The Great Escape Conference Announces First Speakers and Key Content Themes

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Speakers Include: Lauren Mayberry (Chvrches), Sacha Lord (Ntia) and ‘They Think It’s All Sober’ Podcast


Steve Strange Award Returns

Partner Panels, Networking and New Saturday Ticket

Wednesday 28 February 2024 – Today The Great Escape is delighted to announce the content themes and first guest speakers for its newly revamped conference, including Lauren Mayberry (CHVRCHES), Sacha Lord (NTIA) and the ‘They Think It’s All Sober’ podcast. The UK-leading event will return to Brighton this year from Wednesday 15 May to Saturday 18 May 2024.

This year the all-new The Great Escape conference is going directly to the music industry’s top leaders and experts to create a reinvigorated vision for its programming. Going in-depth on all the specialist areas for a modern music professional, The Council of Music Makers, The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), BBC Introducing and Youth Music are each curating a day, bringing in the best experts and thought leaders from their networks across the industry to ensure the iconic conference covers more knowledge areas in greater depth than ever before.

On Thursday 16 th May, the Council of Music Makers, the umbrella organisation representing the Ivors Academy, FAC, MMF, MPG and the MU, will cover key areas for anyone working in the business of music creation. This will include: streaming remuneration, the challenges of getting credited and paid for music, touring sustainability and how artists can build and manage a team.

On Friday 17 th May, The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) will provide a deep dive into the night time economy and current the state of play for venues and live entertainment, with sessions including: ‘Global Perspectives and Approaches to Night Time Economy and Culture’, ‘Creating Safe Queer Spaces: The Importance of Inclusive Safeguarding’, and ‘The Empowerment of Youth and the Crisis of Political Faith’.

On Saturday 18 th May, BBC Introducing and Youth Music will focus on professional development for the next generation of emerging artists and entrepreneurs, covering: how to secure funding, management and being manager-ready, small budget marketing for artists, and the ins & outs of the BBC Introducing platform.

Saturday will also feature partner panels hosted by AudioActive, an organisation creating social change through music, and educational event platform THEFUTUREIS. 

For those that are new to the industry, The Great Escape has launched a brand-new, affordably priced Saturday Conference Only ticket for just £35, plus a Saturday Conference & Festival Combo ticket for £75.


Lauren Mayberry, lead singer of the Scottish band CHVRCHES, is the first guest speaker to be announced this year. Lauren is an activist and singer-songwriter who has several top 10 albums under her belt with CHVRCHES. Having now launched two singles as part of her first ever solo venture, she will be heading to the Great Escape conference to discuss details of the “fun, freaky, sad, weird, joyful pop playground” she’s creating as a solo artist.

Sacha Lord is the Chair of the NTIA, co-creator of Parklife Festival and the Warehouse Project and Night Time Economy Adviser for Greater Manchester. Highlighting the importance of the UK’s fifth biggest industry, he will be interviewed live on stage to address the unique concerns of the night time economy. The talk will come shortly after the publication of his new book “Tales of the Dancefloor”, a love letter to the city and dance floors of Manchester.

The They Think It’s All Sober podcast will record a live episode with creators Jamie Osman and Tom Hollings in conversation with a high-profile guest, discussing their journey of sobriety and what helped them along the way. Previous podcast guests include Matt Willis (Busted) and RØRY among many others.

More speakers and the first keynote sessions will be announced next month.


The Great Escape is pleased to confirm the return of the popular Steve Strange Award for its third year. Introduced in honour of the late live agent and co-founder of X-Ray Touring Steve Strange, the award recognises a music act that is breaking through creative boundaries in the music industry, with the recipient of the prestigious award receiving a cash prize of £5,000. In 2023, the prize went to Italian post-punk quintet MILANOSPORT. This year’s winner will be revealed on Monday 20th May following the event in Brighton.


In the second room, The Great Escape’s partners will be host panels, including: TikTok x Ticketmaster, The Spanish Wave, Audio Network, BPI, Pollstar, and Music Declares Emergency.

As always, the event will provide one of the best opportunities of the year to make industry contacts, with a huge range of networking events being held by: Audio Network, Sounds Australia, AWAL, BIMM, BPI, FUGA, Music from Ireland, Northern Alliance, Qobuz, Creative Scotland, Sentric, SESAC. Sounds From Spain, Sounds Swedish, The Orchard, Ticketmaster New Music, UD, VEVO, Wasserman, WME and Live Nation.

Delegate tickets and conference-only tickets are available now.


Rory Bett, CEO, MAMA Festivals said: “We’re incredibly excited for how this brand-new evolution of The Great Escape conference is shaping up. By bringing in some of the industry’s biggest and best networks and experts to develop the event, the scope of what’s going to be covered is more in depth and bigger and better than ever. This is the UK’s number one event for networking and getting ahead in the music industry like you’ve never seen it before.”

Michael Kill, CEO, Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) said: “The Great Escape holds a significant place in the cultural calendar, and the NTIA feels immensely privileged and humbled to be chosen as a partner.”

Daniel Williams, Engagement Director, Youth Music said: “We’re really excited to be joining forces with the Great Escape Festival conference this year. Youth Music is committed to levelling the playing field for young people in music, and this is a great place to do that. We’ll be curating a creative mix of opportunities to hear from experts across marketing, management, funding, and more, to empower emerging artists with the knowledge needed to thrive in this rapidly changing industry.”

Annabella Coldrick, Chief Executive, Music Managers Forum (MMF) said: “Along with other member organisations in the Council Of Music Makers, the MMF is part of a united front that wants to create a more equitable music business. Historically, The Great Escape has been a launchpad for our advocacy work, such as our Dissecting The Digital Dollar publications, and we look forward to hosting some positive and forward-thinking discussions this May.

Kelly Betts, Editor, BBC Introducing said: “BBC Introducing are excited to return to The Great Escape where we will host three showcases at the Paganini Ballroom. We are looking forward to bring the best new talent with support from BBC Asian Network, 1Xtra, and 6 Music. New for this year, Introducing will also be curating a panel as part of The Great Escape’s brilliant day time conference.”





For further information about The Great Escape and FIRST FIFTY please contact:


Henry Oliver | [email protected]


Cate McGivern | [email protected] 

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