9-11 July 2021
Welcome to Brainchild Festival, our three day festival celebrating creativity, bold ideas & DIY spirit at a peer-to-peer level.
We connect and stitch together the collectives, communities and creative projects that inspire us into a program of live music, jam sessions, spoken word, DJ sets, talks, workshops, film, theatre and installation art.
The festival is not-for-profit and was started by a group of friends in their first year of university, growing organically every year since. It is now a celebration and gathering of an ever-growing network of creative people, with a capacity of 3000 people. Artists, crew and festival-goers camp together, with no VIP areas on site.
Across the weekend, we create opportunities for valuable conversations, exchanges and collaborations and welcome everybody to get involved. Built up by friends of friends over the years, the atmosphere is warm, open and relaxed. Brainchild is the perfect place to let your guard down, try things out and discover new wonders.
Winners of the AIM Award for Best Independent Festival 2015 & 2016 ?
★★★★ - The Independent
Tickets for Brainchild Festival 2021 are now on sale! Whilst we sadly can’t see into the future, we are working very hard to plan for different scenarios so we can adapt to bring you a safe & beautiful festival this Summer. In the meantime, your ticket money will be held securely with The TicketSellers and if we do end up having to cancel due to Covid-19, you will be offered a refund or the chance to roll your ticket over. So there’s nothing to be lost in booking something irrefutably gorgeous into your diaries.
Please be assured that we will take all reasonable steps to comply with any relevant guidelines intended to reduce the spread of Covid-19, and that people’s safety will be our number one priority. We will make you aware of what measures will be in place at the festival as soon as we possibly can.
We’d also like to say a huge thank you to everyone who rolled their ticket over to 2021, or who partially donated theirs to help us survive this year or gave to our Crowdfunder. It’s been an incredibly rough ride for us financially and we’ve only survived thanks to the kindness and support of this community. If you are still interested in making a donation, please check out our Donation page.
Join the crew! Brainchild is a festival that’s run on the goodwill and hard work of lots of amazing individuals. If you’d like to help us make the weekend happen, then volunteering over the festival is a great way to do it.
As part of the volunteer team, you will see the festival from the inside. The volunteers at Brainchild are fundamental to its success, helping to make sure things are ticking over and doing a variety of jobs, from bar work to catering, ticketing and lots more in between. Every year we’ve met some of the most generous and spirited people on the volunteering team – read on for more info.
How it works:
– Over the weekend, you will help out for 12 hours split up into 3 shifts so you still have lots of time to explore the festival and party. Plus, if you volunteer with a friend, just let us know and we’ll do our best to put you on shift together.
– All volunteers will need to be on site from Thursday evening for a briefing and to be given their rotas. You will also need to be on site until your shifts are complete which might be Sunday night or Monday morning.
– After the festival, when you’ve done your shifts, half of your ticket-price will be refunded to you.
We are about building a thriving & inclusive community for emerging artists and audiences to take their ideas forward. Across six different performance spaces, we celebrate DIY spirit & bold ideas in theatre, poetry, live music, dance music, talks, workshops, film & visual art.
Over the years, hundreds of amazing artists have come to try stuff out with us in the Brainchild fields, including some now well known trailblazers like Ross From Friends, Alice Phoebe Lou, Kojey Radical, Nubya Garcia, Moses Boyd, PECS Drag Kings & Ezra Collective. Our first lineup release is coming in February 2021.
Applications to performa are OPEN! Check out the application form.
Photography: Hollie Fernando
What’s Brainchild all about?
Brainchild set out to connect people in a way that larger festivals can’t, nurturing collaboration on a personal level. We started planning the first festival in January 2012, when, amidst endless arts cuts, we wanted to show each other that realising our creative ambitions was still possible.
Now, against a lot of odds, and through the continued enthusiasm, generosity, hard-work and talents of hundreds of people, we’ve run seven festivals. After six years as an entirely volunteer team, we are now able to offer paid festival production work and are still brand-sponsor free, with a focus on retaining an affordable ticket-price.
We do not have a bookings ‘policy’: we focus on connecting music & art across art-forms that have a shared energy and intention, bringing together people who share an open-mindedness and a collaborative approach. We look for work that challenges broken paradigms and shares visions for more sustainable and compassionate societies globally.
Our aim is for everyone who is part of Brainchild to come away feeling inspired, having made new friends, discovered amazing new work and developed their own creativity. So all over site, there are opportunities to perform and get involved.
Where is the festival and how do I get there?
We’re running in the fields and woods of Bentley Wildfowl and Motor Museum in East Sussex. There is even a mini railway to take you on a tour round the site!
Our site address:
Bentley Wildfowl & Motor Museum,
Getting here by train: Nearest stations are Uckfield and Lewes. Uckfield is closer to site than Lewes, although both stations are the same distance from London (roughly 70 minutes). Brighton to Lewes is 15 minutes.
