Great Escape Is Europe’s No.1

Brighton’s The Great Escape is the biggest and most important convention for the whole of the music industry in the U.K. and possibly Europe, according to co-organiser Martin Elbourne.

The move to the town’s Thistle Hotel meant the main convention sessions were held under one roof, the hotel’s atrium made a good networking space, but – best of all – there were 15,000 visitors.

Although MIDEM in Cannes, France, could question Elbourne’s assertion that TGE is the biggest gathering, and there may be myriad opinions on which convention is the “most important,” there’s little doubt that the Brighton event run in cahoots with The Mama Group is the fastest growing. It has doubled in size since 2008.

This year (May 13-15), 400 acts played across 34 of the seaside town’s venues, including U.K. bands The Pipettes, The Maccabees and British Sea Power playing triumphant hometown sets.

“The emphasis is on new music, with a roster that accompanies everything from the entirely obscure to the acts whose next stop will be the Top 10,” was The Guardian’s interpretation.

The daytime panel sessions had 100 high-profile speakers including U.K. Music head Feargal Sharkey, Will Page from PRS for Music, Big Champagne’s Eric Garland, Google / YouTube’s Patrick Walker and artist manager Chris Morrison.

Also included was chief inspector Adrian Stubbs from the Metropolitan Police’s clubs and vice unit spoke in defense of Form 696, which requires performers at a live gig to give the name and date of birth of all performers as well as specifying the “musical style” of the act.

Many event organisers and artists were opposed to the form and have questioned how the information would be used.