Heading to The Great Escape? Here’s a bunch of acts we’d advise you definitely don’t miss

As an aid to those of you heading to Brighton to catch some music, we've put together a few recommendations.

Yes, Dear Reader, it’s almost time again. A seaside jaunt to the pebbled beaches of Brighton to celebrate the best in new, emerging and exciting music – The Great Escape is set to hit the south coast over the coming days, and – as ever – Dork will be heading over with some of our faves along for the ride.

This year, we’re bringing you not one, but two stages of fantastic new music. On Thursday night (11th May), we’ll be heading down the end of the iconic Pier to the legendary Horatio’s, as Dork’s Night Out takes on Brighton with a cast of future superstars.

We’ll have Hype List alumni Lime Garden and English Teacher, the fantastically buzzy HANNES and Victor Ray, and (no, not just because it rhymes – Ed), one of our very favourite new bands to open, Slaney Bay. Pound for pound, you can’t do much better than that.

But that never stops us trying. On Saturday (13th May), we’re teaming up with one of the hottest labels on the planet, Chess Club, at The Arch for a second showcase that’ll see the festival out in style. Featuring the likes of Coach Party, Lip Filler and TROUT, it’s yet another opportunity to see some the next big things first. Plus, the magnificent SOFY has also just joined the bill. No excuses now, eh?

As an aid to those of you heading to Brighton to catch some music, we’ve put together a few recommendations. Here’s some of the acts we think you absolutely must see.

Arlo Parks

Photo credit: Jennifer McCord

Former two-time Dork cover star Arlo Parks needs no introduction, but it would be folly not to inform you that her new album, ‘My Soft Machine’ – due in just a couple of weeks – is the kind of remarkable piece of work that had our writer proclaim they had to reconsider every five-star review they’d ever given in light of it. That good. As a magazine that thinks hyperbole is a life goal, not an insult, we’re happy to suggest Arlo is a once-in-a-generation talent that might yet just save us all.
Brighton Dome, 9:45pm, Saturday 13th May

Lip Filler

Photo credit: Holly Whitaker

West London five-piece Lip Filler are quickly making a name for themselves. Their self-titled debut EP is a statement of intent, moving between caustic indie rock and raucous, noughties-leaning dance-punk. If The Great Escape is a place to discover new talent, Lip Filler are definitely ones for the must-see list.
The Arch, 8.30pm, Saturday 13th May

Dolores Forever

Photo credit: Francesca Allen

Meeting on a Greater London rooftop, the story goes that Hannah Wilson and Julia Fabrin bonded over a shared love of Stevie Nicks. As Dolores Forever, they’ve created a beautifully formed discography of impassioned indie-pop that channels some of the very best. Their friendship and creative connection have only blossomed into something truly special. Ones not to miss.
Horatio’s, 10.30pm, Friday 12th May

SEB

Photo credit: Shy Louise

SEB’s journey from Chicago to LA is as vibrant as his music. After growing up in a family that moved around the country, he honed his freestyle skills with a middle school rap group in Chicago. Later, as an intern at Electric Lady Studios in New York, he rubbed shoulders with music legends, sparking a new wave of inspiration. Now based in LA, SEB has been casually dropping a string of absolute bops for a hot minute now. He’s certain to make even the most blustery Brighton day a whole lot brighter.
Green Door Store, 11.30pm, Thursday 11th May
Zahara, 8:00pm, Friday 12th May

Nell Mescal

Photo credit: Patrick Gunning

Nell Mescal might just be the future. Though she’s only dropped four singles so far, the latest – ‘In My Head’ – has already had more than one person at Dork HQ drop a comparison to Robyn’s ‘Dancing On My Own’. Yes, one of the all-time greatest songs ever written. That kind of talent should never be ignored. A future sensation whirring up the gears, this time next year Nell should as big as she is brilliant. That’s very, in case you were wondering.
Jubilee Square, 3.15pm, Friday 12th May

