Festival 2018

13-15 July

East Sussex


Welcome to Brainchild Festival, our three day festival celebrating the DIY spirit, art, music and ideas of the people around us.

We connect and stitch together the collectives, communities and creative projects that inspire us throughout the year into a program of live music, jam sessions, spoken word, DJ sets, talks, workshops, film, theatre and installation art.

The festival is entirely volunteer-powered and not-for-profit. It is a meeting of minds – an intimate size of 2000 people, with artists, crew and festival-goers all camping together and no VIP areas on site. We push important conversations and interdisciplinary art to the forefront 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 amazing artists. We hope that you will find something you love this year.

Winners of the AIM Award for Best Independent Festival 2015 & 2016!

★★★★ - The Independent

Festival Tickets




Every year, over 300 artists contribute their work and ideas, be they art installations, led discussions or DJ sets. So far, we’ve been lucky enough to work with artists including PECS Drag Kings, Kojey Radical, Nubya Garcia, Vanessa Kisuule, Dego (2000Black), Ross From Friends, Caleb Femi, Ezra Collective, Joshua Idehen, The Comet is Coming, Loyle Carner, Moses Boyd Exodus, Alice Phoebe Lou and hundreds of other brilliant people.

Stay tuned for the final few announcements for our 2018 festival programme in the coming few weeks!



2U4U are not your prototypical hip-hop collective. The group’s original members ATMA and My Rugema met in school, bonded over the intricacies of music production. They spent their free time crafting beats they imagined would alter the hip-hop landscape.

On Rugema’s return from Hong Kong, producer Ranbir, ATMA’s older brother, secured the group’s first major breakthrough when his remix of A Tribe Called Quest’s “1nce Again”, as a tribute to Phife Dawg – which he aptly named “2U4U Remix” – was picked up and spun by BBC 1Xtra DJ Benji B.

For all this, Ranbir was adamant that 2U4U needed a second emcee to give the group another level of dynamism. My Rugema recommended his south London based friend cal – a concise lyricist drawing from his unique perspectives. Shortly after, he was enlisted by Ranbir and the group spent the spring and summer of 2016 working on a thematically-driven rap musical concept.

Following the release of their sonic thesis ‘Kings of Africa’, it piqued interest from publications Dummy Mag and The 405. The release of ‘Home’ garnered attention from XL Recordings, being added to their infamous XL PLAY playlist on Spotify and Apple Music. The breakthrough came with the first single from their upcoming Butter EP, titled ‘Fall’ – the song immediately picked up traction by its inclusion on Spotify’s Alternative Hip Hop playlist, also being spun by Jamz Supernova on BBC Radio 1Xtra.



30/70 is a cosmic mélange of boom-bap dynamics, neo-soul harmonies and jazz-funk licks, all steeped in a deep spiritual tradition. Despite their influences coming from across the pacific, the 30/70 sound is unmistakably Melbourne and for anyone admiring the scene from afar, it would seem fair to wonder if there was something in the water.


Theatre and Spoken Word

‘Shall We Take This Outside?’ by Adam Kammerling

A unique and visceral fusion of spoken word, rap and dance, ‘Shall We Take This Outside’ explores male aggression, and how it fails young men, grown up men, and the whole world.

Drawing on extensive research and autobiographical experience, ‘Shall We Take This Outside’ shines a light on the shadowy world of aggression, taking in themes as far reaching as Homer’s Iliad, fourth wave feminism, and Frosties.

The piece has been developed with the support of Arts Council England, the Albany Theatre and Apples And Snakes.

Performed by Adam Kammerling, Jacob Smart & Si Rawlinson.

twitter @adamkammerling


Theatre and Spoken Word

Aisling Towl

Aisling Towl is a poet and actress from South London. She is a dedicated napper, Frida Kahlo worshipper and lover of all types of Bread.

instagram: @aislingwlo

Aisling will be performing as a part of our Brainchild Spoken Word Showcase.




We first heard Lucinda sing as part of Nomad Soul at Brainchild in 2015 (check out their song together). A couple of years later, we were so excited to hear from Izzy Risk that Lucinda was in a new group called ALASKALASKA.

These guys create a thick and hazy atmosphere, veering through classic 90s sounds with vocal licks that will stick in your mind for days. In their own words:

ALASKALASKA are a 6 piece band that make music to make out to, and then cry about. They are in the marketplace, and sometimes in the mountains.”


Andwot & Alex Rita (Touching Bass)

Returning to Brainchild are Alex Rita and Andwot – the leading lights behind London’s Touching Bass: a movement of London-based soul disciples who hold down a biweekly NTS Radio residency, a regular discussion series at Brilliant Corners called Speaking In Sound and a monthly dance (communicated via texting service) among other creative endeavours.

Over the last three years, the latter has become a playground for soulful music of all kinds. As residents, Alex and Andwot (alongside the rest of the Touching Bass selectors), have cultivated a space for musical exploration where emphasis is firmly placed on dance and community above all. A space unbounded by genre and lead by feeling instead, with talented local selectors and heavyweights equally likely to grace the decks.

The pair have been slowly taking this approach across London and international dancefloors, with appearances at Dimensions (2016/2017), Sunfall (2017 after party) festivals. Plus multiple appearances at cultural institutions like the ICA and TATE Britain/Modern. All grounded by the intent to make listeners think and feel.




Ariwo are a London based Cuban/Iranian quartet, focussing on the unexplored intersection between electronic and afro-cuban music.

The word Ariwo means “Noise” in Yoruba. The name underlines the band’s emphasis on sound and its desire to combine traditional rhythms into a live electronic performance that challenges perceptions of ancestral music, and connects diverse cultures from around the world.


Ben Hauke

Longstanding Brainchild family, Ben is a South London-based producer, DJ and sonic experimenter. With him there is never a dull moment – he’s always finding new projects and sounds to explore, from beginning Woop Records to crafting sound-scapes to the short stories in our recent book THOUSAND.