There will be a minibus service from Uckfield and Lewes train stations, meeting the trains as they arrive. Tickets for these will be available from one month before the festival. Please note that minibuses tickets the Monday morning are sold on a first come first serve basis.
We always encourage festival-goers to reduce their carbon footprint, so if you want to make some new friends then lift-sharing your way to the festival may be a good idea. After the success of last year’s, we’ve made another Lift-Sharing Group, join it here. Car park passes are available with our main tickets The Ticket Sellers.
I can’t come anymore, can I refund or sell my ticket on?
Unless the event is cancelled or postponed, Brainchild Festival tickets are non-refundable.
However, you can amend the attendee name & contact on your ticket by logging into your TicketSellers account. All e-tickets will be sent to the email address of the account holder, the person who originally purchased the tickets – this email address cannot be amended.
All e-tickets will be sent out via email on 28th June 2021, beyond this point you cannot change the attendee names associated with tickets. All attendee names on tickets will be cross-referenced against ID (driver’s license or passport) at gates upon entry to the festival.
The TicketSellers (TTS) are our sole ticket agent. No other body other is officially authorised to sell tickets. As above, you can make these changes to the names associated with a particular ticket purchase at your own discretion, but any financial arrangements in this exchange are undertaken at your own risk. In efforts to prevent ticket touting, if we learn of tickets being ‘re-sold’ above the price they were originally purchased at, we reserve the right to cancel that ticket with no obligation whatsoever to refund.
What’s on the festival site?
The festival site is made up of a main field, two camping fields and some woodlands. In addition to our performances areas & festival stages, there’ll be many art-installations and architectural pieces to explore.
The Kiosk is our on site shop where we sell all the wonderful things made by the artists and makers in the Brainchild networks. Stop by and browse through everything from records to books, DIY zines or hand-made bras or vintage clothes. There is also an opportunity to charge your phone but bring your charger!
What’s the deal with camping?
We’ve got a big campsite spreading over 2 fields adjoining the main festival area, so none of the hours of walking that you have to do at big festivals! Everybody camps together, there’s no VIP camping. All you need to do is bring your tent. Please note that campfires are not allowed at the festival.
For the first time, we will be introducing Camper Van pitches to the festival in 2021. Please stay tuned for more information on this coming out soon.
What should I bring with me?
Essentials: your ticket and some valid ID. Brainchild is an 18+ festival and you will need this and your ticket to get your wristband and gain entry. There is not a cash point on site so if you wish to carry cash bring it with you, but all the vendors have card machines.
Please do bring: things that will help you gain from the festival, so notebooks, yoga mats, cameras, instruments for the jams…
Please don’t bring any glass, fireworks or illegal substances. We have a zero tolerance approach to illegal drugs and psychoactive substances. Unfortunately, we can’t be responsible for anything hanging from trees, such as silks or hammocks as they are not covered in our insurance.
Alcohol: Per person, alcohol is limited to either: a 70cl bottle of spirits OR one crate of beer/cider/ale (12 cans) OR 1.5L of wine. Alcohol can only be brought in on first entry and must be decanted out of glass receptacles into plastic.
Is the festival family friendly?
Sadly not. Brainchild is an 18+ festival, so we can’t have children on site.
How accessible is your site for people with disabilities?
We are committed to supporting you in coming to Brainchild. Free Personal Assistant (PA) adult tickets are available for attendees with PIP, DLA middle or higher rate allowances, CredAbility Access Card, evidence of being registered severely sight impaired and a recognised Assistance Dog ID Card.
Please don’t worry if you do not have any of these things and still require support – it’s best to speak with us directly about your requirements so we can make the best possible arrangements for you. Please email us on email@example.com.
When does the festival start and finish?
Gates open at 12:00 on Friday 9th July, with acts beginning shortly afterwards – the sooner you can get on site the better!
Details of main-gate opening hours during the festival will be published on here nearer the time.
It’s definitely worth staying the whole weekend because things are still in full flow Sunday day and night time. All guests need to have vacated the site by noon on Monday 12th July.
How might Covid affect the festival?
This is the million dollar question we know will be on many of your minds to ask us. We wish we could tell you with certainty the exact ways in which live events in July may be altered, however at this stage, we cannot and it could be potentially misleading for us to go into detail on any one particular strategy.
Please be assured that we will take all reasonable steps to comply with any relevant guidelines intended to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and that we will only be running Brainchild if it is safe to do so. We will make you aware of these measures in advance of the festival dates.
We also promise to be transparent with you and publish updates on our plans and any changes we’re making when it is sensible to do so. If in the meantime you want to discuss any of this or have a specific question, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get In Touch
For job opportunities, volunteering & artist submissions for our events or the festival, please head to our Get Involved page.
If you would like to be included on the Brainchild Media List (to receive our press releases) please contact email@example.com
For general enquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org