The best new acts we saw at The Great Escape

The Brighton new music festival is a hotbed for new talent. Molly Noble was there to catch the best of music's new gen.


The Great Escape is a multi-venue Brighton festival which acts as a showcase for some of Europe’s most exciting new acts. Each May, the music industry descends on the south-coast city for panels, conferences, live gigs and after-parties all hosted across the three main days. Down the beach is the place to be – a temporary festival site compiled of three stages is situated just along from Brighton Pier where you’ll find the Amazon New Music stage, the bars, food vendors and if you’re lucky, the sun. It’s the UK’s answer to Austin’s SXSW – the perfect place to find your new favourite artist before they break through and mingle with industry movers and shakers, all searching for the Next Big Thing. This week’s festival was – as ever – jam-packed with talent but here are five shows we caught which weren’t to be missed.

Nieve Ella 

One month ago, Nieve Ella released the music video to ‘Big House’ which has since grabbed the attention of thousands of viewers. Her set at Revenge Nightclub feels like a moment – her new-found fans shoulder to shoulder, excited for a glimpse to see her in the flesh. Track highlights are ‘19 in a Week’ and ‘Girlfriend’. Considering she’s only been with her band for five months, the chemistry between them is palpable, giving extra weight to her diaristic lyricism.

Listen to: ‘Big House


The Last Dinner Party

The buzz band of the weekend is undoubtedly The Last Dinner Party. Catchy debut single ‘Nothing Matters’, released just a month before the festival, has resulted in queues snaking around the block to get into Brighton’s Chalk. Watching the five women live, the first word that springs to mind is ethereal. We overhear a person in the crowd saying that lead vocalist, Abigail Morris, reminds them of a young Kate Bush – they’re not wrong!

Listen to: ‘Nothing Matters’

Bellah Mae 

Bellah Mae is the full pop-star package. Her witty songs ‘Date Your Dad’ and ‘Boyfriend Of The Year’ secure her as one of the weekend’s highlights. Showcasing herself without a stage in front of industry professionals, looking on with their arms crossed, could have been a pretty intimidating gig, but Bellah Mae’s cheeky charm wins over the crowd in minutes.

Listen to: ‘Date Your Dad’


Performing for Selector Radio, Bristol artist, Grove freestyles on topics such as queer love and politics over a ferocious blend of D&B and dancehall. A performance that will go down in the history of The Great Escape for getting the crowd moving, there’s an enormous amount of energy from this act, especially on a two-show date. 

Listen to: ‘Feed My Desire’


The Aussie trio are making serious moves towards being named our new favourite girl group. Their colour-coordinated outfits and choreography bring some Melbourne sunshine to the south coast. Their music sounds like it’s straight out of a coming-of-age movie – we’re calling it “Power-Puff-Girls-In-The-Club”. With an overspilling tent, it’s no surprise the gals have already bagged themself a record deal with Atlantic Records.

Listen to: ‘Dead End’ 

READ MORE: The week’s best new releases