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Brainchild Festival

Brainchild Festival 2022 is now cancelled 💔 Please read the full statement in our News

Brainchild is an intimate, award-winning, not-for-profit festival celebrating the power of community, creativity & DIY culture.

We set out to make an environment where everyone can feel safe & free to be fully themselves, where we can raise each other up, find joy, inspiration, make new friends and connect on common ground. No VIP areas, no headliners, no sponsorship. Just a vibrant community of like-minded people and a programme of brilliant emerging artists. Expect musicians, DJs, jams, theatre-makers, cabaret, poets, workshops, talks, filmmakers & installation artists.


Last week we announced that we’ve had to cancel Brainchild Festival 2022. We’re leaving these artists up here just for a little longer so you can see just a glimpse of the brilliance we had in store. We’ll feel ready to take these down eventually but it’s a bit raw right now…

Huge thanks to all these artists and those who weren’t yet announced for being part of what would have been our 9th festival 🧡


Local Action 10 Year Anniversary Takeover

The award-winning Local Action label (home of DJ Q, UNIIQU3, India Jordan, Finn and many more) celebrate their 10th year with a showcase of label talent at Brainchild in 2022. Lineup incoming 👀👀👀👀

Poetry & Comedy

Seder Sessions with Adam Kammerling

The Seder Sessions are a unique exploration of togetherness, developed especially for Brainchild and inspired by Adam Kammerling’s debut poetry collection & show of the same name. 

The session and will bring together a hyper-dynamic cohort of truly incredible artists for 90 mins of poetry and dance performance, examining intergenerational trauma and the rituals we make for connection. We will consider, through the annual Jewish custom of the Seder, how all of us can celebrate our existence, asking how far we can push the boundaries of tribal practice and how we welcome new bodies into an age-old space.

Adam will be inviting other artists from outside the Seder cohort to the table, to create and share work that encompasses global stories of human survival.

Adam Kammerling is an award winning poet, interdisciplinary artist and educator. His debut poetry collection Seder was a finalist in the National Jewish Book Awards, and Shall We Take This Outside, a three-person spoken-word/dance theatre piece toured nationally, and Inside!, a piece of poetry/rave theatre commissioned by Centrepoint and the Saatchi Gallery.

Featuring: Si Rawlinson, Emma Houston, Saskia Horton , Antosh Wojcik , Belle Ehresmann , Adam Kammerling and others TBA



London-based producer, DJ & label boss Ahadadream represents percussive club sounds from around the world and draws influence from UK Funky, GQOM, Kuduro, Amapiano and beyond. His own productions are unapologetic stripped back club weapons which have been supported by the likes of Four Tet, Scratch DVA & Toddla T and his ‘drum dubs’ edit series are a regular feature at parties around the world (including a Rosalía bootleg, that she co-signed herself!).

He is the co-founder of influential London label More Time Records which is regularly supported by leading tastemakers such as Ben UFO, Giles Peterson, Benji B, Dixon and more. The label releases drum-focussed club music from all over the world (previous artists hailing from Ghana, Trinidad, South Africa & more) and marries it with a rugged UK edge.

After curating some of Boiler Room’s landmark moments in the platform’s recent years (including the Bass & Percs series), Ahad founded No ID, a London party focusing on spotlighting and improving representation of South Asian DJs . He is also a dedicated radio presenter with his output including a year long residency on the BBC. 


Bushbby (Candela Viva)

Bushbby is a British-Colombian DJ-come-producer based in London, who champions the rhythms and roots of Latin American music. Alongside hosting the bi-monthly ’Candela Viva’ show on Threads Radio and being a resident DJ at both FLAWA (Festival of Latin American Women in Arts) and the long-standing & deeply loved Movimientos club night, she has also been an active campaigner in amplifying the voices of the Latinx diaspora.

Having grown up around sound systems in both the Colombian Caribbean and UK underground, Bushbby’s sets are a celebration of these roots – blending the likes of Cumbia, Champeta and Dembow with high-energy electronic beats!


Candela Viva Takeover

Taking over the Kite Bar all day on Friday is CANDELA VIVA❣️☄️  Candela Viva is a London based platform created by Bushbby to celebrate Latin American roots, sounds, culture and people. Spotlighting Latinx artists at the festival, Bushbby will be joined by the incendiary Desta French, Colectiva, Papaoul, filling the festival with their collective spirit and sounds. 

