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On Thursday 18th May, ACM students took to the stage at the Alternative Escape Festival in Brighton.

Eleven carefully chosen ACM student and alumni acts took over two stages and played to a packed-out North Laine Brewhouse as part of The Alternative Escape, the official series of showcases that take place alongside the core programme at The Great Escape Festival. 

Curated by our Head of Artist Development and Creative Output, Kieron Pepper, the evening featured performances from China BearsBellevue DaysFøxe, July Jones, Katy Hurt, Let’s Swim Get Swimming, Looms, Minisalt, Tyrell TreyUHURU, and headliners Blackwaters, who near enough lifted the roof off.
The venue featured two stages, and, thanks to the swift organisation of the ACM technical services team, each act started at almost the exact moment that the previous artist had wrapped up.

Lets swim get swimmingLet’s Swim, Get Swimming kicked things off on the main stage with their unique blend of progressive grooves and math-rock, followed by a fiery, polished set from country singer and ACM alumna Katy Hurt on the second stage.

Interspersed with excellent DJ sets from Minisalt, Føxe took things up a notch with their loud and brash indie-pop anthems. Following swiftly after them were ones-to-watch UHURU, who, despite the short set times, really got the crowd moving.

July Jones took to the main stage with an air of supreme confidence and professionalism, and had the whole crowd engaged throughout her set.

July Jones

The evening was a great opportunity to show the diversity of genres thriving at ACM, and the lineup was a perfect example of this, with Looms‘ subtle set of nuanced rap providing a great contrast to the pop tunes that preceded it and followed it.

China Bears put on an indie-rock showcase for their set, setting off a steady rise in volume towards the headliner of the night, with the exception of a soulful and well-delivered set from Tyrell Trey.

Blackwaters liveBellevue Days got the crowd in the mood for more noise with their heavy brand of alt-rock and ‘sludge pop’, warming everyone up nicely for headliners Blackwaters, who the night really belonged to. With a typical #TGE crowd of musicians, music lovers, and various levels of the music industry, the band had an excellent opportunity to make an impression, and they made it count, tearing through a set of punk anthems.

I am immensely proud of our acts and technical crew last night. ACM’s professionalism and musical diversity shone through; attracting record labels, management companies and promoters in from a choice of amazing gigs happening throughout The Great Escape’s opening night  – many stayed for several acts. I can’t wait to see the footage – there were some truly stellar moments.
Kieron Pepper, Head of Artist Development & Creative Output, ACM

Echoing Kieron’s thoughts, we are continually impressed by the fantastic output, great determination, and wonderful attitude of all of the artists at ACM. The showcase was a great taster of what these artists have to offer, and proved that they are as deserving of the music industry’s attention as any other artists across the lineup of The Great Escape Festival.

If you want to get real-world experience, learn from the best, and kickstart your music career, please call our Admissions Team on 01483 500 841 or visit to book a place on an ACM Open Day today.

Open Days