With influences of house, broken beat and 90’s hip hop, his recent EP ‘First Takes‘ has been on constant play in at Brainchild HQ. Check it out and get ready for his set at The Shack this year. 

Theatre and Spoken Word


Come, join our community-based literary movement for established, young & emerging writers of all narratives – with a special interest in poetry & experimental writing from our featured poets & writers. For a chance on the open mic email bornfreejam@gmail.com with examples of your work.


Belinda Zhawi’s a Zimbabwean born writer, educator. Belinda was a 2015/16 London Laureate & the 2016/17 Institute of Contemporary Arts Associate Poet.  She’s co-founder & host of the bi-monthly poetry social, BORN:: FREE. She’s currently based in London, working on her debut pamphlet forthcoming in 2018 on ignitionpress.

The Line-up:

Bridget Minamore

Bridget Minamore is a poet and freelance journalist who writes about race, class, feminism, and pop culture. Her first pamphlet, Titanic, was published in May 2016 by Outspoken Press.

Brother Portrait

Brother Portrait is a writer/rhymer/artist – his words falling into form in poetry, prose, travel writing and music. He’s a believer in the importance of cultural production and archiving experience for understanding expression and sense of self. His album ‘navigate: in limbo’ explores concepts of identity and self in the shadow of daily struggles.

Cecilia Knapp

Cecilia Knapp is a writer, playwright and performer. Her commissions include the TATE, the V&A and the BBC and she has appeared in Vogue and Dazed magazines. Her first piece for theatre ‘Finding Home’ toured the UK for two years and is available in print, published by Burning Eye. Her latest play ‘Losing the Night’ will premier at the Roundhouse in June, her debut collection will be published by Burning Eye in November and she is writing her first novel.

Cecil B. Demented

Cecil is a member of Mad Vibe Collective alongside Slam the Poet, Footshooter, Wookz and others. He is a regular feature for the now disbanded Sumochief, they released a joint project in 2015 under the name the Audioters with Ragofoot and is now currently working on another joint tape with producer k3mp. As the band Debtford, he will be performing some acapella versions from their upcoming tape touching on class identity, gentrification and a personal hatred for estate agents landlords and bailiffs.

Arnold Chukwu

Arnold Chukwu is a writer, humourist, director and clarinet enthusiast from South London of Igbo Nigerian descent. As a writer/director he has had his work selected and screened at the ICA and the BFI. He is a remnant of OG Honor Oak Steez. Grew up in New Cross, South East London, the real south not the “gentrify ina London south” and “he low-key be writing bars.”

twitter: @bornfreeLDN

instagram: @bornfree.ldn


ComedyTheatre and Spoken Word

Brainchild Comedy Showcase

We’re bring together another wonderful bunch of emerging comics for a Friday festival chuckle – expect dazzling wit and songs.

Hosted by the effervescent Chloe Petts (2017 Funny Women Awards Finalist)

Olga Kokh (“Hugely charismatic” – Broadway Baby)

Kemah Bob

Stiff & Kitch (Adele is Younger Than Us: “A truly comic celebration of female quirkiness” ★★★★ – EdFringeReview)

Saba Husain

Joleed Farah

Talks / Workshops & Film

Build Your Own Book

BYOB at Brainchild this year! A playful bookbinding workshop that teaches you the ease of designing and stitching a sketchbook. Choose from a range of coloured papers, old and new, cut them into shapes, doodle on them and create a new custom sketchbook to use however you wish. Traditional saddle stitch and Japanese bookbinding will be taught and all tools are provided!

Insta & Facebook: @buildyourownbook


Burnout is Real

Ellie Stamp is a human, artist and activist. They use their participatory art practice to question what is often deemed as ‘difficult’ and challenge historical and current narratives around mental health, queerness and feminism.

Stamp will hold space for a conversational workshop at Brainchild to share practical tools whilst asking questions like – Can we reassess what societies values, now please! How do we practice self care and still pay the bills? If self care doesn’t extend to collective care is all just capitalism? Why do some people get to call it burnout and others just have a breakdown? How can I state boundaries and stick to them without feeling shame? How can all of this be light and still have the weight it deserves? How can we see beyond binaries in our everyday thinking?

Theatre and Spoken Word

Cecilia Knapp

Cecilia Knapp is a writer, poet and playwright. She’s toured the UK and internationally, been featured in Dazed and Vogue and received commissions from the TATE and the BBC. Her debut collection will be released in November with Burning Eye Books and she is writing her first novel.

Cecilia will be hosting our Brainchild Spoken Word Showcase.

@ceciliaknapp (Twitter and Instagram)





CIRCA 2000

“The debut album from William Wiffen is a real homage to those early motorik records, arpeggios and sequenced rhythms aplenty. He glides through five tracks of Tangerine Dream/Cluster influenced electronics that also seem to draw from that Prins Thomas space disco sound” – Bleep.com

Talks / Workshops & Film

Consented: Rethinking Whiteness

Consented is a multimedia platform that publishes a quarterly magazine, hosts regular live panel discussions and workshops, as well as operating two school projects in South and East London. The aim of the project is to advance ideas and discussions about issues that rarely get mainstream attention, as well as taking these discussions to a bigger audience and to people who are not usually able to access them, which is the primary goal of the Consented Youth Project.

Consented will be presenting a workshop at Brainchild – ‘Rethinking Whiteness’. The aim of the workshop is to make people question what it means to be white through situating racial categories as social, rather than biological categories. We will ask participants to interrogate their own whiteness, consider who gets to be white and in what context, as well as asking participants to consider how they recreate the logic of race in their everyday lives.

Instagram and Twitter: @consenteduk





In his their own words: “Producer k3mp and rapper cecil b, combine trap house spoken word punk poetry in an attempt to create an awkward commentary on the ever changing state of Deptford, Lewisham and South East London, trying to navigate in an area that feels less and less like home.” Their work is introspective, powerful and unforgettable.


Talks / Workshops & Film

DIY Space for London

DIY Space For London will be bringing two wonderful workshops to Brainchild this year – an Eco-friendly Zine workshop and a Screen Printing workshop. Come get making with us.

DIY Space For London is a cooperatively-run social center in South London offering low-cost creative facilities, meeting rooms and social space. Run on a members’ club model, so everyone has an equal say, we work to promote mutual aid, cooperation and providing a welcoming space for everyone. DIY Space Print Collective aims to provide accessible screen-printing, risograph, lino, book-binding, and zine-making facilities for community use. It offers space to individual creative projects, provides print facilities to activists and community groups and runs regular workshops and skill-shares, introducing new people to the joys and skills of printing.

Twitter – @diyspace4london

FB – @printcollectivedsfl @DSFLondon

Instagram – @dsflprintcollective



DJ Ketosis

DJ Ketosis is the alias of a.h.h., a half Japanese producer whose enigmatic debut track ‘not yet’, recently opened Zaltan’s NTS show. In his DJ sets, he aims to bring together different styles in an attempt to capture the mysterious semiotic spark created when placing together fragments of music which are not typically associated, interrupting normal pattern-recognition.

Talks / Workshops & Film

Drawing on Disability: Life Drawing Workshop

Visibility of bodies with disabilities and hidden disabilities in the life drawing canon is poor and this workshop seeks to go a small way in addressing this.

Artist and Facilitator Charlotte CHW has a disability and is a life model, but has always been too afraid to disclose this when modeling and put herself through pain as a result.

She will guide drawers through a series of fun and experimental exercises in collaboration with 3 models that fully explore a variety of bodies. 



The Dylema Collective

The Dylema Collective is a poetry-music project with sounds combining Neo-Soul, Contemporary Jazz and floaty R&B carefully blended with a cross-over of Funk, Latin and poly-rhythmic grooves and spoken-word poetry. Thematically, their feminist poetry addresses head on matters of race, gender and individuality, values reiterated by the hidden message within their name’s acronym: “Do You. Let Every Man Adapt”. In short, they love sharing music and poetry that truly makes your brain and booty dance!


Elisa & Srigala

We are so excited to welcome these guys back to the festival. They’ve got a sound and a feel that we cannot wait to hear more of and share with as many folks as possible.

Childhood friends from Brixton, Elisa Imperilee and Srigala have been making music together since 2012, growing and developing their sound since. Their blend of hip hop/soul has a nostalgic and reflective tone that is bound to get your head nodding.

Released early 2017, their debut EP ‘1 o’clock club’ is an honest and self-aware reflection on experiences of love, loss and growing up. A heady blend of melodic, neo-soul vocals with a hip hop heritage, it’s a homage to the city that raised them, but also on a more personal level it’s a tribute to three friends who passed away in 2011.

Tipped by Lonely Table as up and coming artists to watch in 2017 the EP followed the release of ‘Differences’ which was selected by Gilles Peterson for ‘Brownswood Bubblers 12 Pt. 2’ with a successful release on vinyl. Following support from Thris TianBrownswood Recordings and Worldwide FM.

The end of 2017 found the duo supporting Loyle Carner on his UK tour, and to kick off 2018 they have released their new single, ‘Carefree’ check it out here.

Talks / Workshops & Film

Eliza Hopewell Plates Workshop

Explore and reimagine the nude in art through this plate painting workshop for just £5. Run by the incredible artist Eliza Hopewell (check out her plates online), come join us for some painting, get creative looking at the nude form and keep your beautiful new plate after!




Emma-Jean Thackray’s Walrus

Emma-Jean Thackray is an award winning composer, trumpeter and producer. She is currently part of the Red Bull Music Academy’s Class of 2016 and has recently received the Emerging Excellence award from Help Musicians. On top of this, Emma released one of the most exciting and unique jazz records of 2016, “Walrus”.

“Walrus” has been daily listening since we first heard it, and we thoroughly recommend you dive straight in, bop your head & dance around. Check out the amazing artwork too, by Jack Greeley Ward (his vimeo is here).

Theatre and Spoken Word

‘(even) HOTTER’ by Transgress

“People are more fixated on flesh than ever before in history” Ann (97)

(even) HOTTER are back with their crusade against embarrassment. Based on interviews with women and trans people aged 13 to 97, and devised by Mary Higgins and Ell Potter, this is a show about blushing, sweating, pinkness, and pleasure. The moments when our bodies give us away. About being embarrassed and embarrassing. About your body and being able to love it and laugh at it.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (Broadway Baby) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (A Younger Theatre) “Frequently funny, endearing frank” (Three Weeks)


We’re also giving you a chance to air your dirty laundry and share your good, bad, funny, awkward experiences in a led session exploring pleasure, pain, dysfunction and everything in between – with both the Hotter & Skin a Cat creative teams!

You’ll get to hear about how they gathered testimony and used real life stories in their honest and comic presentations of sex on stage.



Jam led by Cassie Kinoshi

London-based composer, arranger and alto saxophonist Cassie Kinoshi is known for her work with jazz septet NÉRIJA, Afrobeat band KOKOROKO and her own large ensemble SEED. This year she will be joining us at the festival to lead a jam, along with a new selection of musicians with her as part of the session. Open to all, the jam will be built with a central focus on supporting female musicians, creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable to jump up and get involved.


Footshooter (Live)

Footshooter is the production moniker of south-east London based producer, DJ and musician Barney Whittaker. His production style blends the rhythms of UK dance music with the melodic textures and instrumentation of jazz and soul, alongside vocals, rapping and poetry from some of London’s most compelling new artists.

His last release, Strange Days EP ( released on Famous Friends), has been well received, gaining regular plays on NTS, Balamii, WorldWide FM and, most recently, by Bonobo in a DJ set at his NYC Boiler Room. He has cut his teeth over the past few years performing live and Djing in support of the likes of Yussef Kamaal, Alfa Mist, Vels Trio, Andrew Ashong and Max Graef, as well as regularly performing at SE London night Steez. This will be his fourth year performing at Brainchild Festival.

