here's what we loved at the great escape

While obvious highlights included Craig David’s TS5 party and Stormzy’s graduation from 2015 support slot for brothers grime JME and Skepta to Dome headliner, in this roundup we’re looking to the future stars. Get to know the below...

by Francesca Dunn
24 May 2016, 8:50am

This weekend, Brighton saw an influx of artists and industry types as The Great Escape took over England's south coast once more, bringing with it the next instalment of musical talent. Four days of festivities made up the (can you believe it?) 11th year of the UK's answer to SXSW; four days of powering through hangovers to catch Japanese shoegaze bands in hotel basements, rushing across to Vevo's courtyard, and heading up and down the pier more times than a person should do. Gig after gig after gig naturally came with the odd break for ice cream, dance mat dance offs and interviews on the beach, and a great time was had by all. While obvious highlights include Craig David's TS5 party and Stormzy's graduation from 2015 support slot for brothers grime JME and Skepta to Dome headliner, in this roundup we're looking to the future stars. Get to know the below...

It was a pal in Copenhagen who first told us about this lot. All under 20, the Danish foursome are the shining pop meets R&B gem of their Aarhus hometown. They've got that Dev Hynes 80s vibe and a 90s boyband look. We hung out on the beach before their packed-out Coalition show and can confirm that they're as sweet as their hooky choruses.

Anna of the North
Dragged along to this gig by an enthusiastic friend, we initially presumed that Anna must be from Manchester or thereabouts but it turns out she's so northern that she's actually Norwegian. Anna makes ethereal electro-pop and as she moves to the music she confirms our initial suspicions that she'd make a great new muse for Jacquemus

As a hooded and presumably very proud Neneh Cherry watched on from the back of Patterns, her daughter Mabel played her third and final show of the festival. Clearly growing in confidence with every performance, the audience joined in with killer single My Boy My Town before the future star ended on a powerful cover of Destiny's Child's Say My Name.

Thomas Cohen
Clearly unfazed that there were only about 25 people in The Haunt, Thomas and his band gave us everything. Laying on the floor mid set before climbing, barefoot, on top of the speaker and up onto the balcony above - all while singing - it's only rock and roll but Cohen exudes it. Full of confidence, his was without a doubt the best performance we saw all weekend. Read our interview with him.

Dolores Haze
Completely owning the dark sweaty red room at the back of the Green Door Store, the Swedish foursome are the kind of young band we wish we'd had to look up to when we were 14. They're really talented and crucially, also really great at dressing up and having loads of fun. They're so cool. Interview forthcoming.

Specials mentions go to Klyne, who made it clear why they were picked to support Years & Years on tour; GIRLI, who stripped off her pink prom dress to reveal bloodstained pants and proceeded to throw tampons into the audience; Smerz who were bloody ace; Muna for Winterbreak, and Lady Leshurr who brought the noise. 

The Great Escape
Thomas Cohen
Dolores Haze