This coming Thursday, Friday and Saturday The Great Escape festival descends upon Brighton again for three days of radical new music. However, there is also a parallel festival of local and not-so-local bands – the Alt-Escape – and locals in-the-know understand this means there is a phenomenal amount of brilliant live music to be enjoyed for free, very often every bit as good as on the main festival stages.
A number of small venues are putting on full schedules of free music on all three days. If you are at Preston Circus, then Cafe Plenty are hosting an excellent mix of soft-pop, folk and rock, starting from 1pm and going on until late on all three days. The pubs the North Laine Brewhouse, The Mucky Duck off St James’s Street and the East Street Tap are also staging live music all day every day.
Love Thy Neighbour sponsor three afternoons at the Hope & Ruin, and the always popular Fiddlers Elbow, the Marlborough Theatre and Black Lion pub have a wide variety of acts on at various days and times. On Friday, we’re particularly attracted by a good-looking and extensive Americana Music Association line-up at the Mesmerist and two women-centred events – Femscape at the Black Dove and GRL PWR at the Pelirocco.
Saturday is usually the busiest day both in terms of punters and players and there are some excellent afternoon and evening line-ups at a variety of smaller pubs and venues. Some one off specials on Saturday include ‘The Fake Escape’ line-up at the charming Rose Hill Tavern, ‘Mutate Escape’ at the Pipeline in Little East Street and an evening of music at the Casablanca Jazz Club. Starting at 3pm on Saturday we would also highly recommend the Brighton’s Finest website stage being run at the gorgeously grand St Mary’s Church in Kemp Town.
Like the Artists Open Houses trail every May, the Alt-Escape has become one of the great liberating popular art events in Brighton, but you only have three days to enjoy it. If it all seems a bit daunting, plenty of places are not far apart so you can take a chance and stroll between venues with ease. For further details search ‘Alt Escape’ on Facebook or visit venue websites. No wristband needed.
Photograph taken at Cafe Plenty in May 2017 by Jon Southcoasting