His live set features extended, improvised versions of his tracks, with help from vocalists Izzy Risk, Brother Portrait, Slam The Poet & And Is Phi, as well as Vels Trio’s Jack Stephenson-Oliver on keys. The aim is to keep the live energy flowing through the music so that no two performances are the same.

Talks / Workshops & Film

gal-dem: selfcaresundays

gal-dem is a magazine and creative collective comprised of over 70 women and non-binary people of colour which launched in September 2015. Self-Care Sunday is our live event bringing our loved online series to life. Take care of yourself with gal-dem’s art, music and self-love workshops in our curated space at Brainchild.



Guided Meditation with Delphine

An opportunity to make space for stillness during the festival. Delphine will guide you through a meditative journey using descriptive imagery, observing the body’s sensations and connecting with the breath. Open and accessible for all, running on Saturday and Sunday at midday in the wellbeing space.


Harri Pepper

Harri Pepper is a well known Welsh man based in London, as a disc jockey he continues to represent Stamp The Wax as their chief resident whilst also throwing parties in both Bristol and London.

A natural digger since he was 15, known for his eclectic taste, cruising warmups and hectic closes Pepper has built up a reputation for his no-nonsense party starting.


Theatre and Spoken Word

Hatch #9

Six exciting artists and companies will be hatching brand new ideas in front of your eyes!

Brainchild’s Hatch is a platform for all kinds of artists: we champion innovative theatre, cabaret, comedy, music, poetry, performance art and everything in between – basically anyone willing to take risks and try something new!

So you never know what you’re gonna get…and that’s the fun!

We love the atmosphere to be one of genuine experimentation, so we programme this event by open call close to the festival dates and –


Details here: https://goo.gl/rwM9JC


Jam led by Ahnansé

On Saturday night Ahnansé (Wayne Francis, founder of south London’s Steam Down and member of United Vibrations) will lead the headline jam. Exploring afrofuturism in sound, Ahnansé’s jams are a sonic exploration of the past, present and future of the African diaspora. Think African traditional rhythms, left field beat music, spacey electronic textures intertwined with the improvised explorations of jazz.


Talks / Workshops & Film

Here & Queer?

LGBTQ+ get-together and badge making workshop. This workshop lets participants adorn their bodies with handmade badges and patches, slogans, pronouns, cartoons or the like. We know it can feel isolating being young and queer, even in the city. So turn up to meet one another, hang out and hold an hour of space centered around LGBTQ+ issues and creativity. From our discussions, we’ll make our own cute badges adorned with messages, pronouns or pictures. LGBTQ+ friends and allies welcome to join in, please be mindful that this is a queer space. 🙂

Led by: Echo Godfrey (they/them), Jo Kiely(they/them), Kit Rimmer(he/him) & Ella Rimmer(she/her)



Hush Moss

From Berlin via Israel comes the funk-lite sound of mid-70s synth-phonic soul.

If the Weeknd’s dad had made an album of louche soul in 1975, during that period between the heyday of Philly and the advent of disco, just before Giorgio Moroder/Donna Summer’s electronification of dance music, it might have sounded like Hush Moss.

In Flames

Ruby & Josephine are In Flames. Between their eclectic NTS Show and regular parties, they bring pure fire and madness to the dance floor. Expect to contort yourself to the sounds of post-punk, post-funk and freaky disco vibes. No rules. Pure fun.

Theatre and Spoken Word

[Insert Slogan Here] by YESYESNONO

In 2015 Volvo began their ‘Human Made’ advertising campaign. We liked it so much we decided to make a show just like it.

A show about longing. A show about objects. The objects we use and the stories we tell about them.

Combining an electronic music score, spoken word and video art, award-winning YESYESNONO return to Brainchild with a fevered excavation of advertising and consumerism.


Talks / Workshops & Film

Is Your Vagina Normal?

‘Is my vagina normal? Does it look normal? Does it smell normal? Does it feel normal?’ These are questions almost every vagina-owner has asked themselves at some point in their lives. But just like fingerprints, no two vaginas are the same. The Vagina Museum presents a drop-in workshop where you get to explore these questions in a fun and funny (fanny?) way – whether you have a vagina or not. 

The Vagina Museum is the project to create the world’s first bricks and mortar museum about the gynaecological anatomy. It will take a holistic view of the gynaecological anatomy and there will be four permanent galleries: science, culture, society and history. There will also be a temporary exhibition space and a packed programme of events. The Museum will have an extensive outreach programme and a policy department. Oh, and a cafe with vulva cupcakes of course. The first step on the Vagina Museum journey is a pop up museum which will travel around the country. The Museum will then graduate to an interim space in a semi-permanent location as a proof of concept for the final permanent home for the Vagina Museum in the UK.

twitter and instagram: vagina_museum

facebook: vmuseum



Jossy Mitsu

Originally hailing from Birmingham, Jossy Mitsu has been shelling down clubs around the country since the age of 18. Now 23, based in London and affiliated to Astral Black, she’s well known for her technically-savvy eclecticism – whether that’s rinsing out a twisted concoction of sweaty house, club and techno heaters, firing heavy-weight jungle sets or serenading you with her certi 2-step vinyl collection.

2018 has already seen Jossy join house sensation Mall Grab on his Nonstop Feeling Tour, and with her ever-growing schedule and emerging anticipation for her own productions, you won’t want to miss this rising star as she brings her sound to the masses this year.


L.A.B Collective present Beat Meet

The L.A.B Collective are a family of DJs, producers and animators working together to push underground music culture. Their London based producer community event, Beat Meet, gives a platform for upcoming beat makers and established producers alike, nurturing the UK Beat scene.

This hub is coming to Brainchild so that beat lovers to network, chill and listen to producer showcases, DJ sets and live beat jam performances. Accompanying the latest underground sounds you never knew you needed, there will also be a chance to enter King of The Hill – a Beat submission competition. Keep your eyes peeled and one ear open for how to get involved!


Laura Misch

We’re very happy to welcome back the lovely Laura Misch to Brainchild this year.  Since she performed on the Brainstage in 2017, Laura has been performing her one woman show all over Europe, and has recently released her new single ‘Lagoon’. Her music delves into the way that music can create sonic environments and realities: her performance promises to transform and transport us, with talk of special collaborations coming into the mix too.



We are in love with Legüme. They’re a new collective exploring sonic discourse, expression and storytelling through sound. They’ll be opening the Brainstage this year.

Hemi Pod – vocals 
Sophie Plummer – vocals, drum sample pad
Marysia Osuchowska – harp
George Melton – guitar
Evan Abell – Saxophones and reeds
Lluís Domènech Plana – flute
Benji Forster – alto saxophone
Matt Gedrych – bass
Ewan Moore – drums



Mafalda is one of those DJs you stumble across and instantly fall in love with. Originally from Portugal, Mafalda grew up listening to music and started to learn English from her father aged 5 so that she could translate Pet Shop Boys lyrics.

These days Mafalda co-runs Melodies International with Sam Shepherd (aka Floating Points), which is rapidly becoming one of the most highly regarded reissue labels out there. She’s also a resident of the label’s much-loved party, You’re A Melody and works behind the counter at the incredibly well curated Cosmos Records.

Aside from digging, licensing and re-releasing some of the best-lost records from the last century, Mafalda frequently appears on the radio including Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide FM.


Malena Zavala

Malena is an Argentinian born artist, producer and film maker. Influenced by guitar players such as Blake Mills and Venezuelan American singer-songwriter / visual artist Devendra Banhart as well as the psychedelic and dreamy sounds of Tame Impala, Beach House, Malena explores a free thinking and forgiving approach to her work. Her debut album ‘Aliso’ is due for release on 13th April via Yucatan Records.


Maxwell Owin

Max is a DJ you’ll never forget and a friend you will treasure forever.

As a producer, his credits are seemingly endless. He’s at the electronic and spiritual heart of so many of London’s brilliant jazz and improvisation based projects – from mixing Where Pathways Meet, to doing the mastering on the We Out Here film, to collaborating with Joe Armon-Jones in their outstanding record IDIOM.

He’s currently sat on many many unreleased projects that we are very excited to see hit the airwaves soon. But in the meantime make sure you’re at the Shack to listen to all the gems he’ll bring to the dance floor.


Notes from the Basement

‘Notes from the Basement’ is a collaborative and experimental piece inviting writers and vocalists into a place for storytelling lifted with the movement of music. 

The piece is inspired by intimate jam sessions held by artist And Is Phi in the sound heavy hug of a Deptford basement. There, music and song was given room to become a journey, with space for realisation, release, and break through. There was no tangible goal or form, just an open armed mood and communion. 

Somewhere between narrative archs and intuitive detours ‘Notes from the Basement’ is an invitation into a hidden but very living place. 

Artists include Belinda Zhawi, Tracy Sada, And Is Phi, Maria Osuchowska, Matt Gordon, Dave Koor, Hannah Hever and Elisa Rheya…


Noya Rao

Purveyors of enigmatic dreamscapes and organic, danceable electronica, Leeds-based, electronic-soul quartet Noya Rao have blown us away with their debut album Icaros, released on Matthew Halsall’s Gondwana Records at the end of last year.

Founded by producer Tom Henry, Noya Rao was originally conceived as a solo project with a separate live band representation. Alongside bassist Jim Wiltshire and drummer Matt Davies, the project grew to become a collaborative effort mixing Tom’s production ideas with the attributes of Jim’s unique bass synth lines and Matt’s polyrhythmic beats. Their compositions drew on the influences of jazz, hip-hop and electronic music whilst incorporating the sounds of the bass-heavy-dub music synonymous with the Leeds music scene.

Their sound really came into focus when they met vocalist Olivia Bhattacharjee who brought her gospel style and complex choral harmony to the band. Developing from raw, psychedelic improvisations, their sound became more defined and minimal, underpinned by live instrumentation and more structured song writing. This co-existing electronic and organic thread gives the band a strong identity and their powerful live show sets them apart from other producer-led bands. Matthew Halsall from Gondwana Records saw the band perform at an intimate show in Manchester in 2016 and blown away, signed the band on the spot.


Theatre and Spoken Word

Omar Bynon

Omar is a poet, actor, workshop facilitator and D Double E tribute act from Forest Gate, East London. He is 1/3 of Rhythm of Men and a Barbican Young Poet. He is currently in his first year of acting training at RADA.

Omar will be performing as part of the Brainchild Spoken Word Showcase.

Twitter: @sherlock_omez 

Insta: @michaelandomarinbloom 


Talks / Workshops & Film


Everyone has a story about the song that changed their lives.

An entertaining cross between Desert Island Discs, The Moth Radio Hour & TED Talks, OneTrackMinds is a live storytelling event which explores the transformative power of music. Join a vibrant selection of writers, artists and musicians each presenting a thought-provoking story about how music inspires the way we live our lives.

@one_trackminds (twitter)
@onetrackminds (instagram)



Oscar Jerome

Oscar is one of our favourite guitarists and songwriters in the world. Since 2013 he’s been frequenting the stages at Brainchild – one year playing in 7 different groups, from KOKOROKO and SE Dub Collective to SumoChief, HYLA and Poppy Ajudha.

This year we’re delighted to be welcoming him back to play his own solo material, the first time since 2015. Believe us when we say you won’t see many men play like he does.

Talks / Workshops & Film

Pecs Drag Kings: Mansformation

Pecs Drag Kings are the all-singing, all-dancing, all-sexy Drag King collective. Brainchild are some of their biggest fans.

After totally packing out the forum last year, The Directors of Pecs are now bringing their years of experience working with our favourite Drag Kings to Brainchild – to lead you through the process of finding your unique drag character!

This workshop is for anyone interested in exploring the performativity of gender on stage.







Penya are 4 piece percussion driven electronic quartet led by producer and multi-instrumentalist Magnus PI.

Penya’s percussive wanderings in Cuba, Turkey, Morocco, Peru, Tanzania and India have garnered a tribal, alternative dance floor take on Afro-Latin rhythms.

Many of Penyas’ songs touch on ancient Afro-Cuban melodies sung by the band’s multi-instrumentalist / vocalist Lilli Elina, whilst other tracks are wide open electronic groove scapes that draw on percussion don Jim Le Ms experiences as a ceremonial Bata drummer. Viva Msimang’s dubbed-out trombone improvisations, percussion and backing vocal contributions complete the Penya soundscape.

Penyas’ releases have been hailed by Gilles Peterson and Tom Ravenscroft, (BBC 6 music), Nick Luscomb (BBC Radio 3), Worldwide FM (Thristian and Will LV), Boiler Room, Stamp the Wax, the vinyl factory, NTS, and a host of other producers including Dengue Dengue Dengue, Bonobo, DJ Khalab, and DJ Jose Marquez


ComedyTheatre and Spoken Word

Piñata x Brainchild Cabaret

Piñata is a DIY cabaret based in South East London.

They bash together talented established acts with brave new show offs from multiple disciplines ~ then smash a thing with a bat to celebrate.
This summer Piñata are collaborating with Brainchild to bring you a queered Americana Saturday night extravaganza. There’ll be stars, stripes, hot dog waving, flag eating and big red buttons you absolutely shouldn’t push.

Outrageous acts, ridiculous games, immersive experiments, glory, spoils and piñata guts to the victor.

Acts to be released soon!


PYJÆN a new collective of close friends with a common link of improvised music and the jazz tradition, and a shared intention to push into new directions, explore their lives through music and and draw from varied influences including rock, electro, afrobeat and hip hop. Having met at Trinity Laban College of Music, they formed at Brainchild Festival last year

Theatre and Spoken Word

Roundhouse Poetry Collective

The Roundhouse Poetry Collective is a group of some of the most exciting young emerging poets in the country. Previous collective members include Jack Rooke, Caleb Femi, and Cecilia Knapp. The group meets weekly to create and experiment under guidance from lead tutor (and previous Poetry Collective member herself) Bridget Minamore and assistant tutor Amina Jama. The Poetry Collective perform a mix of heartfelt, funny, and challenging material, which they tour across the UK.

Poetry Collective Members:

Ariel Silverman, Bella Cox, Chloe Florence, Corey Peterson, Iona McTaggart, Sola Browne, Jessica Asuquo, Katie Greenall, Keziah Hodgson, Kieran Hayes, Kit Finnie, Lucy Harper, Madeleine Barnes, Martha Pailing


Theatre and Spoken Word

Ruth Awolola

Ruth Awolola is a British born Nigerian Jamaican student, youth worker, sister, daughter, friend and poet. She grew up in South East London but is currently based in York where she studies English in Education. She has been performing poetry since 2015 and has performed up and down the UK, exploring themes of travelling, race, family and space.

Ruth will be performing as a part of our Brainchild Spoken Word Showcase.



Shanti Celeste

There is something vivacious at the heart of Shanti Celeste’s work, a bounce, a swing, an uplifting lilt. Her career to date has been characterised by a contemporary, U.K. take on the classic Motor City sound. The expansive, emotional visions of the early Techno pioneers are reflected in Celeste’s open take to her craft. Her approach to production has leant her DJing a breath that has earned her a distinct enthusiasm amongst today’s electronic music base. This freedom is reflected on the platforms she shares her craft through – her regular NTS Radio show, and more recently, her label Peach Discs. These outlets provide Shanti with a place to amplify talent she meets, hears and wants to help along the way.



Joining the South London Music Service jam is producer, MC and vocalist, Shunaji. Originally from Rome, she currently lives in London. Shunaji’s music career began in early 2017 when she started making beats to rap and recite poetry on. She gives some insight into my inspirations in an interview with About To Blow, you can find it here http://www.abouttoblow.com/interviews-shunaji Shunaji is a Brownswood Future Bubbler, who describe Shunaji to have that most rare, vital quality in an MC: a distinctive, ear-pricking sense of flow.




Shy One

“Her production style, like her club and radio DJ sets, is unique in its ability to fuse all of London’s underground subgenres of the past few decades into a completely coherent whole, always with a fine balance of soundsystem fierceness and soul/jazz poise and sophistication.” – Joe Muggs, The Guardian

Theatre and Spoken Word

‘Skin a Cat’ by Rive Productions

Follow Alana on an awkward, wickedly funny, sexual odyssey: from getting her first period to watching bad porn, to a painful examination by an overly cheery gynaecologist – all in the pursuit of losing her virginity and finally becoming a woman. Whatever that means… A bracingly honest account of sex and shame, gut-wrenching and side-splitting by turns, Skin A Cat is an alternative coming of age story about going all the way.

★★★★ Wise, educational and funny. It really hits the spot. Timeout

★★★★ Hilarious…bold and genuinely exciting new writing. The Stage


We’re also giving you a chance to air your dirty laundry and share your good, bad, funny, awkward experiences in a led session exploring pleasure, pain, dysfunction and everything in between – with both the Hotter & Skin a Cat creative teams!

You’ll get to hear about how they gathered testimony and used real life stories in their honest and comic presentations of sex on stage.

MusicTalks / Workshops & Film

Skin Deep Sonic Transmissions: Shabaka Hutchings

Skin Deep is a London-based multimedia platform that amplifies voices of colour through the discussion of race and culture. Their Sonic Transmissions sessions curate conversation, live performance and collective listening around the work of an artist.

We feel incredibly lucky to have that Skin Deep are inviting saxophonist, band leader and composer, Shabaka Hutchings back for the 2nd instalment of Sonic Transmissions at the festival!

Shabaka is one of the stars of London’s jazz community, as well as the city’s thriving improvised music scene. As part of the Caribbean diaspora, he pushes the boundaries of what musical elements are considered to be Caribbean. Constantly evaluating the nature of his relationship with musical material and tradition, he describes his attempts at composition as wrestling matches with questions of where and how the Caribbean can be encoded, and what happens when it is exposed to the western classical music cannon.

The last Sonic Transmissions Session talked about ancestors and marxism, mythology and capitalism, time and language, rap and calypso, communities and colonialism, and imagining and creating new systems. What the conversation could explore this time knows no bounds.


Sons of Kemet

Sons of Kemet is the iconoclastic mix of tenor sax, tuba and double drums. On this third studio album, they bring a genre defying approach which celebrates the restless exploration of identity within the Caribbean diaspora within the U.K. ‘Your Queen is a Reptile’ was recorded in london with a host of guests spanning the breadth of the UK scene including jungle legend Congo Natty and poet Joshua Idehen.



Sorority is the waking dream of seven of the best friends the world has ever seen. In this dream they stand together on a stage, primed with all the supple promise of a willow bough. What follows is a reverie of insufferable beauty and exquisite agony: Great times with bad mates new and old. Good times and bad laughs old and new. The good the bad and the cheeky. Will the dreamers wake? Or will you join them? Amen.


South London Music Service: Illuminations

South London Music Service presents ‘Illuminations’, an open jam aiming to create a free and inclusive space for musicians. Holding it down as part of the majority female house band will be award winning trumpeter of RBMA’s class of 2016 Emma-Jean Thackray and Brownswood Future Bubbler’s own multi talented MC and beatmaker Shunaji. We aim to provide the fertile ground on which to illuminate those whose artistic expressions often get lost in the mire…


Spread the Jam’s Cypher

Slam The Poet has been running Spread the Jam for a few months now, and has begun to create a returning fray of beautiful performers and friends as part of its fabric. The night provides an open and supportive space for poets, musicians and performers to jump up, be free and to experiment.

In this spirit, he presents us a jam session for vocalists to experiment in freestyling together. The Spread The Jam Cypher will build up momentum over the festival: Slam will host vocalists in intimate workshops across the festival, working to encourage improvisation that is supportive and active listening. Then on Sunday he will open the Kite Bar in a freestyle jam for all to join in. Chat to Slam if you’re interested – poets, singers, rappers, vocalists of all kind are invited!

Theatre and Spoken Word

Story Forest

Take a break from the heat and wander through the woodland listening to a specially commissioned collection of audio-immersive stories, from the writers of Brainchild’s THOUSAND zine.

Immer-city make site-specific immersive theatre, where the audience is the agent.

They also run a new writing event in London called The Alchemical Door which explores new ways of making immersive theatre engaging for audiences.

The company is run by the Artistic Director, Rosanna Mallinson and was set up in 2012 with it’s first show Follow the Rabbit.


Theatre and Spoken Word

Sugar J and Bump Kin

Modern day psalms focused on: preemptive funerals, relationship struggles, diaspora, rum and love, set in lo-fi soundscapes and organic beats. An exciting new collaboration between producer Bump Kin and SugarJ Poet. They debuted at Summer Poetry X last year and are now working on an E.P.

Social media:

Sugar J Poet
@SugarJpoet // IG: sugarjpoet // https://sugarjblog.wordpress.com/

Bump Kin
@GabrielPJones // IG: gabrieljonespoet // Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/bump-kin



Tash LC

In little time London based artist Tash LC has established herself as an assured DJ, host and presenter across both radio and club mediums.

Tash finds herself at home on the airwaves with residencies on Worldwide FM and Radar, balancing highly palatable afro-jazz and highlife broadcasts with more up-tempo meetings of Kuduro, Gqom, and esoteric club sounds. With the backing of some of dance music’s most influential institutions and an effortless ability to command a dance floor, Tash is quickly becoming one of the UK’s most exciting new talents.

Talks / Workshops & Film

The Anxiety Series : Poems

The Anxiety Series: Poems at Brainchild 2018 is a chance to offer a space for exploring creative writing, well being and anxiety. It’s collaboration and it’s an experiment. Most importantly it’s a chance for those with anxiety to write it out, talk and workshop poetry together as a way to channel some hard to negotiate feelings. Whether you want to write, listen, learn or speak; this space is a safe and collaborative one for you.

The Anxiety Series Workshop is collaborating with gal-dem as a part of SelfCareSunday.


Jess Murrain is an actor, and theatre-maker, poet and workshop leader. Her work centers around queer issues, feminism, love, dyslexia, mental health and experimentation.

She trained at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (BA Acting: Collaborative and Devised, 2010-2013.) Prior to this, she studied Drama at Exeter University specialising in live art.

She has poetry publications with the Poetry School and her readings and spoken word performances have spanned various events and spaces including Brainchild Festival, Roundhouse and Love Each other or Perish: 50 Greatest Love Poems as part of the Festival of Love, Royal Festival Hall. She performs spoken word pieces at a multitude of venues in and around London.

In 2011, she co-founded Theatre with Legs with director and performer Lucy Bairstow. Theatre with Legs took their production DIGS to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last year and are now developing a new piece about regional identity with support from Theatre in the Mill and Camden People’s Theatre.


Talks / Workshops & FilmTheatre and Spoken Word

The Harry and Chris Quiz

Having played together in various forms for over 10 years, World Poetry Slam Champion Harry Baker teams up with BFF/Jazz Musician Chris Read as the imaginatively titled ‘Harry and Chris’. After sell-out runs of their 2016 and 2017 shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, Harry and Chris have been featured on ‘The Russell Howard Hour’ (Sky) and are excited to be back at Brainchild! Making comedy-jazz-rap a thing, their songs range from panda repopulation to coming of age to Robot Wars, and they bring love and laughter to a world that needs both more than ever.

fb/insta/twitter : @harrynchris



Talks / Workshops & Film

Weave Your Mark

Textile artist, Cathy Van Hear, brings you this collaborative drawing and weaving project that’s all about what happens when people come together to make something just for the joy of creating together. Come along and weave your mark!

instagram – @cath_vh



Where Pathways Meet

Where Pathways Meet are an ensemble that was born our of love for the otherworldly musical explorations of Sun Ra, made up of some treasured musicians and friends including Axel Kaner-Lidstrom and James Mollison. As a collective they’re involved in a host of other amazing projects, from Rhythm Section’s Mallard to Ezra Collective or Cykada.

