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The keynote speakers for this year’s live music industry conference The Great Escape have been announced, including Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker and Warner Music UK EVP Darcus Beese OBE.

Also speaking at MAMA Festivals’ event include Tom Gray and YolanDa Brown OBE DL, chairs of the Ivors Academy and BPI respectively. 

They join previously announced speakers including Lauren Mayberry, the lead singer of CHVRCHES, and Sacha Lord, chair of the NTIA, co-creator of Parklife Festival and the Warehouse Project and Night Time Economy Adviser for Greater Manchester. 

At the Brighton event on 18 May, Cocker will present his climate-themed talk ‘Biophobia’ (as previously seen at GEI in February), presented by Brian Eno’s charity EarthPercent. 

Giving the conference’s opening keynote conversation on 15 May, Darcus Beese OBE will reflect on his career as the UK’s first black record company CEO and one of the most successful A&Rs of his generation, having signed and nurtured venerated artists such as Amy Winehouse, U2 and Florence and the Machine. The conversation will come soon after the publication of his upcoming memoir ‘Rebel With A Cause’.   

Providing one of the keynote conversations on 16 May, which is curated by conference collaborator The Council of Music Makers, will be Tom Gray, chair of the Ivors Academy and Labour Party PPC for Brighton Pavilion, and YolanDa Brown OBE DL, musician, broadcaster and chair of the BPI.

The session will cover what the industry needs to do to protect music copyright and culture on a legislative level.       

The Association of Independent Music (AIM) has joined as the revamped conference’s newest industry collaborator, representing the independent music sector with three sessions taking place on the beach on the opening day. 

MAMA Festivals CEO Rory Bett said, “From cultural icons to industry legends, our revamped conference has truly been supercharged with the calibre of these keynote speakers. Without a doubt, this is set to be an unmissable event for the UK industry.” 

Further speakers are to join the event’s schedule, which will feature experts from organisations such as EarthPercent, Music Support, BBC Asion Network, BBC Introducing, PPL, PRS for Music, AIM, NTE Advisor Bristol, Kuvo, DJ Monitor, GAY Times, Inferno, THE FUTURE IS, AudioActive and AWAL.  

The Great Escape Conference will take place from 15–18 May in Brighton.