Being at Europe’s leading festival for new Music from May 8th - 11th 2019 was humbling in many ways for myself and other British Council Delegates. It’s during that week of the festival that every corner of Brighton and Hove was flooded with professionals within the Music Industry/business. It could be an Artist Manager, Promoter, Tour operator, Record label Manager, Festival programmer, Music market programmer, Musician, Producer, Composer, Music Teacher, Legislator, and the list is endless.
Imagine a city with five hundred acts (mark you that figure doesn’t include the Band members) showcasing at the festival and numerous Musicians playing off festival gigs in various bars, restaurants, records stores and the likes. It’s in such an environment that one never stops to discover amazing Artists that could bless the Alkebulan continent with their amazing Art through collaborations and staging various shows.
In these Brexit times, we need Art especially Music to unify our people and make the world a better place. Many have always made jokes or even unknowingly been serious about the Alkebulan/African continent being viewed as a country but how about we actually unite in Music, seize the borders with our creative collaborations and make Africa and the rest of the world ‘A country’. It’s a dream. Right?
While at the festival, one gets to not only enjoy amazing young and old, budding and experienced new Artists performing their best sets ever, they (attending) get to learn about new Music that they might not have experienced before and they also get a chance to interact with the Artists once they are off stage. Did I mention I and Stormzy enjoying fries in the same space on one of the nights? Yes, we did and that shows you the magic that such festivals create.
Besides attending the Music Education conference, The Great Escape & CMU – Complete Music Update Conferences and the DIY sessions, it was great meeting and discussing collaborations, exchanges and partnerships with various Managers, Programmers, Festival organizers and the Artists as well. I should also mention that finding time to sit down with various MAMA Festivals Programmers including those that scout and programme new content in the various venues during The Great Escape was a huge moment as I got to know how they secure and maintain relationships with the many venues in Brighton & Hove that they work with during the festival, how they discover the new Musicians that are programmed, what the journey has been so far for them and their interests in Ugandan & the rest of East African Music/content.
How does one end such a memorable Journey without massively thanking the British Council Uganda and UK for availing this great opportunity! Thank you a lot.
A word to Ugandan and East African Creatives, there is already engagement with various connections that were created during the festival to see how we can collectively bridge the Artistic gap between the UK and East Africa through exchanges, collaborations and various bookings both in East Africa, UK and Europe at large.
by Herman Kabubi
Herman Kabubi was part of the British Council international delegation for the Great Escape Festival
British Council East Africa Arts is committed to connecting creatives across East Africa and with the UK. We believe these connections allow: new art to make; new skills to be shared; and new networks to be created.
The Great Escape | 08 - 11 May 2019
The Great Escape Festival has been firmly established internationally as the leading event for showcasing new music across a range of genres. Taking place in Brighton over three days in May, The Great Escape kick-starts the summer festival season, introducing 16,000 music lovers to the key artists and sounds of the year. With over 300 bands playing in 30 venues over three days, The Great Escape is a key date in the UK music calendar, and a key opportunity to see emerging UK talent.