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Europe's leading showcase festival and convention.

The Great Escape is unique among festivals. It's not only a brilliant showcase event for new music from all manner of genres but it is also host to a great music industry convention too. Because it is held virtually on my doorstep it's something I always try to make the most of. There's always a buzz in town, the streets bustling with gig goers, as Brighton's venues show their quality by staging excellent shows from literally hundreds of bands, from the internationally renowned to the up-and-coming names of the future.

If you think about the logistics involved you start to realise how amazing the organisation behind this event really is, and how good the Brighton music scene is to be able to host it so successfully. It puts the city well and truly on the global music map attracting people from across the world, and as a result shows the great and diverse cultural heart that Brighton beats with. A reminder perhaps that the venues need to be supported by the authorities, and the public, because without a thriving music scene Brighton wouldn't have the capacity to host such an event at all.

Rock Sound Magazine with Great Escape coverage

Anyway, I digress a bit... For the previous two years I had been a part of Rock Sound Magazine's team at The Great Escape. They took over the Concorde 2 venue each evening and hosted some awesome gigs which I photographed for the magazine and their online galleries. During the daytimes I made the most of my photopass and checked out as many shows as I could fit in, generally trying to make a few more contacts, including doing some band portraits when time allowed. Those images have been shown many times across various online music blogs and websites... highlights for me included OFFICE using some of my pics of Arcane Roots. Marmozets, Hacktivist and The Blackout for their blog and my photo of Mel Parsons was used in NZ Musician Magazine. Last year Rock Sound used my shots across a two page spread in the magazine (pic above).

This year (2014), as some bands playing had already expressed an interest in meeting up to do some photos, I decided to remain completely independent so I could be fully available for shoots whenever. Once I knew my schedule for the week I tried to fill up any gaps by putting word out over social media that I may be free for some quick shoots if circumstances allowed. I also contacted a few bands I really wanted to photograph. The response was so good that the whole event turned into a non stop rush around Brighton for me for three days. I even had to miss out on photographing some bands because there was limited time and I couldn't be in two places at once. Many of the images can be seen in this FEATURED update. If you browse through the pages you'll see quite a few mentions of The Great Escape. The bands I was particularly pleased to do portraits of were Gallery Circus, Black Foxxes and Brawlers, but check out live shots of The Subways, Taymir and Stonefield too. There are other portraits from the week that I cannot reveal at this stage but hopefully will do so in a future update...

There were also a few gigs I saw while waiting for other bands. Prides were excellent, as were The Districts. That's one of the awesome things about The Great Escape, the diversity of sounds covered, and sometimes coming from the most unlikely of venues too... pop-up gigs where you would least expect them... hotels, shops, even occasionally on the street for all to enjoy.

If you want to do business the convention program is ideal for making new contacts, with many opportunities for delegates to network, and there are some good hotel bars to thrash out the basics of a deal or two. The convention program always has interesting, useful, and relevant events and talks. I did put aside some time to go along to the CMU:DIY event this year. It was a day long event made up of several talks covering all the aspects of getting started in music. I thought it would be useful to me to help understand an artist's viewpoint in the industry, what they need, what labels and management need and how they operate. I dropped in whenever I could throughout the day and there was always something useful to be heard, even from my perspective as a photographer. There's a summary of the subjects covered, on the CMU website, laid out as a handy top ten tips list for new artists. Have a look at that here. Note point 10... get some great photos!!

Find out more about Great Escape Festival and all the latest event info at

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