Live Zone

The Great Escape Festival, Brighton: Saturday 18th May 2024 – Day # 3 Of 3…

Deja $



The final day of The Great Escape Festival 2024 in Brighton is here after two cracking days – and a few bits and bobs on Wednesday – and it goes out with a bang, with a sizzling array of bands and artists kicking off in the AM and live music still going until the early hours.

After a bit of a setback when more than 100 acts pulled out in protest of Barclaycard’s TGE sponsorship, and the bank’s investment business with arms firms who sell to Israel amid the terrible situation in Gaza, most of the gaps were quickly filled by the organisers with replacement bands and artists stepping in to save the day.

Ruby J £

The very well organised live music –  99% of shows running bang on time – went ahead without a hitch, with many hundreds of gigs in more than 30 venues and the free entry fringe on top –  plus the conference side of TGE, with VIP guest speakers. Attracting many thousands of music fans to flock to the East Sussex seaside town from around the world.

Ruby J £

The eclectic lineup was top notch and included some big names – such as Suede legend Bernard Butler, Chvrches star Lauren Mayberry, the band Wunderhorse, and US singer and songwriter Faye Webster – and many rising stars – such as the amazing 18-year-old future star Ruby J. More about her later….

It was also an opportunity for many overseas acts to come here for a showcase. Countries represented including the US, Canada, Austria, Australia, Hungary, Spain, Ireland and Northern Ireland, New Zealand, Sweden, Netherlands, Japan (Tokyo), Germany, Wales, Scotland and many areas of the UK, such as a showcase for Yorkshire-based acts.

TGE is very focused on brand new artists and bands getting their first taste of festival crowds – a bit like the UK’s answer to Texas’ annual SXSW.


So without further ado, we bring you this gallery of superb images of our choice of the best and most interesting acts from Saturday’s gigs across many different stages and venues, plus some exclusive photo shoots.

Our super snappers Manja Williams and Alex Asprey played a blinder, and ran their legs off around the various venues across the festival over three days to bring you some superb photographs – including many exclusives.  Bravo.

  • TGE 2025 dates have just been announced: 14th to 17th May 2024.



Photos: Manja Williams [ Marked $ ] & Alex Asprey [ Marked £ ]

Words: Emma Ledwell





Day # 3  Saturday – TGE 2024


What can we say about Ruby J? The teenage sensation from the Midlands of the UK has a voice to stop traffic.

Think Rebecca Ferguson, Amy Winehouse and Nina Simone, with a bit of Brooke Combe thrown in; then forget them and just know that this kid is a one-off.

Singer, songwriter and guitarist, her set at The Hope & Ruin at 7pm on the final day of this year’s Great Escape Festival in Brighton was the very best performance of the day for us – AND…..

Ruby J gets our vote for the best act of the entire festival. If she isn’t a big star in the next few years, we may as well give up!


Born in 2005, singer and songwriter and recording artist Ruby J fuses multiple genres with her own unique style. In 2020 Paloma Faith said: “Ruby J is that unique voice”.

2022 saw Ruby J make her major UK festival debut at The Isle Of Wight Festival and then Manchester’s biggest multi-venue indoor Festival, “Neighbourhood”, and in March 2023 she toured with The Lathums. Ruby has also supported The K’s , Red Rum Club and has shared the stage with Liverpudlian folk rock legend Jamie Webster.

Ruby J £

Her unique tone has led to early bold comparisons to Amy Winehouse, Macy Gray and even Tina Turner [not sure about that last one!] among others. Her vocal influences include Billie Holiday and Paolo Nutini.

Inspired to pick up a guitar at 13 by listening to the likes of Tash Sultana and Arctic Monkeys among others, now the 18-year-old Ruby has honed her skills and stage craft, and her live show is an emotional experience as soon as she opens her mouth and THAT voice comes out.

She is steadily gaining traction on radio, including Radio X, Amazing Radio, XS Manchester and BBC introducing Midlands. At The Great Escape she brought her full band with her, and word had got obviously out how flipping good she was, when the venue was rammed well before she kicked off the first song. Her set on Saturday night was just perfect, and if you only get to see one artist or band live this year, do yourself a solid and go see Ms Ruby J.

Gob-smackingly good. A very d0wn to earth soul with huge likeability on stage and off; her feet firmly on the ground and a very wise head on young shoulders when it comes to her career. Ruby Ruby Ruby…watch her go go go!



Battlesnake £

Most bonkers act of the festival, especially visually, must go to Australia’s Battlesnakes. At TGE Beach, The Deep End, looking like a scene from Monty Python’s “Holy Grail”, the  band wore white robes similar to a priest or Bishop, with gold trimming – and the totally crackers lead singer had a hat with gold horns. A photographer’s dream gig shoot.

Their set was high energy, great fun and musically they are no drongos (Google it!). But asking a few of the audience there to describe this lot in one word, “Bonkers” was the unanimous decision. The Deep End’s big marquee was pretty full with 400+ turning up to catch this zany crew in action.