“dedicated to making music animated by a reverence for his spirit, they went about their work with energy and enthusiasm. Any rawness in the execution seemed unimportant by comparison with the good feeling they imparted.” – Richard Williams, The Blue Moment 



Wu-lu — real name Miles Romans Hopcraf is a South London-based producer, arranger and multi-instrumentalist. Raised in a creative environment built by a professional contemporary dancing mother and afro-jazz trumpeter, his run ins with music were early and frequent.

Fast forward to his self-released debut EP, Ginga. The 2015 cassette release — which featured Stones Throw’s MNDSGN and Gilles Peterson favourite, Andrew Ashong —combined the off-kilter brilliance of J Dilla’s hip hop with ounces of lo-fi, psychedelic guitar in a refreshing fashion.Wu experimented with the influences on his Brixton doorstep; the issues facing a young mixed race male in the centre of London.

Further afield, the talented bassist’s production credits are few and far between but weighty. With Brainfeeder stalwart, Ras G and also as the man behind “How Far” by the Omar Lye-Fook endorsed songstress, Ego Ella May, along with Reiss G.

2016 has continued on a similar trajectory. Along with Hector Plimmer, Wu-Lu created SAMPLED; an live audiovisual exploration of the divisive ‘world music’ tag with a 13-piece superband. The group consists of artists, producers and poets including the finest contributors to the burgeoning UK jazz scene. With Wu-lu at the helm, the group have produced to create an array of self-written arrangements. Most recently, they have taken the project to the Church Of Sound, a new church venue dedicated to bringing jazz-influenced sounds to a new audience. As well as performing a set of their own material, they present a refreshed take on the Minnie Ripperton/Rotary Connection songbook.



Whether on the decks or the airwaves, Zakia is one of our greatest sonic treasures. Her NTS show Questing is essential monthly listening, sharing gorgeous findings in spiritual jazz, psychedelic soul and all kinds of other celestial grooves. We can’t wait for what she’ll bring to the dance-floor at The Shack.



Zoe Pascal, Noah Stoneman and Laurence Wilkins together formed Zeñel in 2016 after meeting through the young jazz scene in London. The band delivers complexity and excitement true to their jazz improvisation background, cut up with experimental and unexpected electronic sounds. Although their young age emphasises just how much accolade is due to the trio, their extraordinary talent is impressive beyond their years.


Installation Artists


David Renton

David floats around in the splendiferous world of animation. He fills his sketchbook with illustrations and then brings them to life. His plan for Brainchild is to create some animations intended to make you feel like you have drunk too much plumbus juice.

Born in Edinburgh, David moved to London at 22 to try and get a foothold in the world of animation. He found his feet as an assistant animator on projects varying from stop-motion to hand-drawn 2D animation. He moved to Amsterdam recently where he currently works as an animator.



Iiish (Sophie Molyneux) is the creator of BLUB, an immersive world of squishy colourful forms that take shape in many soft and bulbous scenarios. In a sensory overload of print and smush you can experience the unnecessary need to turn your surroundings into one Dr Seuss would be proud of.

This year iiish will be creating a soft sculpture for you to sit amongst get comfy and dream into colour.


Klaudia Kępińska and Charlie Redman


Charlie and Klaudia both met studying architecture at UCL. They both have a keen interest in creating playful yet utilitarian spaces, preferably in the form of a bar.

Klaudia has previously led bar, restaurant and residential projects for London based architects Michaelis Boyd. She has also run a number of summer schools for STORE projects, introducing young adults to the world of architecture. Klaudia is currently studying a masters in architecture at UCL.

Charlie has previously worked as a carpenter, last year helping build Blue House Yard, a series of two story work sheds in north London, three years ago, he also designed and built the Welcoming Shelter an award winning kinetic roof structure for the Kings Cross Skip Garden.

They are now bringing their combined skills and experience together to make the Dura Dura Cocktail Bar, a cocktail bar like no other, named after one of the most challenging climbs in the world this bar will have a climbing wall along the outside of it, allowing patrons to enjoy their favourite cocktail whilst watching people challenge themselves as they try and complete the traverse.


apastoreality, patch, & priscilla

Priscilla, Patch, Sonia & Egmontas  work towards the exploration of architecture through drawing and making, spending their time playfully fabricating new spatial constructs…

They propose to deliver a bigger throne to the festival setting. The throne travels not in one piece but in fragments, each of a different weight, size and feel; each moving at a different pace.

Stones fall from the sky and land gently in a field; they wait for the odd bum or two to nestle in their nooks and crannies.The throne is a sculptural proposition with the simple facility of seating.

Lastly, what would the throne be without a plant?


Kristi Minchin, Oscar Murray and Natalie Seo

Artist Kristi Minchin and product designer Oscar Murray, assisted by student Natalie Seo, are collaborating to make a large scale interactive installation.

The installation will explore the idea that by encouraging collective movement and play, playgrounds become radical spaces for social integration. The piece will use familiar playground forms like swings and seesaws to trigger a series of interactive elements within the sculpture.

After being installed at Brainchild we are taking the work to Copeland Park for Peckham Festival for a round two of playtime, September 14-17.



Get In Touch

Please note that the deadline for proposing art installations or applying to perform have passed.

To join the team, please check out this page to see what roles are available.

For London based projects please check out Platform, our HQ in Southwark, London where we put on events and projects – maybe your idea can happen there.

Festival Inquiries: 

To volunteer on the festival green team email ollie or hannah

To be on the build and break team email josh or matt

For general on-site volunteering email tomo

For food trading inquiries email jasper

For press email marina

For any other enquiries email team


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