Brighton’s Greatest Escape

Brighton hosted its fifth Great Escape Festival this year with over 350 bands entertaining punters at 35 different venues over three days, writes Paul Watson.
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Brighton hosted its fifth Great Escape Festival this year with over 350 bands entertaining punters at 35 different venues over three days. The Great Escape Festival is Europe’s leading music festival for new music and includes an international delegate conference where music fans and industry moguls can book acts, broker deals and drink beer together as the city breaks into party mode for three days. Now in its fifth year, this year’s festival began on May 12th. Brighton Dome was used as the nucleus of the festival which played host to multi-billed headline acts in the evenings. The aim of the festival organisers was to make this year’s event better value for the delegates and the fans, as Giles Bristow, technical production manager, explains. “The festival’s footprint spread 360 degrees from Brighton Dome enabling easy access to the other venues located as far south as the end of Brighton pier,” says Bristow. “International acts use Great Escape as a platform to spring board into the UK scene, which gives so much added value to the music fan wristband and delegate pass.” The Great Escape Festival is owned by MAMA festivals Ltd. Festival manager Lisa Maisey, who heads up Lout Promotions, worked closely with Bristow behind the scenes and central management meetings were held on a monthly basis from September 2009 to ensure everything would be ready on time. Bristow also owns Brighton Headquarted Alstublieft Audio who supplied all PA equipment as well as lighting, staging and backline gear (the latter with the help of FX Rentals). A number of PA systems and consoles were used in the festival: Chase and Status used an L-Acoustics dV-DOSC system with a Midas H2000 at FOH and a Yamaha PM5D at monitor position at The Dome; and Groove Armada used a d&b Q1 system with a Soundcraft Vi6 at FOH and a Yamaha PM5D at monitor position at The Corn Exchange. Noise Control Audio Asym systems were used for the street gigs with a Midas H1000 at FOH position and equipment in the smaller venues was by Turbosound, Funktion One, KV2 Audio, NCA, d&b and EV; a range of 24 channel analogue consoles were used.

 “Production ran smoothly as the whole team spent six months on the scheduled festival plan,” reveals Bristow. “The atmosphere on the streets throughout the festival was electric, enjoyed by all the staff volunteers and public and professional attendees alike; it also helped that Great Escape was blessed with three glorious days of south coast sunshine!” This year’s event also featured many day time activities including MTV beach parties at The Fortune Of War, street gig programmes and a number of matinee events. Bristow believes this was the most successful Great Escape to date and says the team have already started work on next year’s festival which will take place on the same May weekend.



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