EVER since the genesis of what is now known as the UK’s most revered showcase for the world’s best new bands, The Great Escape and Scotland’s perpetually fruitful music scene have been intertwined.
A rite of passage for every new breed of artist that has emerged from their bedrooms or cramped rehearsal spaces in the last ten years, the festival’s inception in 2006 was the beginning of something very special and it has only continued to grow in leaps and bounds ever since.
Held across a plethora of different venues in the gorgeous town of Brighton, the very first incarnation of the festival would set the precedent for what it would morph into as it played host to a strong contingent of artists that would soon become recognised the world over.
Ranging from The Cribs to Klaxons, Mystery Jets and countless more, one nation that most certainly had a strong showing at the inaugural event was none other than Scotland.
Years before the nation’s music scene was discussed in the lofty terms that it is in 2017, burgeoning talent from Glasgow and the surrounding areas made the trek down to the seaside locale with ambition and prosperity in mind. Hailing from disparate ends of the music spectrum but with a homeland in common, those that made their way down were none other than Paolo Nutini, Shitdisco and The Fratellis.
Although the levels of success that they’ve experienced have varied from underground sensation to massive headline act and globe-trotting troubadour, what has been evident from the very first year of The Great Escape is that the cream of the nation’s music industry has always risen to the top and found themselves with a place on the esteemed events’ bill.
The immediate years that followed the first edition of TGE would bolster this theory as 2007 and 2008 featured appearances from Glasvegas, Frightened Rabbit, 1990’s, Danananakroyd, We Are The Physics, The Dykeenies and Sergeant. All birthed in Scotland’s cultural hubs or further flung regions of the country, each band would subsequently find themselves adopted by fans from outwith the nation and in some cases have become permanent fixtures of the country’s musical history. Given the praise that would soon be lavished on them and the worldwide acclaim that would follow, two particularly massive coups for the festival at this stage in its evolution came in sets from Glasvegas and Frightened Rabbit at what were pivotal moments in their respective careers. Both performing as part of 2008’s bill, the event prefaced the release of James Allan and co’s now legendary eponymous debut that September and took place less than a month after ‘Frabbit’ would deliver one of their most definitive statements in the anthem-laden LP The Midnight Organ Fight.
As both the event and Scotland’s music community continued to expand and grow in reverence, the years that would lead us into the 10’s were flavoured with a healthy slew of superb Scottish talent making the sought after pilgrimage to Brighton. Ranging from punchy, no-nonsense indie rock to more nuanced and innovative sounds, TGE would play host to ascending acts such as The View, Idlewild, Django Django, Kassidy, Admiral Fallow, The Xcerts, The Phantom Band, The Twilight Sad, We Were Promised Jetpacks, PAWS and Rachel Sermanni. A veritable who’s who of the finest Scotland has produced over the past decade, it is evident that organisers behind the UK’s biggest new music conference have their ear to the ground when it comes to the artists that are on the cusp of something truly special north of the border.
What’s more, this winning streak has shown no signs of subsiding or losing momentum over the past few years. This unfathomably high success rate is epitomised by The Great Escape in 2013; a year in which The Scottish-based artists that graced Brighton’s venues included Honeyblood, CHVRCHES, Holy Esque, Nina Nesbitt, The Temperance Movement (lead singer Phil Campbell is a native of Glasgow) and Young Fathers. All of these artists have since made irrepressible waves in all corners of the world and their appearances at the festival would have unquestionably placed them in front of the watchful eyes of reputable industry figures that would soon help them on their journey to success in one of the most hotly contested businesses in existence.
As you may have expected, the talent pool over the last two to three years hasn’t deviated from this high standard and has enabled prominent Scottish artists such as Baby Strange, Man Of Moon, WHITE, JR Green, Catholic Action, Hector Bizerk, Vukovi and more to bring their music to attentive and passionate audiences in venues across the city.
With a formidable roster of homegrown artists including Be Charlotte, The Van T’s, Emme Woods and Saint PHNX looking to follow in the footsteps of those that preceded them in journeying to Brighton and bringing themselves to the attention of the masses, one thing we know for certain is that the longstanding love affair between Scotland and The Great Escape is sure to endure for years to come.
Check out our special Scottish artists at The Great Escape playlist on Spotify now: