8-10 July 2022
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 2500 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 & Travel
Brainchild Festival 2022 tickets will be on sale in November 2021, so please stay tuned & subscribe to our mailing list for updates.
Our lineup for 2022 is currently cooking, so watch this space! We’ll make our first announcement in early Spring.
Hundreds of brilliant artists, collectives & activists have taken part in Brainchild so far, including some now well-known trailblazers like Ross From Friends, Alice Phoebe Lou, Kojey Radical, Nubya Garcia, Moses Boyd, PECS Drag Kings & Ezra Collective.
If you’d like to perform or bring your idea to Brainchild, please apply via our submissions form which will be opening in December.
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). The Uckfield line is also cheaper! Brighton to Lewes is 15 minutes.
We are running minibuses from Lewes and Uckfield train stations to the festival site. These will be running at a reduced capacity and it is essential that you book in advance. If you just turn up and try to book a ticket on the day, we cannot guarantee you will be able to board, and you could be waiting for several hours to do so. Please see the different minibus times and book your ticket here. All minibuses tickets are open return tickets, so you don’t have to worry about booking a particular time for your return trip to the station.
We normally encourage festival-goers to reduce their carbon footprint and look into lift-sharing to the festival may be a good idea (and we have a Facebook group set up for it). However, in the Covid-19 era, we aren’t currently advising this as the best way of getting to site and urge everyone to be cautious in their decision making.
Driving to Brainchild All cars must have Car Park Passes to use the Car Park. These are available here at the bottom of the minibus times/tickets.
Cycling to Brainchild We’re sorry to say that we’re unable to offer the Cycling Trip this year. We fully intend for this to be back next year, but very sadly due to the reduced staff working on Brainchild through the year we’ve not been able to invest the time in planning this operation this time.
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.
June 2021 Update: The festival is sold out, so we have reopened the refund & resale, waiting list system. If you can’t come anymore, write to firstname.lastname@example.org with your Order ID and request a refund. If they can find a buyer for your ticket(s) on the Waiting List, they will sell your tickets on to them and refund you in full. Please note the deadline for this is Wednesday 4th August at 1pm.
The TicketSellers (TTS) are our sole ticket agent, no other body other is officially authorised to sell tickets. 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 to refund.
It is also possible to amend the attendee name & contact on your ticket by logging into your TicketSellers account, but you can only do this once. 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 and the deadline for this editing ticket-holder details is the Sunday 25th July at midnight. All e-tickets will be sent out via email on 26th July 2021. All attendee names on tickets will be cross-referenced against ID (driver’s license or passport) at gates upon entry to the festival.
This means that you can make changes to the names associated with a particular ticket but you do so only at your own discretion, and any financial arrangements in this exchange are undertaken at your own risk. We strongly discourage you to enter into an arrangement with somebody you do not know personally.
I can’t see my e-ticket in my inbox, where is it?
The names on my tickets don’t match who’s going to use them, what should I do?
In general, we do require the name on a ticket to match the ID of the person using it. However, we can make an allowance if your name does not match the name on your ticket, if you’re able to show evidence that it’s really yours. We suggest the original TicketSellers account holder who will have received the e-tickets via email, forwards the e-ticket to the new recipient, with a line confirming the sale & attaching a picture of their photo ID. The photo ID needs to match the name on the ticket that is being taken by the new recipient. We will not accept a text or facebook message as proof of this. We ask for this in order to protect everyone against scammers.We will also make an allowance if you are arriving with the person whose name is on the ticket (e.g. if somebody bought tickets for a group and their names on all of the tickets). If you’re not arriving together and they can’t come to the gate, then we’ll need to see an email from them (including their ID) confirming that the ticket is for you. It’s really important that you have this information ready when you get to the front of the queue (alongside evidence of your negative lateral flow result & your photo ID), so that you don’t hold up the queue.
What is the Crowd Cover Scheme?
The Crowd Cover scheme is our only way to continue producing the festival in 2021, because the government have refused to back COVID-19 specific insurance. We’re asking everyone who has tickets for Brainchild Festival 2021 to agree to new terms that mean only half of their ticket will be refundable in the event of a COVID-19 cancellation, and the other half is a non-refundable ‘Crowd Cover Pledge’.
This is our way of entering into a transparent understanding with you that if a COVID curveball forced us to cancel late in the day, we would only be able to refund half of your money, given that the other half will have already been spent on essential deposits & pre-event work.
All existing ticket-holders have been emailed instructions for how to sign up or to request a refund – the deadline for this has now passed (23rd May) and your selection is final. Any tickets available after this point are sold on these new terms, and anyone purchasing must explicitly opt into the Crowd Cover Pledge.
What’s on the festival site?
The festival site is made up of a main field, adjoining camping fields and beautiful woodland that houses our dance music stage & architectural commission The Shack. In addition to our performances areas & festival stages, there’ll be many art-installations and architectural pieces to explore.
The Brainstage & Kite Bar are our main live music spaces, and the Forum and Den are our main arts spaces (hosting theatre, workshops, film, discussions, poetry, comedy and everything in between). The Minty Cabin is our new space for this year hosting a mixture of stuff from intimate workshops to poetry showcases, live music and jam sessions each night – a space for really emerging artists to take the reins. In the campsite we’ve got our amazing chums the Lemon Lounge with their gorgeous big top & geodome bringing you crafty workshops, inspirational talks & DJ sets, and in the main field we’ve also got PPL PWR back to tell us all about the latest in renewable energies and sustainability.
Nestled near the Minty Cabin is the Wellbeing space, a sober space with very relaxed programming for you to read, relax, nap or just cool down and feel safe. There’ll always be a special Wellbeing volunteer there on hand to talk to if you feel like you need a pick-me-up or some dedicated help 🙂
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 & campervans?
We’ve got a big campsite spreading over the 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.
We’re sorry to say that though we had hoped we’d be able to accommodate campervans this year (for the first time!), sadly this won’t be possible. You can still drive to the festival in your van and use the Car Park with a Car Parking Pass (you don’t need a special kind of pass) but will not be allowed sleep in your vehicle overnight.
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.
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 6th August, 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 9th August.
How has Covid changed the entry procedure?
To enter site, everybody must show evidence of a negative lateral or PCR flow test taken upto 48h before arrival (but ideally as close to arrival as possible). Everybody must take this test, even if you’ve had Covid before and if you’ve been double vaccinated. Lateral Flow Tests are (currently!) free to get from the NHS/Gov
website or from a local pharmacy.
To evidence your negative test result at the checkpoint you must present:
1. The text and/or email you’re sent by the NHS after you log your test result online.
2. Your photo ID
3. A photograph of your negative test.
You must not come to the festival if you have tested positive or you are required to self-isolate, or if you or someone you live with has symptoms. Believe us, we know how disappointing this will be, but please consider others and their situations and know that you will be refunded in full if you can evidence this. If this applies to you, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please be aware that we will NOT be providing tests for your use at the entry gate if you have forgotten. It is essential that you remember to take these tests at home prior to travelling
How will Covid & Covid safety change the festival?
Keeping Safe & Looking After Each Other
Even though we’ll all have had to show negative tests before entering, it’s really important we remain mindful of Covid safety and Covid anxiety while we’re at the festival together.
As a general rule, you will not be required to socially distance or wear masks at the festival.
However, please wear your mask if you want to, or if you are asked to. We all have different situations & boundaries and it’s vital that these are respected. We really encourage you to make those kinds of requests of each other if you want to – please don’t feel embarrassed or like you’re being a party-pooper. You’re really not, it’s important we take this seriously and look after each other.
Please be aware people may also wish to maintain more of a distance and touch less than normal, so it’s good to be mindful of this and try not to make assumptions.
We ask you to please make good use of the hand washing and sanitising stations available throughout the site. Please use the products made available to help sanitise toilets before (and even after) you use them. Please respect others and don’t remove these items from their areas.
Crucially, if you or anyone in your group develops cold-like or Covid symptoms, please make sure you go to the Medical Tent for attention as soon as possible. Anybody (and this applies to artists & crew too) who tests positive during the festival will have to return home and self-isolate. We know how awful that would be, but it’s for everyone’ safety, and we’ll find ways to treat you to different Brainchild experiences in the future!
Brainchild Production & Staff
Mask Wearing & Testing: All our staff will be wearing masks when on duty, and in advance of coming to site will have had to have had a PCR test.
Cleaning: We’ve hired a team of professionals to maintain sanitised touchpoints throughout the festival, and our technical team are managing the safe swapping & sanitation of all equipment.
Ventilation: We’ve had to open up the sides for a lot of our indoor performance spaces (e.g. The Forum) to improve ventilation.
Bar & Catering: All bar cups will be single use and will be sent away for washing (and future re-use) after the festival. This means they’re all mostly hired in, and are non-Brainchild cups (which we’re trying to be grown up about but actually makes us quite sad!). We’ve also got lots of new traders this year because many of our regulars aren’t still trading after the past 16 months, so please give them a warm welcome.
Expect the Unexpected (Please Bear With Us!)
We’re bracing ourselves for the possibility of no shows from artists who are ill or have to self isolate. This is also likely to happen to crew, and we can foresee many logistical challenges on the ground. These instances are tragic but it’s completely out of our hands, and we really hope you will understand and bear with us if this happens – either with last minute changes to the programme or with things that may be short-staffed.
I can’t come any more because I have Covid symptoms, or I’ve tested positive for Covid or I have to self isolate, what should I do?
We are so sorry to lose you but yes this does sadly mean you will not be able to come to Brainchild this year. Please email email@example.com with the details of your situation and we’ll ask you for the evidence we need and advise on getting refunded.
Get In Touch
For job opportunities, volunteering & artist submissions for our events or the festival, please head to our Get Involved page.
If you’re a catering company or food stall and are interested in trading at Brainchild Festival please fill out this initial form.
If you would like to be included on the Brainchild Media List (to receive our press releases) please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For general enquiries email email@example.com
We’ve opened up a Community Feedback survey for the Black people & People of Colour in our community to tell us about their experiences of Brainchild. It’s totally anonymous and we welcome responses any time through the year. We really appreciate the feedback, and the findings so far have gone directly to inform the changes we’re enacting within our organisation. So if you have something you’d like to tell us about – good or bad – please tell us. We promise it will be read, digested & acted on. Head here to see the Community Feedback survey.