Maisie Peters

Photo credit: Frances Beach

Talking about sensations, our girl Maisie is fast becoming one herself. With her second album, ‘The Good Witch, ‘ due next month, she’s playing one of the huge showcase sets. It’s more than deserved. With a record in the blocks that takes her idiosyncratic dramatic chaos and dials it up to eleven, in terms of sheer force of personality alone, she’s already a superstar.
Brighton Dome, 9:00pm, Friday 12th May

Picture Parlour

Wanting something EXTRA new Dear Reader? Well, Picture Parlour may be your favourite new discovery waiting to happen. Making a name for themselves across London over the past few months, their neon-tinged blend of late-80s pop and swaggering recent-Arctic Monkeys pomp makes them a band ready to blow in a big way. Plus, there’s no music out there, so you’ve got no choice – get down to see them when down at the seaside. Thank us later.
Zahara. 12:30pm. Saturday 13th May.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWNkldX37NA

Egyptian Blue

Photo Credit: Steve Gullick

A global shutdown may have put a bit of a pause on Egyptian Blue’s hype train as it came hurtling towards the station, but over the past couple of months they’ve dropped two absolutely fantastic new singles. With a debut album on the horizon, it promises to have been worth the wait.
The Old Market, 8:15pm, Friday 12th May

Lizzue Esau

Lizzie’s passion for music started young, and after more than a decade of songwriting, she’s not slowing down. Inspired by the likes of Wolf Alice, Beabadoobee, and Radiohead, Lizzie refuses to be boxed in by a single sound. With an unwavering desire to express herself through music, she’s poised to make a big impact. Get ready to be blown away!
Revenge, 2.30pm, Friday 12th May

Marika Hackman

Photo credit: Patrick Gunning

Marika is back! Sure, we don’t know exactly what she’s got in store yet, but with a back catalogue that’s packed with five-star brilliance, her appearance at The Great Escape is instantly a must-see. One of the very best currently doing it.
The Old Market, 7.30pm, Thursday 11th May

Caity Baser

Photo credit: Lily Craigen

At just 20 years old, pop singer Caity Baser was catapulted to fame with her viral hits ‘Friendly Sex’ and ‘X&Y’. Hailing from Southampton, she’s fast becoming, drawing in a growing fanbase that identifies with her raw, unfiltered approach to both her music and her personality. If you’re picking out future names for pop’s A-list, you can probably stop your search here.
Amazon New Music Stage, 5:15pm, Friday 12th May

Gengahr

Photo credit: David J. East

It’s actually a compliment to suggest that, sometimes, it’s easy to forget just how brilliant Gengahr are. With a consistently high bar set, their fourth album, ‘Red Sun Titans’, is coming this summer and is just as great as expected. Capable of spinning a glorious vibe, you can grab an early preview this weekend.
Chalk, 9.30pm, Saturday 13th May

Girl Scout

Photo credit: Martyna Bannister

Girl Scout – their words from their ‘associated press stuff’, not ours – are “a gang of misfits”. Each member struggled to fit in at some point in their lives, feeling like outcasts due to their unique circumstances. But together, their music is cathartic and relatable. Their debut EP ‘Real Life Human Garbage’ is well worth a listen, as is their just dropped track ‘Monster’. Scuzzy, fuzzy and brilliant.
Prince Albert, 9.30pm, Friday 12th May

HotWax

Photo Credit: Holly Whitaker

Hastings trio HotWax have been kicking up something of a fuss in recent months. With a first EP on the blocks, they’ve got a summer of big shows and big ambitions to come. Making the short hop down to Brighton, they’re certain to be one of the names on everyone’s lips this weekend.
TGE Beach Stage, 3:30pm, Thursday 11th May
The Old Market, 8:30pm, Thursday 11th May
Chalk, 1:00am, Friday 12th May

SPIDER

Photo Credit: Ashley Rommelrath

Hailing from Dublin and just twenty-one years old, SPIDER has already made a name for herself with her unique sound and captivating presence. Inspired by the arachnid’s powerful feminine energy, SPIDER uses her music to explore emotional resilience with fearless honesty. She only has two legs though. No need to get freaked out.
Green Door Store, 9.30pm, Thursday 11th May

