The acts we can’t wait to see at The Great Escape 2022

Unmissable acts from the return of the UK's top new music festival, taking place across Brighton from 11-14 May

See available tickets

Midweek excitement. New music discovery. Fish ‘n’ chips on the seafront and gin-in-a-tin. Rain jackets and lanyards. Working out if you legged it now, would you make it to Concorde 2 for that showcase so-and-so was on about last night? Ah, The Great Escape.

Having been confined to the virtual world for the last two years, we’re delighted that the UK’s top new music festival is finally back to take over Brighton’s venues, theatres, bars, churches and pretty much any space that can fit a drum kit and an amp from 11-14 May. We’ll be hosting the Ticketmaster New Music showcase at Coalition on Thursday night, featuring the likes of Mysie, Alex Amor and Kwaku Asante.

With over 400 acts spread across four days, the choice is as always pretty overwhelming. But to help you plan your schedule, here are a selection of staff picks we’re certainly not planning on missing as we make our way to the sea.


When & where:
21:30 Saturday – Concorde 2

Why: One of the UK’s most hyped post-pandemic exports (and one of our Breakthrough 2022 acts) Brighton-born rapper ArrDee’s Saturday spotlight will also be an explosive homecoming show as he brings debut LP Pier Pressure to life. JB

Baby Queen

When & where:
21:15 Thursday – Amazon New Music Stage
21:00 Friday – Revenge
21:15 Saturday – The Arch

Why: The South African singer-songwriter wraps serious subject matter in upbeat,
conversational pop, pairing sardonic spoken-word verses with the catchiest of
choruses. She’ll play three shows over the weekend, ahead of her opening dates
for Olivia Rodrigo. CD

Rachel Chinouriri

When & where:
18:15 Friday – Amazon New Music Stage

Why: An up-and-comer in indie pop, Chinouriri has already received a lot of positive
attention for the alternative sound and confessional lyrics of her first two EPs and
has recently announced plans for a third. CD

A.O. Gerber

When & where:
17:15 Friday – The Mucky Duck
20:30 Friday – One Church

Why: One of London label Hand in Hive‘s brightest signings, Los Angeles singer-songwriter A.O. Gerber spans haunting, atmospheric space with gratifying guitar outbursts, filling the space in between with a vulnerable dreaminess that sure does get the goose bumps going. New single ‘Looking For The Right Things’ has Enya level iciness, so maybe bring a coat. JB


When & where:
22:15 Friday – Coalition

Why: Somewhat of an enigma, not least from the uncanny-valley prosthetic mask he dons to protect his identity, Tottenham boy CASISDEAD has been hailed by some of UK rap’s authorities as one of the best lyricists in the game, and his late night show on the seafront club will be a rare chance to see them proven right. JB

Margo Cilker

When & where:
21:30 Thursday – Unitarian Church
22:30 Friday – Unitarian Church

Why: Hearing Margo Cilker’s voice is to be instantly transported through time. There’s more than a touch of Emmylou Harris and Gillian Welch in that keening twang, maybe a little Joni in its engaging warmth, some of Lucinda Williams’ grit too. But Cilker is more than just a great voice; her songs feel loosed from time too, not least the swaying, almost overwhelmingly beautiful ‘That River’ and the swinging ‘Barb Wire (Belly Crawl)’. Her Great Escape appearances will be unmissable. MG


When & where:
22:00 Friday – Prince Albert
20:30 Saturday – TGE Beach Stage

After Meet Me In St. Louis, singer Toby Hayes kept his toes in the UK emo and math rock scene with his acoustic project Shoes And Socks Off, but as Laundromat blends the low-key swagger of Britpop’s nerdiest with Meet Me In The Bathroom-era guitars to curious and moreish effect. JB

Kid Brunswick

When & where:
23:30 Thursday, Coalition

Why: Harry James came out the other side of a troubled teenhood to emerge as Kid Brunswick: heir to YUNGBLUD’s throne in every review of his debut mixtape, XFOREVER. Look past the comparisons and there’s something much darker and more urgent about his confessional sound – pushing frenzied alt-rock through punk, trap and whatever else lets him untap his emotions. AM

Lola Young

When & where:
21:30 Thursday, Brighthelm

Why: Lola Young’s big break came late last year with a gentle cover in a John Lewis
Christmas ad, but anyone who’s explored the Londoner’s catalogue knows that
viewers of her Brighthelm set can expect sharp lyricism, powerful vocals and a
confident flow. CD

Been Stellar

When & where:
18:15 Friday – TGE BEACH STAGE

Why: NYC’s Been Stellar would surely have had a chapter in Meet Me In The Bathroom if they’d existed 16 years ago. They’ve a post punk darkness that will earn a few Interpol comparisons, a tendency towards the big choruses of The Strokes and The Killers and a literary bent not a million miles from The National. Their latest single ‘Kids 95’ represents a massive step forward for the band. Everything feels clearer and bigger. Almost guaranteed to be one of the breakout stars of the festival. MG


