The acts we can’t wait to see at The Great Escape 2023

Our top picks of essential acts playing across Brighton from 10 – 13 May 2023

If you’re planning a weekend getaway to the seaside around, say, 10-13 May but aren’t a fan of music, you might want to go to Blackpool. Once again, thousands of new music fans and industry bigwigs will descend on the South East coast as The Great Escape festival returns to Brighton.

Maisie Peters and Arlo Parks top this year’s bill with their in-demand spotlight shows, plus of course Ticketmaster will be hosting its own showcase — watch this space for more info on that very soon. But with a line-up of acts so vast it’s almost overwhelming, we’ve noted some of the acts we’ll not be missing, spanning chaotic Australian punk to smooth-as-it-gets French electro-pop.

Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers

They might come from Canberra and look like riot grrrls, but TJ&TJT don’t fit the Aussie punk mould – sounding more like 90s grunge-pop with 20s teeth. Also they have the best name at the festival (although Freddy Merkky, Lemonade Shoelace and Avantdale Bowling Club would disagree…). PB


Not only is the voice of Astrønne soft-edged and spine-tingling, the young Paris-based singer also has impeccable taste. Her collaboration with LaBlue on 2022’s Blue Phases was an effortlessly sleek introduction, while her own solo material hints at playing a more chilling counterpart to this groovier side. JB


Gengahr’s jazz-infused guitar riffs and upbeat tempos instantly elevate a casual stroll to a confident bop, like you’re starring in your own Genghar music video. The groovy, cartoonish video for their latest EP A Ladder reflects their name’s playful origins in the Pokémon universe. YH


If at any point during TGE you’re walking through Brighton and hear what sounds like a massive brawl, that’ll be wherever C.O.F.F.I.N are playing. The Sydney trio follow in the grand tradition of great Aussie punk bands who tear the house down live, like Pist Idiots, Royal Headache, The Chats and Eddy Current Suppression Ring, but with the added bonus of a singing drummer. MG


Making music that sits somewhere between the ‘getting the gang together’ montage scene of a great heist movie and a late-night whisky bar floating somewhere in the Adromeda Galaxy, Switzerland’s L’Eclair set will be a heady and hypnotic affair. If tracks such as ‘Homo Sapiens’ are anything to go by, expect to get a little shuffle on. JB

Ghost Woman

Shoegaze with swagger? Jaded jangle? Psych rock without all the gratuitously long tracks? Whenever you think you’ve pinned down Evan John Uschenko’s 12-string mood it manages to feel like something else entirely. There are influences peering out of every sonic shadow (Can, Beak, The Byrds…) but Ghost Woman already sound like the kind of band to lead, not follow. PB

Áine Deane

British singer-songwriter Áine Deane has managed to stand out in a crowded space thanks to her warm sound and introspective lyrics. With endorsements from acts such as Sam Smith, Little Mix and Ed Sheeran, Deane has graduated from filming in her bedroom to headlining the Omeara in impressively little time. CD

William The Conqueror

William The Conqueror name-check Buffalo Tom in their PR and there’s no surer guarantee of excellence than justifiably comparing yourself to the best trio to ever come out of Boston. There’s also a touch of the dark melodrama of The Wedding Present in there too, which is never a bad thing. In short: fuzzy, guitar-driven, hook-laden 90s indie rock. Yes please. MG

Dolores Forever

The fresh new faces of friendly indie pop, Dolores Forever have been focused on creating, as they put it “bangers”. So far they’ve been incredibly successful in that mission, delivering thoughtfully written lyrics about life’s messier moments in total harmony – and often in the lead up to a big pop chorus. CD

Amie Blu

Amie’s dreamy, smooth vocals course through your soul and send you into a peaceful trance. The South London R&B artist doesn’t hold back with her tales of love and ‘situation-ships’, displaying a raw honesty which only makes you fall in love with her some more. YH


Okay, they’re from Seattle, and yes, they sound like they’re straight out of 1995, but Enumclaw already look bored of hearing the word “Nirvana” thrown around in every interview. Yuck might be a better comparison, but so would last year’s TGE favourites Momma – even if they prefer to call themselves “the best band since Oasis”… PB


Another standout among the many Antipodeans making the cross-hemisphere trek for The Great Escape, Vacations straddle the jangly guitar pop of countrymen Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever and lo-fi synths of the likes of Youth Lagoon. The Newcastle, NSW quartet are already massive TikTok stars thanks to their massive 2016 single ‘Young’. MG

Mestizo Collective

True to their name (‘mestizo’ is Spanish for ‘mixed’), this transatlantic outfit make a beguiling mix of sounds, fusing its Colombian and UK heritage into silky melodies, jazz drumbeats and unmatched energy. I guarantee the soul of the horn intro to their latest song ‘Goldmine’ will have you instantly hitting that repeat button. YH

Super Duty Tough Work

Brendan Grey’s Winnipeg outfit deliver up laidback, jazzy beats that aren’t a million miles away from the likes of De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest. Canadian hip hop might be having a moment thanks to Drake, but this couldn’t be further away. Already Polaris Prize long-listed, you feel their masterpiece and ensuing worldwide acclaim are surely just around the corner. MG

The Big Moon

TGE is best known for platforming up-and-comers, but it’s also the best place to see bigger bands in smaller venues. The Big Moon got a Mercury nod with their 2017 debut and eclipsed it with their best record yet last year, now sandwiching their Brighton gig between the 6Music Festival and a headline show at the Roundhouse. Get there early. PB

The Heavy Heavy

Fresh off the back of a successful US tour, the Heavy Heavy are bringing their retro sound home to Brighton this May. Not even a year on from their first Spotify release, the duo are already on their way up both at home and Stateside. Expect twangy guitars, dreamy vocals and early summer vibes. CD

Girl And Girl

The Gold Coast quartet are fronted by the magnetic Kai Aubort with his aunt Liss on drums, which sounds like it might be a cutesy gimmick until you hear Liss play. Aubort has a melodramatic croon that elevates the band’s glistening, jittery 80s indie pop to a whole new level. The 7-minute-plus ‘Divorce 1’ is an astounding piece of work that could go on for twice as long and not outstay its welcome. MG

Billie Marten

Rippon singer-songwriter Billie Marten has been enjoying something of a post-pandemic renaissance, having signed to Fiction records in 2020 for the accomplished Flora Forna. With rich and roomy textures and melodies that just hit the spot, new material from its forthcoming successor, Drop Cherries, hints that Marten’s purple patch looks to grow beyong to a promising and fruitful future. JB

Get your tickets for The Great Escape 2023 here