Adele The Great Escape

5 Artists Who played The Great Escape before they were famous

Words: JJ Dunning
Photo: Mari Sarii

Brighton-based festival Great Escape specialises in launching new bands’ careers. Here are just five who played it on their way up…

If you care about music and you want to see the best new bands in the country, Brighton’s Great Escape Festival is the place for you. 

Every year since 2006, the event has helped countless artists get their big break.

Around 450 bands appear over three days, performing in over 30 bars and clubs across the city. This makes it one of the best places in the UK to see bands on the up in small-capacity venues, before they make it to arenas. 

Booker Adam Ryan gives us the lowdown on the hugest stars ever to grace the bill. (Oh, and one they really wish they’d stumped up an extra 50 quid for.)

1. Adele

Adam says: Adele played to about 80 people at Concorde 2 in 2007. She was fantastic. Everyone refers to this gig - it’s a little bit like when the Sex Pistols played Manchester Free Trade Hall, except nobody who was at the Adele show formed a band off the back of it. Yet, anyway!

© YouTube // Jack Thom

2. Jake Bugg

Adam says: Jake was booked to play upstairs at Komedia, which is a 150-capacity venue, in 2012. He was playing on the Drowned In Sound stage, which is strange looking back because they don’t generally go in for his kind of music.

© YouTube // Teenspirit79 

3. Jungle

Adam says: We had Jungle play the NME Radar stage at the Haunt, which only holds 300 people. That was in 2014, just as they were getting really big off the back of Busy Earnin’. There was a queue around the building.

© YouTube // 0000minuit0000 

4. Bastille

Adam says: We booked Bastille three years on the trot. Each time they appeared they were on a bigger stage. By 2013 they were headlining! We like to be able to support bands over a prolonged period of time, so that was great.

© YouTube // debhdebh 

5. Foals 

Adam says: Before I became the booker for the festival, I was a gig rep. I remember when Foals played at Komedia in 2008. I was in the venue at soundcheck and they just blew me away. It was really special.


© YouTube // You Tuber

And the one who got away…

…Florence and the Machine

Adam says: In the first or second year of the festival, the booker at the time refused to increase the fee for Florence and the Machine by £50, so she didn’t perform. We could have had her if we’d stumped up an extra 50 quid. You live and you learn…

© YouTube // FlorenceMachineVEVO

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05/2016 The Red Bulletin 

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