‘Home or Away?’

The Great Escape

The Great Escape

With festival tickets now on sale, we re-visit the ever-present question of ‘should I stay or should I go?’ To help us answer this question we have compared two of Europe’s best-established alternative music festivals, one close to home and one ever so slightly further away; Belgium’s Dour Festival and Brighton’s very own The Great Escape.

The Great Escape Festival is statistically Europe’s biggest festival for new alternative music.

Being in the city it screams that homegrown feel and is a chance for Brighton’s residents to get out and about like never before; an experience that should not be missed.

The festival takes place annually over the second weekend in May, cramming the two days accordingly.

Coinciding with the Brighton Fringe Festival, the weekend really showcases the true Brightonian spirit as visitors from all over the world descend upon its winding laines and pebbled shores. Nearly every venue in the city is involved making the visitors experience the city to the rafters and beyond.

There are two different types of tickets available for the weekend: the delegate pass, and the normal day or weekend tickets.

The delegate pass adds certain types of privileges to the ticket holder. They have the option to go to Panels, Programming Workshops and ‘Social Networking Events’. The weekend ticket is something for the masses rather than the music industry boff, it’s purely gigs, the sweaty atmosphere the ringing eardrums, the bliss.

Belgium is perhaps best known for high-end chocolate, Hercule  Poirot and more recently, premiership footballers. But for those of you more interested in the music scene than in confectionary, sport and impeccably styled moustaches, Belgium also has on offer one of Europe’s biggest alternative music festivals.

Dour Festival

Dour Festival

Dour festival began in 1989 and since then has showcased thousands of artists from fledgling groups to global superstars. Described as having: “[…] the interesting combo of a few big alternative bands, plenty of hip-hop and a large slathering of excellent DJs and electronic acts, all contained within a green field festival site which you can easily drive to from the UK”, Dour 2013 played host to Amon Tobin, Aba Shanti I, Flying Lotus, Jurassic 5 and Wu-Tang clan, to name but a few.

Emerging from comparatively humble roots, Dour has grown from a one-day, one-stage affair to a four day festival which sees an annual attendance of around 150,00 people who have previously flocked to see such international musical giants as Blur, The Ramones and Public Enemy.

With a plentiful supply of varied and excellent music, good company and free flowing Belgian beer all just a road trip away, the question that begs to be asked is not whether Dour is a good choice for next year’s music festival, but why haven’t you booked your ticket yet?

Words By Mat Smith & Vivien Cohen


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