Aussies at The Great Escape: 9 Artists to Watch in Brighton

As we proceed further into 2016, the international live music showcase train also continues to chug along; from SXSW to CMW in Toronto recently, the next major stop on the calendar is Brighton, England for The Great Escape Festival. Regarded as the major event for new music discovery in Europe, The Great Escape this year is seeing hundreds upon hundreds of artists from all markets heading out to the beachside location for three days and nights of conferencing and night-time showcases.

In the wake of the Sounds Australia news that rocked the music industry this week – the news that the organisation had lost out on crucial government funding needed to support their international live music export program for 2017 – we take a look at some of the Australians set to play The Great Escape (and elsewhere in Europe over the next few weeks), a shining example of how much Australian music is being embraced overseas at the moment.


Ben Forbes aka BANFF has already been making a name for himself in Australia after embarking on a successful jaunt mid-2014. He’s been collaborating with Tom Iansek (Big Scary) on music which would eventually become his debut EP Future Self and it was a collection of material that put BANFF on the map as a songwriter to watch. He joins the crop of exciting artists that has included the likes of Dustin Tebbutt, Timberwolf, Hein Cooper and more – all names that have recently been thriving on international attention.

BANFF has two shows at The Great Escape – May 19th at the Spiegeltent and May 21st at Concorde 2. For more info on BANFF at The Great Escape, click HERE.



Sydney’s Gang of Youths have fast become one of the most beloved Australian bands touring at the moment, having recently wrapped up a huge national tour with their debut album, The Positions. They’ve been busy writing and recording new material for album number two, while new EP Let Me Be Clear already has a considerable amount of hype surrounding its eventual 2016 release.

The boys go on to play a few shows in London after The Great Escape, not to mention a coveted spot at Primavera in Spain, before heading back to the US, where some highly anticipated American shows await.

Gang of Youths play two shows at Concorde 2 on May 21st. For more information, head to their artist page HERE.



Another band who have had a pretty stellar 2016 so far, undoubtedly, is Melbourne’s City Calm Down. Their long-awaited debut album In A Restless House was released to much acclaim earlier this year and with a bigger, more fleshed out sound, City Calm Down’s live presence has become even more distinctive.

City Calm Down have two shows at The Great Escape – May 19th at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar and May 21st at Concorde 2. Check out more about the band at The Great Escape HERE



Sydney’s Gordi heads to The Great Escape with a killer unique sound. The 22 year old has been making impressive waves with her brand of ‘folktronica’, already drawing comparisons to the likes of Angel Olsen and Asgeir. Her creative spark has not gone unnoticed by international tastemakers either, with Gordi’s sound being picked up by blogs and radio stations internationally.

Gordi plays the Komedia Studio Bar on May 19th and at Patterns Upstairs on May 19th as well. Check out her Great Escape artist page HERE



 An evocative and captivating songwriter, Cooper dropped his debut album, The Art of Escape this year to understandable praise. An already seasoned touring artist, Cooper has spent time writing, recording and performing not only in Australia, but also through the UK, Europe and Canada. His music is delicate but hard hitting, while his vocal quality is instantly attention grabbing – he hooks you in and keeps you under his spell.

 Hein plays the Komedia Studio Bar on May 19th before hitting the First Floor of the Brighton Museum for a show that night! Find out more about Hein’s Great Escape shows HERE.



Ry X has been making music for a decent while now but in 2016, it seems that things are taking quite the lunge forward. He finally has a debut album in Dawn out, the first release under the Ry X moniker, and shows at SXSW in March brought Ry Cuming to the attention of many interested fans and industry folk.


Ry X plays St George’s Church as part of The Great Escape on May 20th.

 The Rubens-96


The Rubens are one of those bands who’ll be interesting to watch showcase overseas, coming off the back of a huge 2015 at home. Easily one of the most recognisable and popular Australian touring bands right now, The Rubens head to The Great Escape on the same playing field as everyone else. The platinum selling group have been selling-out shows now consistently for some time and with sophomore album Hoops catapulting their profile even higher, 2016 may as well already be in the bag for the Menangle, NSW boys.


The Rubens play two gigs at The Great Escape – May 20th at Brighthelm and May 21st at Concorde 2. Check out more about their Great Escape gigs HERE.



Kaity Dunstan is Cloves, a singer songwriter originally from Melbourne, but has been spending much of 2016 already impressing people internationally. Her music is gorgeously melancholic, tales of falling in and out love, becoming a stronger person as a result – for a 20 year old, Cloves’ output sounds like it’s come from an older soul. It’s wonderful.

Cloves plays at Brighthelm during The Great Escape on May 19th!  



 Melbourne based producer, singer and musician Owen Rabbit has been demonstrating a wide musical range of tastes and talents over the last year; fusing analogue, digital and acoustic arrangements to form some gorgeous pieces of music. His work has been acclaimed and as a relative newcomer, Owen’s presence has definitely been cemented on the Australian scene.

 Owen plays two dates at The Great Escape – May 19th at the Komedia Studio Bar and May 20th at Patterns Upstairs. Find out more HERE.



The Great Escape runs from May 19th through until May 21st at various venues in Brighton. To find out more about the history of the festival, head HERE.


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