The Great Escape 2022 closed with a bang yesterday after making its triumphant return to a sunny Brighton following a three year hiatus. The festival for new music pulled out all the stops as it kicked off this year’s festival season, featuring incredible performances from some of the hottest new acts and most exciting emerging artists, wrapping up The Great Escape’s biggest line-up yet with more than 500 artists performing across three days.

TikTok presented a line-up of viral sensations at Concorde 2 for one of the festival’s highly anticipated Spotlight shows. Local lad and all-round cheeky chappy ArrDee headlined the stage for a homecoming show, demonstrating why he is one of the most in-demand names in the UK’s hip-hop scene with his energetic, irrepressible flow. West-Londoner Dréya Mac brought fantastic energy to her set, showing off the skills from her early career as a dancer, Piri & Tommy’s vibrant drum & bass was the perfect soundtrack for the sun-drenched day, and fiery rock provocateur Cassyette delivered a thrill ride at the packed venue.

BBC 1Xtra’s stage featured a sizzling hot line-up, headlined by the multi-talented rapper Asher D, best known for his lead role as Dushane Hill in Top Boy, and bringing through some of the hottest new names in hip-hop and R&B, including East-London songwriter Amaria BB, rising star Debbie and buzzy genre-blender Queen Millz.

It was a huge day for fans of indie as Katy J Pearson brought her combination of country heartache and dance floor romance to Horatios in the early afternoon in celebration of Heavenly’s 30th birthday, while Stella Donnelly offered a slice of her dreamy indie-pop by the beach at the Amazon New Music Stage. Phoebe Green got the crowd moving with her uplifting sound at Coalition, and Penelope Isles were the perfect accompaniment to the sunny Saturday at Bella Union’s showcase at the TGE Beach Stage with their blissed out waves of fuzz.

Frankie Stew & Harvey Gunn, the local duo who have been making serious waves in the UK rap scene, found the perfect setting for their laid back hip-hop beats by the beach. Atlanta alt-rock duo Mattiel delivered a rousing performance at Horatios, which was headlined by Aaron Maine’s leftfield synth-pop project Porches, while Brighthelm played host to The Hara’s first ever acoustic set and Patterns welcomed the dark, electronic pop of Rachel Chinouriri.

The conference featured a packed programme of panels and interviews for early career artists and industry professionals on Saturday as part of the event’s Elevate Sessions. Rappers Kojey Radical and Queen Millz shared their advice on creativity in the session ‘Tough As You Are’, presented by Dr. Martens, with Kojey Radical saying: “If you’re driving the car and the road is blocked, you don’t park your car, take the keys and get out. You find your way around the blockage. It’s the same with creativity.”

From the moment the festival goers started descending on Brighton, the excitement surrounding the festival’s return has been plain to see throughout a weekend packed with unforgettable moments. From LYNKS, Goat Girl, Alfie Templeman, Gabriels, Bob Vylan, TEMS and Dora Jar to Rebecca Black, Yard Arct, Abby Roberts, Scene Queen, Let’s Eat Grandma and more than 500 artists performing, The Great Escape has been a triumph for live music and undeniably kicked festival season off with a bang.

The Great Escape today also announces that 2023 Super Early Bird tickets and delegate passes are now available via