the beach whilst the jubilant MUNA took to the Amazon New Music Stage with their buoyant electronic pop. Minutes away, Abby Roberts thrilled a packed out audience at Patterns, transporting her social media success to the stage via relatable lo-fi bedroom anthems. Further into the city, Brighton Lane's haunt Zahara hosted Ukrainian multi-hyphenate’s Krapka;KOMA, with their left-field atmospheric electronic textures captivating a packed room of entranced fans.

Tapping into the more analytical and commercial domain of music, the second day of The Great Escape conference focussed on the MUSIC+DATA strand, with the spotlight firmly placed on how data drives success in the music business. ‘Challenges + Solutions’ looked at the challenges of perfecting the data journey in music, with Crispin Hunt, Former Chair of Ivors Academy, saying “Value needs to be going to the people who created that value. We’ve got to get in the habit of signing our work, otherwise we won’t get paid.” This was followed by a presentation from Annabella Coldrick, CEO of MMF, presenting the organisation’s ‘$ong Royalties Manifesto’ and the three steps it outlines to increase streaming revenues for songwriters and composers.

Two of the conference’s keynote events took place, with CMU’s Chris Cooke conversing with the lawyers behind the headline-grabbing court battle over the alleged plagiarism of Ed Sheeran’s hit Shape Of You. Music Consultant, Jim Doyle, advised songwriters on how to avoid legal battles, sharing: “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.” Later, the Founder of the #BrokenRecord campaign, Tom Gray, was joined by one of its lead proponents, Labour MP Kevin Brennan, who mentioned “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.” The partner panels made a return to Block Bar and The Tempest Inn, featuring panels and presentations from Sentric Music, Horus Music and Vevo.

Spanning the realms of music trademarking, streaming revenue, and championing the commercial value of your music from the very beginning of your career, The Great Escape conference covered the ups and down of an ever-evolving industry. Combined with a stellar musical offering, The Great Escape is off to a flying start and continues with more unmissable new music, must-see acts and thought-provoking conference strands today, Friday 13 May, and Saturday 14 May 2022.

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