In what felt like the blink of an eye, the last day of this year’s Great Escape was here.

It was a Saturday drenched in sunshine with thousands of people passing through the city streets, buskers on what felt like every corner, and an excitement in the air that you could almost taste.

The Argus: A group of friends who had come from Australia for the festivalA group of friends who had come from Australia for the festival (Image: Andrew Gardner / The Argus)

In one of the lulls of the Saturday we needed a pick-me-up, and so scrolling through the schedule we noticed Brighton’s own “pop rock star” Daniel Wakeford was playing in Jubilee Square, so headed down.

Daniel, based in Brighton, describes himself as a singer-songwriter from the UK’s burgeoning learning disabled music scene.

He has shot to popularity in recent years and become a city celebrity, which was evident at the number of people who turned out to see him. The place was at capacity and it was absolutely bouncing.

The Argus: Daniel WakefordDaniel Wakeford (Image: Andrew Gardner / The Argus)

Daniel’s brand of ecstatic pop is superb and he drew the best crowd of the weekend. If you get the chance to see him, do.

By now, the sun was dipping below the horizon and the atmosphere changed, we were in for a big night of dancing and dirty beats with PVA at Chalk.

The group were initially at the forefront of South London’s indie scene but have since transformed into what could be called dance punk.

Their sound of synth electro is infectious and intoxicating, and deserved far more than the half hour slot they were given.

The Argus: PVA at ChalkPVA at Chalk (Image: Andrew Gardner / The Argus)

It did feel more like a club night than going to see a band, though, with people wandering about and chatting through the tunes. That’s not to say they weren’t into it, more a reflection on genre.

There was just 15 minutes between throwing some questionable shapes to PVA and sitting down in for the folk ballads of Paris Paloma.

It was extraordinary and for us really captured the range and variety of what The Great Escape had to offer.

Unitarian Church was the perfect venue for Paloma, and you could hear a pin drop when she began to perform.

The Argus: Paris PalomaParis Paloma (Image: Andrew Gardner / The Argus)

Blending dark pop, folk and indie, Paloma is in some ways a poet more than a songwriter - her lyrics on womanhood, grief and death are powerful and “what comes first” before the melodies, she said.

Paloma shot to fame with her song Labour, which went viral on TikTok before it had even been released. It now has more than 30 million streams on Spotify.

It’s a real anthem and it was a privilege to hear the songwriter belt it out in what was a cathartic climax for an incredible few days of live music.

READ MORE: Brighton council fails to collect recycling at Stanmer Heights

But not before one last treat. Arlo Parks at the Dome, who was tipped as the next big thing in 2019 when she first played in the city. And needless to say, she was.

Arlo is all about sharing her experiences as she navigates the world around her.

From relationship troubles, to finding your place in the world - the Dome was a “safe space to cry, hold hands, or do whatever you need.”

The Argus: Arlo ParksArlo Parks (Image: Mike Burnell)
Her emotive lyrics and warm cinematic sound struck a chord with many of us and was truly the perfect end to the weekend.

And so, we reached the end of our outing at The Great Escape. Running between venues and squeezing down the front. Sweaty, intense shows and calm, seated ones. Such variety just minutes apart and truly something for everyone. What a week.

Bring on Great Escape 2024.