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Alan Morrison: Showcasing Scotland at The Great Escape 2017

Alan Morrison at The Great Escape Scottish networking event

Following the publication of a short overview of our recent support for music, our Head of Music Alan Morrison, reflects on a busy few days of Scottish Showcases and Scottish Networking at The Great Escape music festival in Brighton...

"Sometimes I really do like to be beside the seaside. But if it's Brighton in May, with The Great Escape in full flow and the rain pouring from the sky, then the famous beach and pier have to take second place to the bands on offer in venues scattered right across the town centre.

"This is one of Europe’s leading festivals of new and emerging music, and it’s a fantastic opportunity to present Scotland’s best up-and-coming acts to key figures in the UK and international industry – the bookers, agents, managers, labels and programmers who can take a young band’s career up to the next level.

TeenCanteen perform at Showcasing Scotland

"This year eight Scottish acts came to Brighton to play two days of Scottish Showcases supported by Creative Scotland at the Brighthelm, right in the buzzing heart of the festival. We had great attendance over both afternoons and some really positive feedback about the bands. Personally, I was really proud of the diversity on offer: from the punch and swagger of The LaFontaines to the sparkling retro harmonies of TeenCanteen, the edgy grime of Shogun to the jagged jangle of Spinning Coin, the honey-and-sand soulfulness of Emme Woods to the surf-guitar dynamics of The Van T’s, the big anthemic choruses of Saint PHNX to the tight electro pop of Be Charlotte.

Be Charlotte performs at Showcasing Scotland

"Some of the bands were able to get direct access to the industry players early on the Thursday evening at a Scottish Networking event hosted by Wide Days, in conjunction with Creative Scotland, at the Old Ship Hotel. The lure of the Scottish talent, coupled with the promise of a whisky tasting in the atmospheric old smugglers’ cellars beneath the hotel, ensured a huge turnout for what has quickly become the talking-point party of the week with over 300 delegates from more than 20 countries signed up to attend. It was massively encouraging to see such genuine interest and excitement about the Scottish music scene from all over the world.

Spinning Coin perform at Showcasing Scotland

"The Wide Days connection is an important one. Be Charlotte and and The Van T’s played the Edinburgh-based music convention in 2016; Emme Woods fast-tracked here from the 2017 event. If there’s one thing I'll take away from The Great Escape this year, it's that a clear route is emerging whereby Creative Scotland can help progress bands from a domestic showcase to a major national event that then, hopefully, opens doors to the rest of the world.

The Wide Days Scottish networking event at The Great Escape

"All that industry strategy stuff aside, my first Great Escape was a blast – a chance to get to know the acts better on a personal level and be proud of the brilliant music we’re making in Scotland. The beach will just have to wait."

Photo Gallery

    View even more of Jannica Honey's brilliant photos from Showcasing Scotland and the Scottish Networking event at The Great Escape on our Flickr account.  

    Find out more about Showcasing Scotland at The Great Escape 2017.