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'It only stops when I sleep': We chat to The Great Escape's organiser ahead of Festival's 10th Birthday Edition

  • By Art. Author Avatar
  • 31 March 2015

An interview with The Great Escape Festival Organiser, Adam Ryan.

The Great Escape is the gateway to the British festival season. It is Europe's Leading Festival for new music.

It is the perfect opportunity for the industry and music fans to head to the sunny port of liberalism and clear their heads. With the best emerging groups on show and some of the world's most exciting acts, it's certainly not a vacation: this is a chance to realise exactly what ambience is driving our music scene ahead of the hectic summer.

So, ahead of this, The Great Escape's 10th Birthday Year (and celebration, they'll have you know!), we spoke with the festival's organiser, Adam Ryan. We chatted with Adam about the thought and themes behind the lineup, how unsigned bands can get involved, and how it feels being the bastion of hope for new and emerging bands.

How much of an idea do you have of whom you want at the festival before you’ve actually reached out to any artists?

I go to see as much live music as possible throughout the year so I do have some ideas when I start booking the festival around November. Since The Great Escape’s focus is on new music, it’s important to leave room for more last minute bookings whilst still having a strong foundation for the line-up come April. I talk to a wide range of people to secure the best emerging talent throughout the year - Agents, Bloggers, Managers and AnR scouts are all key people I work with.

Do you try and book as part of grander theme? If so, what were your thoughts behind last year's lineup? And what can we expect from 2015?  

The only theme of The Great Escape is to champion and showcase the very best emerging artists. It doesn’t matter what genre or what kind of music they are making. Every year I go in with a completely open mind – it’s what the festival goers come for, too, the huge mix of sounds on offer.


The lineup that Adam Ryan has been working so hard on...

Is there anybody you’ve been dying to get to TGE that just hasn’t worked out thus far?

There are a few names I am chasing – sometimes it just doesn’t work with touring. I’m still in the process of finalising the 2015 line-up and in pursuit of a couple, so can’t name any names just yet.

How much time can you dedicate to sifting through unsigned artists?

I enjoy discovering and listening to music and all of my time is dedicated to that. I’m pretty boring to talk to if you don’t like music or going to gigs. All of it. It only stops when I am sleeping.

What is the best way for an unsigned band who doesn’t have a label or a booking agent to get on the bill for TGE 2015?

You can apply to play – applications for next year’s festival open in Autumn. We listen to everything that comes in because we know that how much representation an artist has doesn’t necessarily correlate with talent. We are passionate about supporting new artists.

The Great Escape 2015 will take place on 14th – 16th May 2015, learn more about the festival or buy tickets through this link.



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