We went to the very first edition of The Great Escape back in 2006. It was quite a limited affair, with not much on during the day for the average punter. That's changed greatly over the years, and the strand of the festival known as The Alternative Escape has really developed. With tickets now sold out for the main festival (preview of that here), The Alternative Escape is a great way for anyone to rock up to Brighton and see some top acts for very little, or even nothing at all.
One thing we will warn against with The Alternative Escape is that stage times and bands can be subject to late changes/running - and with Brighton's oft-terrible phone signal, it can be hard to keep up with any line up alterations. And as with anything of this nature, venues may operate a one-in/one-out system when busy - get down early! All that said, most things run just fine and here's a selection of artists we recommend catching:
CURXES (Thurs 14th, 17.40, Bleach)
Their debut album 'Verxes' has just been released so expect the South Coast trio to come out all guns blazing at the Strong Island x Pie Vinyl event. It's £4 to get in without a festival wristband but this lot are worth the entry fee alone.
Radio On (Fri 15th, 13.20, Basement)
Music bloggers who have attended the festival in years gone by are probably familiar with the meeting of minds that is now known as BLOG UP. The good guys over at Killing Moon are hosting this year, featuring the upcoming Radio On among other rising stars. All welcome but this one is normally heaving.
Matt Woods (Fri 15th, 13.40, Horatio's)
This self-proclaimed future soul artist is starting to look like the real deal. Judge for yourself on Brighton Pier, but if you don't already have a festival wristband, book a free spot ahead of time through Biletto.
Tape Runs Out (Fri 15th, 14.55, Fishbowl)
It's perhaps fair to say that Cambridge outfit Tape Runs Out are one of the lesser known acts to be playing in Brighton this week - no reflection on their quality, as their impressive double A-side single 'Friends'/'Flowers' shows. Entry to their show is free, with no wristband required.
Avec Sans (Fri 15th, 19.30, Horatio's)
Fresh off a fruitful trip to Toronto's Canadian Music Week, electro-pop duo Avec Sans dropped arguably their best track yet in 'Resonate'. It's free to catch them but as per Matt Woods above you'll have to a book a spot through Biletto before the gig.
Fyfe (Fri 15th, 18.30, Carousel's)
Paul Dixon's latest guise as Fyfe impressed us at Bushstock 2013, with his guitar-infused experimental electronica. A couple of years on, and we're expecting even bigger and better things at a somewhat secret venue behind Brighton's carousels.
The Half Earth (Sat 16th, 19.40, North Laine)
Conor Stephenson's emotive offerings have been steadily building an audience, and its likely that he'll prove particularly popular at the free Tigmus/Killing Moon showcase.
Find more info at greatescapefestival.com.