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
Tickets for Brainchild Festival 2022 are now LIVE and available here.
We are honestly so excited about making this a reality and being back together for some new shenanigans 🧡
🦩 Some things to mention🦩
● Crowd Cover is still a part of the picture for 2022, and we explain more about this in our FAQs and our recent blog post
● We’ve introduced a new Pay It Forward scheme, where we’re fundraising to make tickets available for 18-25 year olds who earn living wage or less, so that the festival remains open to them. Sign up or read more about it here 🦩
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.
Please stay tuned & subscribe to our mailing list for updates.
Meanwhile, if you’re a musician, DJ, theatre-maker, comedian, poet, activist, workshop leader or you’ve just got a big (or little) IDEA you’d like to bring to Brainchild 2022, please apply via our submissions form – deadline 14th February.
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.
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. 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.They will be going on sale in the Spring.
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).
Driving to Brainchild All cars must have Car Park Passes to use the Car Park. These are available here.
Cycling to Brainchild We have every intention of bringing our Cycling to Brainchild scheme back for 2022 – so watch this space!
I can’t come anymore, can I refund or sell my ticket on?
Unfortunately we cannot offer a refund if your situation changes or you change your mind. Your options are to sell the ticket onto a friend (we strongly advise you not to enter into financial arrangements with strangers) and change the name on the ticket, or if the festival is sold out, you can try to sell your ticket via an official re-sale process by contacting email@example.com. If they’re able to re-sell your ticket/s then you will be refunded. The latest point they will attempt re-sells is Monday 27th June, therefore this is the cut off point for attempting to sell your ticket via this method.
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.
I can’t see my e-ticket in my inbox, where is it?
After this date, if you can’t find it, please first check your spam or junk folder – emails from TicketSellers sometimes go here! If you still can’t find it, you just need to login to your TicketSellers account and you’ll be able to download it from ‘My Tickets’ – if you still can’t find it, please email firstname.lastname@example.org confirming the email address you used to set up an account and they will help you.
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.
You can amend the name on your ticket by logging into your TicketSellers account and going to ‘My Tickets’. You will have made this account when you purchased your tickets and there is a ‘Log In’ button in your purchase confirmation email. If you can’t remember your login, please first try a password reset. Failing that, contact email@example.com for help to access your account.
There is no limit on how many times you can amend the name associated with your ticket, and you can do this up until midnight on Thursday 30th June 2022. E-tickets (with attendee names on them) will be sent out on 1st July 2022.
Whilst it’s ok to pass your ticket on to a friend, please don’t enter into financial arrangements with strangers, we really don’t want people to get scammed and we’re unable to intervene or issue refunds if it goes wrong.
What is the Crowd Cover Pledge?
In order to secure a valid Brainchild Festival ticket, you must purchase a Crowd Cover Pledge of £45. The pledge will be automatically added to your basket at checkout and you will be asked to agree to some terms (see section ‘Cancellation due to Covid-19 & the Crowd Cover Pledge’ section in our T&Cs). The Crowd Cover Pledge is non-refundable part in the event of a Covid-19 related cancellation. If we were forced to cancel the festival for another reason, (e.g. an electrical storm), you would be refunded in full – the CCP only applies to a Covid-19 related cancellation.
While the government has finally backed an insurance policy, not only does it come at a price we can’t afford (10% of our total expenditure), it also doesn’t provide us with the cover we actually need against the risks posed by Covid. The policy would protect us only in the circumstances of a lockdown, but not in the (arguably much more likely) event that other restrictions are imposed, for example, a return to social distancing that forces us to drastically reduce the capacity of the festival, making it financially unviable for us to continue. These circumstances could force a late cancellation of the festival, and mean we could be facing bankruptcy, having purchased an expensive policy that doesn’t cover our sunk costs, leaving our three company directors personally liable to refund all of the tickets ourselves (we don’t have that kind of money so this wouldn’t be good for anyone).
We know that it’s not a small ask, but we believe that right now this model provides better protection to you and to us, and is the best way for small independent events like us to survive into the future.
How do the instalment plans work?
Our top tier of tickets are available to purchase in 3 instalments over 6 months, so you can secure your spot even if you don’t have all the cash right now.
Instalment #1: £59.99 due first/immediately (£10 Admission Fee + £4.99 booking fee + £45 Crowd Cover Pledge)
Instalment #2: £45.00 due on Monday 21 March 2022
Instalment #3: £45.00 due on Monday 23 May 2022
If you purchase your tickets in this way you agree the instalment amounts will be automatically debited from your credit / debit card on the specified dates. TicketSellers will send you a reminder email a week before each payment is due. It is your responsibility to keep your email address up to date on the TTS site.
If a payment cannot be taken for any reason, the instalment plan is void. You will be sent an email and you will have fourteen days to pay the full remaining balance on your account. Failing to pay the full balance within 14 days of a missed instalment payment renders your tickets invalid and all payments up to that point will be lost.
The latest point you can purchase a ticket on the instalment plan is Sunday 20th March, when you will pay Instalment #1. This is because the second instalment is due the following day, on Monday 21nd March.
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 an intimate spot hosting workshops, 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!
I can’t afford a ticket – what’s the new Pay It Forward Scheme?
Please sign up to the scheme via this form if you are a young adult aged 18-25 earning less than living wage and you cannot afford the new ticket prices. In the form, you tell us what you can afford to pay toward a ticket and then in the background, we fundraise for the rest. Then once we’ve raised the rest to buy the ticket, it’s yours. We will work down the list in order of when you signed up. Please be aware that sadly this is not a 100% guarantee that you will get a ticket, as it depends on the success of our fundraising, and we expect the demand to be quite high. So if you can afford a ticket, we want to reiterate your best bet for coming to the festival is definitely still buying one (please note there are instalment plans available if you don’t have the cash flow now).
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, but acknowledge that there is still some way to go before we can say that Brainchild Festival is a fully accessible space. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
When does the festival start and finish?
Gates open at 14:00 on Friday 8th 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 11th July.
How has Covid changed the entry procedure?
To enter site, everybody must show evidence of a negative lateral or PCR flow test taken upto 24h 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 email@example.com.
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’re so sorry to miss you but this does sadly mean you won’t be able to attend Brainchild this year. While we cannot issue ticket refunds, you can roll your ticket on and it will be valid for 2023, if you cannot attend in 2023 you will have an opportunity to sell on your ticket when we launch sales for next year. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, and supplying evidence of your situation. We will accept:
– A screenshot/image of your positive PCR test & your photo ID.
– A photo showing you and your phone with the self-isolation countdown on the NHS app, or a text from NHS track & trace, alongside your Photo ID.
– A screenshot/image of your housemate’s positive PCR test, your photo ID, and proof of address (e.g. letters addressed to you and to them at the same address).
Please be aware, if you email close to the festival dates you may not hear back from us until afterwards. We thank you for being honest about your situation and keeping people safe, we know how disappointing it will be to miss the festival.
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 email@example.com
For general enquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org
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.