VLURE

Last year, VLURE smashed Dork’s stage at Horatio’s. In the twelve months since, they’ve kept on smashing things. This year, they’re probably going to smash it again. That’s VLURE for you – absolutely smashing.
Paganini Ballroom (The Old Ship), 9.15pm, Thursday 11th May
Charles Street Tap, 7:00pm, Friday 12th May

The Last Dinner Party

The Last Dinner Party
Photo credit: Patrick Gunning

Seems like The Last Dinner Party have already kicked over the water cooler on their way through with their debut single ‘Nothing Matters’, huh? The new band everyone is talking about hit The Great Escape with quite probably more buzz than the rest of the bill combined. Probably best to get down to their set early, eh? We promise you – beyond the discourse, debate and general industry nonsense – they’re worth every single drop of hype.
Chalk, 8.30pm, Thursday 11th May

Mandy, Indiana

Hailing from Manchester’s vibrant music scene, Mandy, Indiana is a band that’s arrived fully-formed and ready to take on the world. Their debut album ‘i’ve seen a way’ is set to arrive just a week after The Great Escape, and is already picking up some pretty damn impressive word-of-mouth action. Get on board before it all kicks off.
Volks, 5:00pm, Saturday 13th May

Blusher

If you’re after new discoveries, you should probably be adding Aussie trio Blusher to your must-see lists. With unfiltered lyrics, dreamy synths, and thick basslines, they’re the kind of act that becomes brilliantly addictive at record speed. Highly recommended.
Zahara, 9:00pm, Friday 12th May
TGE Beach Stage, 2:10pm, Saturday 13th May

English Teacher

A band that should by now need no introduction, fast-rising faves and Dork regulars English Teacher are unmissable on their way to indie stardom. We’re delighted to have them pop up on Dork’s stage at Horatio’s this weekend.
Horatio’s, 10:15pm, Thursday 11th May
Fabrica, 3:30pm, Friday 12th May
The Old Market, 7:15pm Friday 12th May

Lime Garden

Photo credit: Indy Brewer

Brighton locals Lime Garden have already appeared on every tips list going; their hometown set at The Great Escape is a banker for a good time. Another highlight of our Horatio’s showcase, they’ll make your brain fizz in the best possible way.
Horatio’s, 11:15pm, Thursday 11th May

Nieve Ella

She’s already scored one of our Hype playlist digital covers, so pretty obviously we think Nieve Ella is a supreme talent. With more than one ear worm packed into her Great Escape travel bag, there’s something about Nieve that suggests big things are more a matter of if than when.
Amazon New Music Stage, 5.30pm, Thursday 11th May
Revenge, 3.30pm, Friday 12th May

Coach Party

Photo credit: Patrick Gunning

They’ve just announced their debut album, and are set to celebrate by headlining our Saturday showcase with label Chess Club – things are looking very exciting for Coach Party. No shock, either. A fuzzy, fizzy, scrappy quartet with massive songs and even bigger momentum, they’re one of the best new bands in the UK right now.
The MVT Stage, 4:30pm, Thursday 11th May
Komedia Basement, 1:25pm, Friday 12th May
The Arch, 9:30pm, Saturday 13th May

Slaney Bay

Photo Credit: Rory Dunn

London-based trio Slaney Bay pen coming-of-age tunes that explore the hardships of growing up. Their debut EP, ‘A Life Worth Living’, is out now, and comes highly Dork recommended. So much so, they’re opening up our stage at Horatio’s on Thursday. Big tick.
Horatio’s, 7:15pm, Thursday 11th May

SOFY

Photo credit: Bonnie Ophelia

Just added to the Chess Club x Dork showcase at The Arch on Saturday, SOFY played her first live show at 100 Club, and within a year was packing out a tent at Glastonbury. That’s talent for you. She’s been on the FIFA soundtrack, is played extensively on Radio 1, and has been called “the most promising new artist in the UK”. Not bad, huh?
The Arch, 7:30pm, Saturday 13th May

Fizz

Just trust us, yeah? You can do that?
SHOOSHH, 9.30pm, Thursday 11th May

The Great Escape takes place across various Brighton venues from 10th May to 13th May 2023. You can find the full line-up – and timings – on their website now. Start planning!