Since 2021, Candela Viva has existed as a bi-monthly show on Threads Radio and has been putting on regular club nights showcasing exciting talent from the Latinx diaspora here in the UK. Candela Viva has worked with artists such as Reyna Tropical, Desta French, Jimena Angel, Akolá Tambó & Nielaa420, with musical styles spanning from Afro-Colombian folklore, contemporary Latinx fusions of R&B, Salsa, Reggaeton with exciting electronic beats weaving through Spanish and English (or Spanglish) lyrics. 

Candela Viva was born out of the want and need for the Latinx creative community to be represented by Latinx people. With Latin American music becoming increasingly popular, Candela Viva wants this to be reflected at every level within the industry and counter the white male-dominated hierarchy in music and arts.


Chelsea Carmichael

Saxophonist, composer and arranger Chelsea Carmichael is an understated innovator and educator. She’s a warm and hypnotic player, who brings subtle and considered improvisation to everything she does.

Primo cultural instigator Shabaka Hutchings noted her potential and invited her to record the first release his new brand new Native Rebel label. He wrote a set of songs for her, which she worked up at RAK studios with Eddie Hick (Sons of Kemet), Dave Okumu (The Invisible) and Tom Herbert (The Invisible; Polar Bear) and the resulting recordings comprise her 2021 debut album The River Doesn’t Like Strangers.

Chelsea has already been part of a Mercury-nominated band – she played on SEED Ensemble’s 2019 Driftglass – and currently plays with Theon Cross, the Neue Grafik Ensemble and the hyper-popular Outlook Orchestra. She also writes and arranges for her own Chelsea Carmichael Ensemble, which sold out Ronnie Scott’s when they performed their tribute to John Coltrane’s ‘Giant Steps’ on the record’s 60th anniversary.

She grew up in Warrington with her parents, who were both dancers on the Northern jazz and funk scene, dipping into her dad’s record collection and absorbing the musical culture of the Jamaican side of her family. She began with piano and later picked up the saxophone, playing in big bands and as part of the Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra (WYJO). “It was essential to my development,” she says of this time. “The whole thing was super inspiring and really spurred me. It was the first time I realised, it’s not just about practising, there’s a social element too. It was a massive part of the direction I’ve gone in.”

Her academic and musical explorations include a focus on one particularly rich seam. “I’ve been really delving into the lineage of Black British excellence within jazz.” It’s a sound she loves and it’s a lineage she’s joining as an artist and educator. As well as working as Musical Director for the NYJO Jazz Messengers, she’s been delivering lectures on Black British music at Goldsmiths.



Every second Tuesday, Donna Leake and Haseeb Iqbal have been soundtracking dozens of very focused friends playing chess at the Standard Hotel in Kings Cross. The synergy is astounding, and they’ve recently expanded to invite live musicians to join, and taken Chessidency to pastures new!

So Chessidency’s coming on tour, everybody. Kite Bar, Saturday morning, it’s happening. Bring Your Own Board if you can!


COLECTIVA (Candela Viva)

COLECTIVA explores the spaces between Afro-Latin music and Jazz while reflecting on themes of sisterhood and female empowerment. 

Blending wild horn lines with Afro-Latin groove and experimental textures, COLECTIVA’s thoughtful arrangements are rooted in the sounds of Africa, Latin America and the diaspora, creating a genre the group have affectionately dubbed jazz tropicaliente (hot-tropical-jazz).

Their debut single, Under The, written in collaboration with jazz pianist Maria Grapsa, premiered with Sounds and Colours magazine in April 2021, receiving huge global radio plays and DJ support from the likes of Huey Morgan and Jamz Supernova on 6 Music, Jazz FM’s Chris Philips and Tim Garcia, and Toshiro Matsuura and Papaoul on Worldwide FM, amongst many others. 




Cousin Kula

Living together, nestled in the sun-drenched hills on the outskirts of Bristol, Cousin Kula have created their own musical universe of otherworldly pop serenity with distinct but cohesive elements: “the possibilities of jazz, the emphatic energy of club culture, and the sonic tapestries of psychedelia… to name but a few” CLASH remark.

The latest band to emerge out of the buoyant Bristol music scene, Cousin Kula fluttered into the collective consciousness at the end of 2021 with their debut full-length album on Rhythm Section. A timeless slice of psychedelic soul and their most accomplished recording to date.


