The final day dawned over the Brighton skyline and weariness was replaced by excitement as, after a reasonable lie in, the day's festivities began. Talks ranged from discussing the potential of exploring the Indian market, through to the issues facing indie record labels in 2010.
At the same time as delegates were feverishly enjoying widening their knowledge of the UK music industry, the Aussies were celebrating their heritage down at Digital with a barbecue! Rammed to capacity, this seafront venue was transformed for the day into a hub of the best new Australian talent whilst offering up a free and tasty barbecue to ravenous festival goers outside. Highlights of the line-up appeared to be the bizarrely named Hungry Kids of Hungary and the chic but electrifying Teenagersintokyo.
Finishing up the conference in style was the keynote discussion between Garry Mulholland and the man known for having documented the best and the worst of some of music's biggest names, Mr. Nick Kent. Spewing out wisdom about the drug habits of the Rolling Stones and what it's like to live with the formidable form of Chrissie Hynde, the advice that may stick with many of the audience members is to never trust Iggy Pop when he dyes his hair blonde.
After that tasty morsel of A-List gossip dishing which, let's face it, most of the audience were practically drooling for, there seemed like no better way to prepare oneself for the evening's headliners and hedonism than by stopping by the British Party, hosted by UK Trade & Investment. As the last of the free food and drink was hoovered up, delegates took one last chance to schmooze with the movers and shakers - the ones that were left at any rate - before gearing up for one final night of mayhem and music.
From 7:30pm onwards, the choice of tempting artists on offer was almost unbearable. Katzenjammer were brightening up The Brighton Coalition with their peculiar brand of cheery Norwegian folk; think Dolly Parton meets Eurovision. Simultaneously, at the Dome, SBTRKT was getting the crowd revved up for a night of sweaty, beat heavy dancing.
Down the road in the awkwardly placed, but pleasantly atmospheric, Concorde 2, The 29th Chapter were keeping the torch burning for the future of British hip-hop. Though still slightly uncomfortable in their own skin, they seemed to have the basics down and the potential to grow into their own style as they evolve.
Unusual to see, but exciting, was the ensemble atmosphere that The 29th Chapter created. With four MCs, an impressive female vocalist and backing band, there was no sense of egotistical friction but instead a beautiful spirit of holding each other up and mutual creation. Similarly, they engendered a feel of community and fun-loving in the audience, interacting with the gig goers by free-styling on whatever items they could produce from their pockets and bags.
Over in the Dome, Unicorn Kid followed up SBTRKT, bringing the crowd to an almost feverish pitch in anticipation of Chase & Status with his Scottish, 8-bit wonderment. Wearing bizarre headgear and loving the crowd up with his glorious gameboy magic, it was a pleasure to see a dj onstage clearly loving his artform and really putting in the effort to please the punters.
After an excruciatingly long wait, the lights finally came up on a stage remarkable for the impressive drum kit, circling overhead as well as below, the huge screen that would be used later on to enhance the performance and, more than anything, the baying crowd below, desperate in their aching desire for a thumping bassline from the drum and bass legends, Chase & Status. They weren't to be disappointed.
'Pieces' featuring Plan B, killed it on the dance floor as did 'Streetlife' featuring Takura Tendayi. Part of the spectacle was the overbearing presence of the guest artists on the big screen looming behind Chase & Status and creating, as someone in the crowd exclaimed, a sense of an interactive music video. Notable for its absence in the set was the More Than A lot hit 'Against All Odds', although it apparently appeared in the sound check.
For those who didn't have to catch the last train out of town, the rest of the night was bursting with headline talent such as Broken Social Scene, Marina & The Diamonds and the 90s' 'Brimful of Asha' favourites Cornershop. From 9:30pm till 11pm, a soulful MC straight out of Brooklyn, Theophilus London took over Horatios at the end of Brighton Pier and brought some of that New York neo-soul flavour to a festival primarily dominated by indie kids.
Finally, finishing off the festival in a tragically short set, from 1am till 1:30am, Groove Armada played The Corn Exchange. For those who had waited all weekend for the dance legends, the precious 30 mins would only have been sufficient to squeeze in five, or six, tunes at most, from their extensive back catalogue. However, no doubt the club faithful were out in force.
Three days, several gallons of Relentless and Red Stripe, a truckload of free barbecue and countless bands later, The Great Escape 2010 came to a close for another year. Memories of cold, frenzied treks up and down hills and the headaches that came the morning after might fade, but what will stay embedded in everyone's mind will be the ridiculous wealth of musical talent abounding this year and the hope for a renewed and thriving UK music industry in 2010.