When & where:
21:45 Saturday – Revenge

Why: when you’ve made it to the last day of The Great Escape, nothing quite spruces you up than a gritty, energetic post-punk slap in the face. Thankfully this year Crows have taken up the mantle, building on their cult-like following in London to see out the weekend with some raucous intensity. JB

Kwaku Asante

When & where:
19:30 Thursday, Coalition

Why: The algorithmic powers that be may have propelled Kwaku Asante into your weekly playlist or two, but really it feels as though which each release the North Londoner demands to be heard live. Ranging from the recent disco funk of the Blue Solstice EP to the J Dilla-esque cut ‘Dust’, expect an emotionally dynamic set. JB

Bad Waitress

When & where:
12.30 Thursday – TGE Beach Stage
16:00 Friday – The Green Door Store
23:00 Friday – The Hope and Ruin

Why: The ghosts of punk’s past and present are alive and kicking in Canada’s Bad Waitress —channelling Fugazi, Idles and everyone in between. Crackling with energy and dripping scuzz, last year’s debut LP No Taste heralded the band’s arrival with spikey 90s guitars and hard-won swagger. New single ‘Spit It Out’ adds a wry blast of Surfer Rosa — letting Bad Waitress kill their darlings just in time for their own time in the Brighton sun. PB


When & where:
23:15 Friday – Horatio’s

Why: If you put all the best bits of 90s alt rock in a blender (no, not Eve 6’s heart) the delicious gloop would probably taste like everything that makes Momma one of the most exciting new bands. Etta Friedman and Allegra Weingarten write stellar loud-quiet-loud anthems with layers of fuzzy guitars and nonchalant vocals. They’ve knocked our socks off with singles ‘Medicine’ and ‘Speeding 72’ so expect their forthcoming sophomore album to be on almost every Best of 2022 list. MG


When & where:
20:15 Thursday – Amazon New Music Stage

Why: Fresh off a tour with Kacey Musgraves, MUNA are bringing their joyful electropop
to the Amazon New Music Stage – expect a bright, high-energy set to elevate
your Thursday night. CD


When & where:
19:30 Saturday – TGE Beach Stage

Why: Floating their San Francisco sound from Toronto to Brighton, Tallies bring a gorgeous swell of jangle-pop to the beach through a thick fog of shoegaze. Sounding like The Sundays fighting the darker, more psychedelic edge they never really dared get too close to, Tallies were signed to Bella Union by Cocteau Twins’ Simon Raymonde in 2020, which makes a whole lot of sense — playing The Great Escape now ahead of the release of their second album, Patina. PB

Pist Idiots

When & where:
20:15 Friday – Three Wise Cats (Casablanca)
17:10 Saturday – The MVT Stage

Why: Calling your band Pist Idiots is laying down one hell of a gauntlet to both yourselves and your audience. It’s a lot to live up to, but these Sydney punks give the impression that no other name would really have worked. Musically, they call to mind much-missed compatriots Royal Headache with their garage rock and soul tinges. This promises to be sweaty, sweary and a lot of fun. MG

English Teacher

When & where:
20:15 Thursday – Latest Music Bar
15:30 Saturday – Komedia

Why: Stepping straight from the shadow of all the Black Country, New Road comparisons with a sound that feels more raw (less Slint) and less anxious (more Yuck), the Leeds-born post-punk four-piece are riding their own wave into The Great Escape. Expect slow-built layers of aggressive guitar moodiness, spoken word satire about turning a packet of crisps into “Yorkshire Tapas”, and a band who already feel far too big for a small venue. PB


When & where:
20:30 Thursday – Coalition

Why: Though picking up the prestigious Ivor Novello Rising Star Award in 2020 certainly reflected South East London’s Mysie’s promising future, there’s already depth and maturity in her voice that brings the listener’s attention to right now. Catch her eclectic stile of ‘indie soul’ at our New Music Showcase on Thursday evening. JB


When & where:
22:15 Friday, Brighton Dome Concert Hall

Why: Though she may have been an ‘up-and-comer’ when the shutter clicked, by the time this photograph developed you’d already missed her — except, perhaps, for this spotlight show on Friday evening. One of our Breakthrough 2022 artists, the Nigerian fusion artist is one of the most in-demand artists in the world right now, with collaborations with the likes of Justin Bieber and Drake. This is one you’re going to want to get down early for. JB

The Great Escape takes place across the whole of Brighton from 11-14 May – tickets can be found here. Don’t miss our Ticketmaster New Music showcase at Coalition on 12 May, featuring MYSIE, Kwaku Asante, Alex Amor, Conor Albert, Isabelle Brown and Kid Brunswick.