Battlesnake $


The “cult metal septet” formed in 2018 played very loud heavy rock and apart from the nutty side of it, all of ’em know their stuff as musicians. [The guitarist on the Flying V guitar is a bit of a doppelganger for the late and the great Frank Zappa!]



Their press blurb says: “With a powerful sound that can only be described as the genetically engineered cyborg super child of Queen, King Gizzard and Judas Priest, the band has quickly gained a reputation for their high-octane live performances and tongue in cheek theatrics.”


Battlesnake £


Battlesnake have self-produced seven releases. In 2022, they were stars of a music video in partnership with Xbox, for the game “Total War: Warhammer III”, and a performance supporting the legendary KISS.

At TGE 2024, the Aussie band were booked for a set on each of the three days: At Volks on Thursday night, at Chalk on Friday night and the one we caught at TGE beach – The Deep End at 3.30pm on Saturday.

We want to see these chaps back over here soon and we will go cover them in their own right. [P.S. I’ll have what they are drinking, please!!!]



Deja @ One Church…

Deja £


Deja, wearing the most eye-catching outfit aside from Battlesnake’s crazy attire, is new to me but really well worth checking out. She was singing and dancing to a backing track at One Church and her Afro meets pop blend is great.
Deja £

MOBO organisation recognised/tipped, Deja used to work under the name of Dee Ajay, but is  now Deja, and her fiery lyrics on top of “sticky pop/afro/r&b production” is a lovely ear full.

She is a consistently busy artist with a work ethic that’s noticed by industry and artists alike. Deja sings, she dances, she raps and all with an energy that is admirable.

Deja £



Ife Ogunjobi is part of the Mercury Prize and MOBO award-winning jazz and afro quintet, Ezra Collective, and is now heading in the right direction to become a big solo star in his own right. This gifted trumpeter delivered one of the best sets of the festival in his Jubilee Square stage set on Saturday at 9.30pm.

A melting pot of afrobeats, jazz, hip hop and more. A fabulous show bursting with energy and the packed crowd lapped it up.


Ife Ogunjobi $


London-raised musician born to Nigerian parents whose music is an amalgamation of the sounds around his upbringing. Influenced by the likes of Fela Kuti, Erykah Badu and Roy Hargrove.

Ife’s debut EP “Stay True” released September 14th 2023 is him authentically staying true to his roots and upbringing. Blending Fuji and Afrobeats influences from his Nigerian heritage with Jazz and Hip Hop elements that influenced his London upbringing.

One music critic labelled Ife as, “the UK’s Miles Davis meets Wynton Marsalis, Keyon Harrold, Christian Scott and South African legend Hugh Masekela”. Who said that? I did, right now just here! Yep, I know my jazz! And I know this guy has got it going on!!!




21-year-old Maya Lane is an artist we have been tipping for a couple of years now. Her Saturday night set at Komedia Studio was described as “sublime” by the Music Republic Magazine team who were there.

Maya is a singer-songwriter from South West London. “Emotionally mature beyond her years and a natural storyteller.” Her pop and country and folk style draws influences from the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Kacey Musgraves, HAIM and Joni Mitchell. Talking of Fleetwood Mac: Maya’s superb set included a lovely cover of The Chain.

A classy, skilful artist who had the room absolutely silent while she performed, and I can say that to a man (and woman) the audience loved her. We still say she will be a big star one day, if there is justice.

Maya Lane £



German hip hop / jazz duo Ferge x Fisherman were a hit at the Jubilee Square stage on Saturday early evening; with their full band along for the ride, after a packed house for their Friday slot at Patterns.

They are deeply influenced by jazz – the core of the outfit being rapper Fritz Fisherman, who forms the lyrical heart of the band and co-founder/producer Ferge.

The pair quickly formed a symbiosis with the jazz band Nujakasha, who have become an integral part of Ferge X Fisherman both in the studio and in live performances.


Ferge x Fisherman £


Their songs feature artists such as Mick Jenkins, Takuya Kuroda, Jerome Thomas, Black Milk or Noah Slee.

This magazine have been cheer leaders since 2020, and our rave review for their belting album “Blinded By The Neon”. The chaps sounding mighty at TGE 2024.



Australiana artist Keiynan Lonsdale on the TGE Beach – Pirate Studios stage on Saturday afternoon – after spots on day # 1 at Alphabet and on day # 2 at Komedia Basement.

Born in 1991 Keiynan got into music early, and then dance and acting. He is an award-winning entertainer across film, TV, fashion and music,

Keiynan Lonsdale £



Jake Vaadeland with the Sturgeon River Boys was one of the most off-the-wall and unexpected acts of the festival for me, and brilliant. Saturday lunchtime at the Green Door Store, part of Canada House showcasing a variety of exciting Canadian artists. A real buzz in the air. He also had slots at Jubilee Square stage on Friday and a second set on Saturday at Komedia Studio at 11.15pm.

Jake is a self-taught multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter from Saskatchewan. His slick bluegrass and country swing blended with a sprinkling of rockabilly amid a high energy performance was very well received. The boys looked superb too. Like a flashback to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville in the 50s.