Daisy George

Daisy George has been active in the London jazz scene for many years, performing as a bassist for established artists such as Poppy Ajudha and Jas Kayser. Now, having developed her own solo project, she’s ready to self-release her debut EP in 2022. Featuring collaborations with Lady Sanity and Mohan, the unique sound combines aspects of contemporary jazz, 90s hip-hop beats and 70s rock-pop melodies.

Taking influence from other successful young artists writing jazz-influenced music, Daisy wants to bring the genre to a wider community of people where people can enjoy it, dance, and express themselves without judgement.

She performed the unreleased tracks for Brainfeeder records ‘The Hit’ livestream in April 2021, and was interviewed both on Soho Radio and Collette Cooper’s ‘Sisters in the Shadows’ podcast, as well as being featured in Jazzwise magazine’s May 2021 edition.

Armed with her double bass and band, she played our recent winter edition of DIGS and brought some miiighty energy to the Fox & Firkin. We psyched to do it all again at Bentley.


Desta French (Candela Viva)

A LatinX powerhouse and passionate performer & songwriter, Desta French has emerged from the growing LatinX music scene in London, proudly wearing both her Latin American heritage and London upbringing with pride. Having grown up in Camden Town to immigrant Colombian/Italian parents, Desta’s music is a blend of RnB, Salsa, Latin Jazz, Hip-Hop, and Soul, which culminate in her own distinctive sound. She is the first U.K. born LatinX artist to have an entirely Spanish song played on BBC Radio, and has been supported by prominent tastemakers like DJ Target and Jamz Supernova, as well as being pipped as ‘one to watch’ on Tim Ferris’s legendary Mailing list. 

Desta’s debut track ‘Shame’ would have been your first introduction to her world. She was invited to the Youtube sensation ‘Colors’ studio (notorious for showcasing new and independent talent) to perform shortly after the release of this very first single. Her performance has now been watched over 2 million times.

Desta represents her culture not only through her music, but also her newly created cultural platform ‘Bonita’ formed with fellow Colombian-born producer Alma De La Selva which focuses on highlighting alternative Latin culture. 2021 saw the start of their regular club and live music events, as well as their monthly slot on Soho Radio.

Her most recent body of work ‘Bendecida’ shows her flair in blending Spanish and English language with the flavours of hip-hop, cumbia, Afrobeat and RnB. She is currently carving out a South American tour, as well as working on her most exciting music release to date. 



After releasing their first project entitled “The Market” on Soundcloud in early 2020, Haroun has forged their own sonic identity within London’s neo-soul & alternative RnB scenes by injecting a dash of Prince-esque funk and a pinch of 80’s disco glitter.

The French-American-Morrocan artist (now based in South-East London), brings together an array of musical influences, from Motown’s Divas to dancefloor-focused electronic sounds, to playfully reflect on self-care, sex positivity and the important of letting go through dance. A message we can get behind!

Their latest single ‘RIDE’ makes reference to the Ballroom scene with a burning desire to underline the vital role of queer black culture in shaping the pop music of today. Check out Ride and Dreamboy here.



Ifeoluwa (AKA Yewande Adeniran) is a multidisciplinary artist, writer, mentor and academic. As a DJ, their focus is on fusing together global drum-heavy sonics, the darker side of UK club music, and abstract left-field techno to take club sets by storm. They have supported the likes of Objekt, Batu, mumdance, SHYBOI, LSDXOXO, India Jordan, Umfang, Helena Hauff and Giant Swan amongst many others, as well as international gigs and numerous sold-out headline shows across the UK. 

Yewande is also well known for heading up INTERVENTION, the DJ and production workshop that travels the country offering a welcoming space for women and all marginalised people to come together and celebrate all things dance. You can learn more about INTERVENTION with their recent Resident Advisor Exchange Podcast and contributions to the ongoing DJ Mag Selections series.

Talks Workshops & Film

Keyboard Fantasies: The Beverly Glenn-Copeland Story

As a sci-fi obsessed woman living in near isolation, Beverly Glenn-Copeland wrote and self-released Keyboard Fantasies in Huntsville, Ontario back in 1986. Recorded in an Atari-powered home studio, the cassette featured seven tracks of a curious folk-electronica hybrid, a sound realised far before its time. 

Three decades on the musician – now Glenn Copeland – began to receive emails from people across the world, thanking him for the music they’d recently discovered. 

