The Great Escape - Day Two (14/05/2010)

Laura Bruneau | Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The Great Escape - Day Two (14/05/2010)

Wiping the sleep from your eyes and scrubbing the remnants of some God awful concoctions from your breath, day two of The Great Escape began cold, slightly hungover but deliciously sunny. Schlepping up the road to the conference venues, there was just about time for a coffee and a deep breath of sea air before it was time to dive straight back in.

Starting off with the big guns, the first session of the day was a keynote conversation with Francis Keeling, VP of Digital for Universal Music. Digital was a hotly contested topic over the three days, both praised for its opening up of the market and intuitive accessibility and cursed for its contribution to piracy and file sharing. Given its centrality, it was exciting to hear from one of the most important players that in the future digital will play a huge role in major labels' agendas.

Another highlight of the conference schedule was The Future of Music Radio debate, where panelists including BBC 6 Music's Matt Everitt and Drowned in Sound's Sean Adams discussed matters such as the potential demise of digital radio, why we've spent so much money on the failure that is DAB, and whether or not the world still needs a bit of John Peel?

Incredulous as it might seem that anyone would ever not need John Peel in their life, however posthumously, the panel, packed with names such as John Kennedy (xfm) and Stefan Baumschlager (Last.fm), conducted an interesting an often contentious discussion about the future of how we consume music over the airwaves.

Wrapping up the day of conference talks was a panel of music's most bold, brash and Brit-poppy writers. John Harris, author of 'The Last Party: Britpop, Blair and the Demise of English Rock', was joined by the A&R man who traded in a debauched lifestyle in the music industry in order to write novels about it; yes, none other than Glasgow's own John Niven. Chaired by author and journalist Garry Mulholland, they took a trip back through the drug-fuelled days of the 90s and discussed the highs and the lows of the phenomena of Britpop and the scene that emerged in its wake.

Friday was a day for the international crowd to shine, as seen through industry events hosted by the French Music Export Office in the Dome Foyer and Ja Ja Ja's Nordic Pre Party in the cosy confines of the Queens Hotel's Sandringham Suite. Championing a vast array of international talent, these parties, along with various showcases, made the globally diverse presence at the festival highly visible.

Underrated, though dazzling, headliner Seun Kuti dominated the Dome stage from 8-10pm and, no doubt, would have provided the perfect start to any music enthusiast's evening. People raved about Delphic the next morning over coffee, cigarettes and an attempt to stop their brains spilling out of their ears and they seemed to have been the real highlight of the night. Playing at the Corn Exchange until just past midnight, even Cinderella would have risked staying out to catch the end of such a widely hyped set!