One thing you notice walking around Brighton whilst TGE is on is that it has a very different vibe to other festivals but at the same time feels familiar. When walking down the street you still see groups of indie kids stumbling towards you clutching cans of Strongbow Dark Fruit. At Bestival, however, mud and tents would accompany this sight but at TGE Poundland and buses provide the backdrop. The fact that TGE is located in a seaside town is both a blessing and a curse depending on how you look at it.
When I sat down to chat with Juliette from The Big Moon she told me that she’d been thinking how nice it is that it’s not a normal festival; unlike most British festivals (after hours of it raining cats and dogs ) we weren’t having the conversation in a bog. It’s not the only upside Juliette pointed out – bands are a lot closer to their audience at TGE, which is always a good thing. Normally at festivals it feels like crowd and band are light-years apart but most of the venues at TGE give a much more intimate vibe.
TGE, for better or worse, is definitely a more intense experience then your average festival. The traffic, the hen parties and the bleak architecture feel a million miles away from the fields of Glastonbury on a sunny afternoon. Emily from Tusks, who I interviewed on the sunny Thursday afternoon in the idyllic grounds of the Pavilion, thinks that it’s this intenseness that makes TGE so great. According to Emily there’s nothing buzzier, you’ve just got to throw yourself into the madness of the festival and you can love it as much as she does. The particularly vibrant vibe that TGE has feels like a big part of its appeal for both bands and punters. When I met up with INHEAVEN, they were predicting that the general buzz of the festival was going to translate into a very rowdy set, which, to them and many other bands, is the best kind of set.
The guys from Dilly Dally discussed their music and politics as passionately as they discussed chips. Katie Monks (vocalist/guitarist) described her love of certain types of music, as the way she loves McDonalds – something that makes you happy, despite it being shoved into your whole life and sold to you. Once the conversation turned onto politics in their music, Katie told me that a really fucking good song is something that’s real and adds something powerful to the conversation but is fun at the same time. Dilly Dally has got all that in there and can even be for the “idiots who don’t care”.
When I joined Dean from Muncie Girls in a piss and rain soaked doorway somewhere behind the haunt, he spoke in a similar way, discussing how politics always runs throughout their music, just not necessarily on surface. Dilly Dally and Muncie Girls are both bands that have a real talent for putting politics in their music without it sounding preachy – it’s the reason that both bands are as impressive as they are.
Throughout my time at the festival I found that politics was a hot topic, especially in songwriting. We have a new generation of politically minded, clever and talented bands emerging. It was very encouraging to see so many congregating, for what surely now must be considered one of the highlights of the musical year, in the lively seaside town. Brighton is a very fitting place to hold a festival showcasing a new generation of talent; it’s vibrancy, its chips and its music make for a great escape indeed.