Courtesy of a rare-record collector in Japan, a reissue of Keyboard Fantasies and subsequent plays by Four Tet, Caribou and more, the music had finally found its audience two generations down the line. Keyboard Fantasies sees the protagonist commit his life and music to screen for the first time – an intimate coming of age story spinning pain and the suffering of prejudice into rhythm, hope and joy. 

Half aural-visual history, half DIY tour-video, the film provides a vehicle for our newly appointed queer elder to connect with youth across the globe. A timely lullaby to soothe those souls struggling to make sense of the world.

Running time: 1hr


Léa Sen

Léa played Brainchild in 2019 as part of Touching Bass’ takeover in the Kite Bar. The last two years have been big ones of Léa, as detailed by Crack mag: The French-Martinican singer, songwriter and producer had only recently moved to London when she landed the gig in 2020. After relocating in 2019, she began to tentatively share music online – songs like the understated folk of houseonahill and the shiver-inducing avant-R&B of Letter to Anyone. Soon she struck up friendships with like-minded producers Vegyn, Wu-Lu and Kwake Bass. Less than a year later, she was standing in the booth across from one of the UK’s best-loved electronic artists, collaborating on this Joy O tune. We’ve invited her back for 2022, she returns to take on the Brainstage! Welcome back Léa. We recommend checking out this dreamy Boiler Room performance of hers.

Talks Workshops & Film

Life Drawing with Body Love Sketch Club

Body Love Sketch Club is a body positivity and creative empowerment project run by Rosy Pendlebaby and Ruby Rare, two queer, happy, colourful naked ladies, running joyful, arty workshops celebrating bodies in all their glory. In addition to their years between them working as life models, Rosy is a performer and facilitator, and Ruby is a sex educator and artist. Body Love Sketch Club was founded in 2018 from a shared inspiration to share the empowering, healing potential of life drawing spaces to liberate both our bodies, and our inner artists.

Body Love Sketch Club is a life drawing class with a twist, in which you can choose to pose as well as draw, whilst exploring ways of accepting ourselves more unconditionally, and expressing ourselves more freely.

Their workshops are an artistic adventure in body positivity and creative empowerment, a joyful and tender tonic to feeling disconnected from each other and ourselves, a celebration of bodies in all their (optionally naked) glory, and a place for creative play without shame or judgment.

All bodies, artistic capabilities and confidence levels welcome.


Mansur Brown

Mansur Brown is a 24 year old producer, multi-instrumentalist and gift from the heavens. His sound is hard to box into one genre, effortlessly fusing R&B, Hip Hop, Ambient, Rock and Electronic into one palette. Check out his Boiler Room set to get a real flavour. 🔥

Having released his debut album Shiroi in 2018, followed by the Tesuto EP with Soulection in 2020, Mansur quickly crafted his own unique and signature sound. Tesuto called in a more futuristic and clubbier side to the music, with the addition of other musical influences such as Trap and Ambient soundscapes. He followed up with his second album titled ‘Heiwa‘ in 2021 on his own label – Amai Records.

His virtuosic guitar playing can found in videos online such as his Soulection radio session and elsewhere on his social media.

There’s no doubt in our minds that we’re in for a transcendental experience…



Mina & Bryte

​​Mina & Bryte first met in Accra, Ghana in 2017, and instantly connected over their shared love of global club music. Since then they have released several singles, and their debut EP as a duo Abeka Bugatti.–> click this to get DANCIN’ ☄️

The duo have toured internationally at venues and festivals including Berghain, MUTEK, Cakeshop (Seoul), and Nyege Nyege Festival. Their music has been supported by key tastemakers such as Lauren Laverne, Ben UFO, Tom Ravenscroft and Branko. Together they have an infectious energy, with a sound that fuses together styles from the UK, Ghana and around the world.

Bryte’s multilingual lyrics skip playfully over Mina’s upbeat and distinctive production style, demonstrating how two artists from very different backgrounds can come together to create “exuberant, passionate, forward-thinking club music that slips between two continents.” [Clash Magazine]

Theatre & Cabaret

Misery: sober qtibpoc-centered rave

Misery will be hosting a sober qtibpoc-centered rave on Friday night! Expect DJs, crafts, art therapy workshops & stunning non-alcoholic beverages!  

Misery is a playful mental health community based in London & led by & for queer, trans, intersex, Black people and people of colour (qtibpoc) with lived experience of mental health challenges, madness, addiction, medication, disability, hospital, trauma & neurodivergence. 