Jake Vaadeland $


Jake on guitar and banjo in addition to his impressive vocals. His songs have a focus on storytelling and messages that he hopes his audience can relate to, all packaged in foot stomping, high energy performances with The Sturgeon River Boys.


In 2022 he received two Saskatchewan Music Awards including Album of the Year for “Everybody But Me”, along with the Folk/Roots Artist of the Year. In addition, he earned four Saskatchewan Country Music Awards, including Fans Choice Entertainer of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Alternative Country Album of the Year and Emerging Artist of the Year.His album, “Retro Man” finished at # two in fan-voting for the Best Saskatchewan Albums of 2021.


Jake Vaadeland $


Lots of buskers on the streets of Brighton across the festival and some draw big crowds – some are as good as the acts on the festival. One of those was local band The Grass Museum.

Cool stuff and they know how to hold the attention of an audience. Metal meets rock meets punk meets thrash…and a pretty unique sound. If I had my own record label seeking fresh talent with potential to do well, these would be signed tomorrow.


Buskers The Grass Museum $



Luvcat £


The marketing stuff on Luvcat at TGE says: “Born in Liverpool with a longing for mischief, Luvcat ran away with a Parisian circus on the eve of her sixteenth birthday. There she became a magician’s assistant for many years; in feathers, silks and sequins. After a tragic trick gone wrong, Luvcat performed a final disappearing act, fleeing on a train through the ocean to the heart of London and slinking back into society.”


Luvcat £


Not sure how much of that is true, but one fact I do know is Luvcat were well worth a visit to Komedia Studio on  Saturday night. Inspired by “the dark, playful romance” of Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave and The Cure, Luvcat began penning songs of “her travels and all the lovers and libertines she met along the way.”


Luvcat £



Luvcat £



This magazine hugely admires UK singer, songwriter and guitarist Rosie Frater-Taylor and we adore her smashing album “Featherweight”, which dropped in February via Cooking Vinyl.

“Featherweight” is the follow-up to her three million-streamed debut “Bloom”, and heads in a new musical direction, blending alt-rock, pop, folk and jazz and exploring themes including self-reflection, anger and vulnerability.


Rosie Frater-Taylor £


We have been tipping Rosie for big things for some time; as does a guitarist who knows a thing or two about the fretboard,  Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page who praises Rosie’s unique style.

She played a sizzling set at The Tempest Inn on Friday night joined by bassist and drummer, and a second show solo at Komedia Studio on Saturday.


Rosie Frater-Taylor £


“Jazz chops, indie spirit” Rosie Frater-Taylor is widely regarded as a virtuoso guitarist and a vocalist with a powerful emotional range and depth. Her music blurs the boundaries between rock, alt pop, neo soul, new-school jazz and folk.

Drawing influence from Joni Mitchell, PJ Harvey and Kate Bush, to the rockier roster – where John Mayer, Meshell Ndegeocello and Madison Cunningham hold court.

WE SAY: She gets better. We caught her sizzling sold out Omeara show in London not long ago, and now her two spots at TGE 2024 in Brighton. Go see Rosie soon because she really is unique and a real breath of fresh air. “Featherweight” is brilliant. Look out for our interview with RFT coming soon…




Vox Rea @ The Prince Albert Saturday night. Green Door Store [Canada House showcase) Thursday afternoon.

Canada’s Vox Rea features Kate Kurdyak (lead vocals/piano/guitar/violin) and Lauren Kurdyak (vocals/piano/percussion). The two sisters released their debut album, “To Bring You My Heart” in 2017 under the name “The Katherines.” The album garnered more than a million spins on Spotify with songs featured on major playlists. Their songs were also featured on TV shows Orphan Black, Reboot, and The Order.

Vox Rea $


After a hiatus to study philosophy in the mountains, the band resurfaced under the moniker, Vox Rea, in late 2020. The new name’s intentional ambiguity allowed for an identity beyond the stereotype of being labelled a “girl-band” and represents the reclamation of their creative control. Every part of the project – the music, the image, and the message – is created by the band.

The two sisters worked closely on their self-titled album with best friend Kaitlyn Hansen-Boucher and Berklee-alum Mitchell Schaumberg. They also co-directed and produced their music videos and a short film with longtime collaborator Lon Gross. Their innovative and successful merchandise line was made in partnership with Dutch-artist Maud van Baar de Knegt and they have worked closely with a number of local brands including a beer collaboration with Field House Brewing and campaigns for Huha, Charlie Beads and Lost Goodz. 

Vox Rea $


Citing influences that range from Florence and the Machine to Friedrich Nietzsche, the sibling-duo draws inspiration from a mix of nostalgia for times past and “life in a modern day world in turmoil.”




Ruby Ruby Ruby….. Our fave act of day # three and our fave act of the whole festival. Ruby J. What a voice, what a talent. One song and you’ll be hooked.


Ruby J £



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Photos: Manja Williams [ Marked $ ] & Alex Asprey [ Marked £ ]

Words: Emma Ledwell





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