They co-create free accessible sober spaces, services, practises, raves and resources to cultivate communities of care that can support and sustain the collective healing and resilience of qtibpoc world over.

Misery is a reminder that you’re not too sensitive, it’s mad out here.


New Movement Ensemble

Led by mighty bassist and composer Matt Gedrych of Neue Grafik Ensemble, Emma-Jean Thackray’s band and many more TRC happenings, this is a new collective of friends and musicians challenging each other to express themselves honestly. And the result is a sound that we’re really feeling ~ lively percussion, sultry sax lines, twinkling keys and a variety of vocal textures.

Their debut album ‘Never Far From Home’ explores Matt’s journey of moving to London, following your dreams, building a family, growing up, and of course, making a home.


Orii Community

Orii is one of London’s most exciting new regular jam sessions, led with total openness and devotion by by Neue Grafik. “A safe space for people who want to feel free to be themselves, in the crowd or on stage, every one is an important part of the puzzle.”

Finding its home on Monday nights at Colour Factory in Hackney Wick, it’s a truly inclusive platform for new artists, allowing the best musicians and artists in town to connect in an amazing place, in the middle of Hackney Wick.

We are teaming up at Brainchild to bring this awesome, young and diverse community to the festival and invite artists from the lineup to get involved.

The word, Orii, means Soul, Head and Inspiration in Yoruba.


Papaoul (Candela Viva)

Papaoul is a resident DJ and radio presenter on Worldwide FM. When it comes to the dancefloor, Papaoul’s sets are unconfined by genre, spanning a range of bass-heavy sounds from across the global underground. An eclectic selector, he also runs The Fifth Sun, a monthly radio show connecting the dots between UK / Latin American bass culture, and providing a platform for Latinx creatives in the UK.




Prestige Pak

Prestige Pak is a DJ collective made up of Architect, Handsome Rob, Lagoon Femshayma and Lil C, playing club music from around the world with a diverse blend of styles and genres guaranteed to get a crowd moving and steamy!



Since forming in the din of a house party two years ago, PVA are the genre-hopping passion project of London musicians Ella Harris, Josh Baxter and Louis Satchell.

The three-piece traverse fistfuls of genres throughout rapturous live sets, incorporating techno landscapes, Balearic euphoria, and industrial edges within the same songs. The band’s unique energy combines with blocky synths, sultry deadpan vocals, and motorik drum loops to make for a wholeheartedly original sound.

Signed to Speedy Wunderground (following the path of Black Midi, Squid, and Black Country, New Road amongst others), they sold out 250 records before any could ship. ‘Divine Intervention’ has been described as ‘Patti Smith fronting Factory Floor’, (Pierre Hall) and has now amassed up to nearly 700,000 plays on Spotify. Widely praised (The Guardian – “that sweet LCD Soundsystem energy… God, it’s good”) and played heavily on BBC Radio 6 and KEXP, PVA have a follow up release landing this Summer on a prestigious new label.

With a hefty list of festivals and support slots (including Baxter Dury, Franc Moody, HMLTD, The Orielles and Squid), as well as a showcase at Austin’s SXSW, and a Japan Tour under their belt, the sky’s the limit for PVA.

MusicTheatre & Cabaret

Queer House Party Kicks Off

Last year, QHP shone a beacon of raucous campery through the Sunday night swamp, leaving a stage broken and the crowd wanting MORE!? This year they’re back for a bigger, rowdier throwdown – QHP are ready to KICK OFF.
Bringing their unique mix of radical politics and slaggy anthems, expect queer bops, gay bangers, 00s trash, strippers, gogo dancers, drag sensations, and more.

Renowned for iconic, queer throwdowns Queer House Party is a DJ collective, community platform and award-winning LGBTIQ+ party that brings you the best drag, performers, and DJs from London and beyond. Since their first party on the eve of lockdown, they’ve built a substantial online following and have pioneered a new form of radical, accessible party that can be joined IRL or online. 

Queer House Party has collaborated with and thrown parties for Cybertease, Drag Syndrome, Quiplash, Bricks, the Barbican, BFI, the V&A and Gendered Intelligence.

They keep their politics and activism central to their events, creating a space that is not only accessible for the whole LGBTIQ+ community, but puts issues they care about to the front. They use their collective to draw attention to injustice, throwing events in solidarity with groups such as Sisters Uncut, Black Lives Matter and United Strippers of the World. 


Rosie Alena

Rosie Alena is a singer-songwriter from London. Taking influence from Joni Mitchell and Angel Olsen to Tori Amos, Sufjan Stevens and Esperanza Spalding, Rosie played her first gig when she was just 14 at the 12 Bar Club in Soho and has been enchanting audiences with her eclectic compositions and goosebump-inducing vocal capabilities ever since. After producer Oli Barton-Wood (Porridge Radio, Nilufer Yanya) spotted her at a show in Peckham, they decamped to his studio earlier this year for some fruitful recording sessions.

Blessed with a wealth of highly-skilled musicians as friends including black midi, Olivia Dean and Blossom Caldarone, Rosie’s rotating but consistently excellent backing band have gigged relentlessly when allowed, winning her fans across the capital and beyond. Making themselves at home across South London hotspots including the Windmill in Brixton and Deptford’s Sister Midnight, the band also made their Europe debut this summer at Left of the Dial festival in Rotterdam.

The future’s looking bright for the singer, who is set to release her debut EP Pixelated Images on untitled (recs) in early 2022, following on from releasing a series of well-received singles in 2021 that earned praise from the likes of Clash, The Line of Best Fit, and So Young Magazine.

Poetry & Comedy

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, Cecilia Knapp and Bridget Minamore. The group meets weekly to create and experiment under guidance from lead tutor & Brainchild fav, Cecilia Knapp. The Poetry Collective perform a mix of heartfelt, funny, and challenging material, which they tour across the UK.

Names of this year’s poets TBA

Talks Workshops & Film

Smutty Letter Writing Workshop with Revolting Arts Club

‘I tore open your letter and licked the envelope’s seal for any lingering taste of you…’- Emily Dickinson to Susan Gilbert

Be inspired by great love letters of old and learn to write your own x-rated versions in this playful workshop for today’s romantics.

We live in strange and disconnected times… Say no to the fast and flaccid romance of the digital age, and revive the lost art of the erotic epistle! Let’s bid farewell to soulless swiping, sexting, and the scattergunning of dick pics to strangers, and bring back the exchange of carefully-crafted, indulgently intimate dirty dispatches, hand delivered, or sent via slow and sexy snail mail!

In this workshop, we’ll share a selection of salacious readings of smut from yesteryear to entice our (creative) juices into flow before we are guided through the writing exercises. Come on your own, with a lover, or a friend! This workshop is for all 18+ contemporary romantics in possession of a pen and some paper, regardless of gender, sexuality, or relationship status. All creative capabilities and confidence levels welcome.

Revolting Arts Club is a creative lab of rebellious arts for growth, empowerment, and pleasure. We run workshops, talks, and events that celebrate the innate creativity within all of us and explore its therapeutic potential, for all those wishing to play, express, and make a mess. We are led by facilitator, art historian, performer, and activist, Rosy Pendlebaby, co-founder of Body Love Sketch Club.

Theatre & Cabaret

Strange Fruit: A Cabaret by Sex & Rage

Strange Fruit is a tribute to Sarah Baartman and her daughters. To all the black women, sexualised, eroticised, fetishised, used, abused and exploited. It is inspired by great artists such as Billie Holiday, Lucille Bogan, Josephine Baker, Betty Davis and Grace Jones. All women who transgressed and subverted racial and sexual stereotypes, who defied the odds to rise as pioneers of politics and of pleasure.

It is a romp through the last century, celebrating these women who broke barriers, challenging the way black women were expected to be seen and heard.  A homage to the boldest, bravest, ‘badass bitches’ who dared to do things their way.

Featuring: Miss Baby Sol (aka Kitten Lightfoot), Black Venus, Mars, Donna Divine & Sabrina Jade

SEX AND RAGE is an organisation led by sex workers, educators and activists. They resist stigma and shame as the main causes of sexual and gender-based violence, and aim to make social change through sex education. Their work explores the intersections between sex workers rights and those of women, sexual minorities and marginalised communities, and offer events and workshops that engage in dialogue, creativity and embodied practices as a way to empower individuals and communities living in oppressive systems.

And if you’re feeling fired up and filthy after the Cabaret, Sex & Rage have got you, darling. Carrying on the debauchery after the show, they’re going to party like it’s 1979 at their Studio 54 club night with funk, soul and disco all night long!

Talks Workshops & Film

Striptease for Self-Love with Black Venus

Based on a popular series of strip tease classes Venus ran online during the lockdown, the classes will focus on body language and embodying physicalities of femininity, masculinity, dominance and submission. People can choose to remove as little or as few clothes as they feel comfortable with!

Black Venus is a self defence practitioner and teacher, a session wrestler and founder of Sex & Rage, an organisation led by sex workers, sex educators & activists resisting stigma and shame through sex education.

Talks Workshops & Film

The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale Reading + Q&A

Haley McGee is an award-winning actor, theatre-maker, podcaster and the author of the book ‘The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale’ – a memoir about her attempt to pay off credit card debt by selling gifts from her exes, and how she ended up being schooled in the true value of heartbreak. Funny, brainy, sexy and very candid.

Join Haley as she reads from her book, chats about the process of turning her sexual and romantic history into a memoir and dishes on her favourite topic: the cost of love.

“a hugely talented writer & performer” – The Skinny

Poetry & Comedy

The LOL Word

The LOL Word is an all women and non-binary queer comedy collective taking the UK by storm with their epically gay stand-up shows. They’ve hosted sell-out runs/ absolute ragers at The Edinburgh, Brighton and Cambridge Fringe Festivals, The Southbank Centre and VAULT Festival, where guests have included Fern Brady, Sarah Keyworth, Kemah Bob, Sophie Duker, Catherine Bohart… it’s the who’s who of queer stand-up comedy.

The original lineup (Jodie Mitchell, Shelf and Chloe Petts) will be bringing their unique stylings to Brainchild, along with very special guests. See you there!

“…it’s refreshing and revitalising to watch: they are energetic and exciting, oozing with passion. The LOL Word is proof that you don’t have to mock the marginalised to be funny. They’re an ode to queer subcultures: butch, femme, and whatever else they want, really.” – The Guardian


Touching Bass DJ Takeover

Touching Bass family are on the decks in the forest this year, at The Shack on Sunday from 6pm – 10pm, taking you right through evening to sunset to the night-time hours.

From their dances to their NTS show, or their releases as a label, this is an organisation that is pushing forward soulful and original music while also keeping an community ethos & authenticity at its core. Their ethos centres around the real-life human and spiritual ability of music to bring people together — music to make you think and feel.


Vels Trio

It’s been exciting times for SE London via Brighton group Vels Trio (keys player Jack Stephenson Oliver, bassist Cameron Dawson and drummer Dougal Taylor) since meeting in 2014.

Despite choosing to sidestep a release of their endeavours in the early years – it’d be somewhat surprising if you weren’t to know them already in name. The bands drive to perform and consistently push their live prowess has propelled them into the live arena to share stages with acts such as Cory Henry and the Funk Apostles, Sons of Kemet, Moses Boyd’s Exodus & Let Spin, plus two performances at the illustrious Love Supreme Festival.

Being almost indefinable by any sole genre, the group’s excursions span prog, electronic, jazz, funk and hip-hop, which have collectively paved the way for their early sound. With an inclination for improvisation, Vels Trio’s sound can be characterised by their heavy grooves, emotionally charged songwriting & expressive modern musicianship, creating excitingly frenetic, and irresistibly engaging live sound. Their debut album, Celestial Greens is out now on Rhythm Section.

Theatre & Cabaret

WOLF by Lewis Doherty

Welcome to Shadow City, a hellhole of a city but a city nonetheless. Detective Jay Walker is dead. With no leads and a case colder than ice, it’s up to his ex partner Patrick Wolf to bust some heads and find out who killed him.

Armed with just a chair, Lewis Doherty mimes every prop, makes every sound effect and brings to life over thirty characters in this neon-noir cop thriller!

BEASTHOUSE are an award winning, critically acclaimed, theatrical production company. The work they produce is physical, filmic, and funny. Using just performers and the audiences imagination, they create entertaining, compelling and epic stories on stage. Through referencing popular and cult culture genres they push the boundaries of theatre to create dynamic, ambitious, and cinematic shows.  

⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑ – THE WEE REVIEW – “A tour-de-force of theatrical physicality, characterisation and humour”

⭑⭑⭑⭑ – THE STAGE- “Difficult to believe WOLF is the work of just one man…exuberant and inventive”



Damn it feels good to have these guys back here. In 2021 we worked with WOOM to curate a very special headline set. As somewhat Brainchild royalty, and having formed at the festival some years earlier, it only felt right for them to take on this homecoming, after being separated from you all for two years. But, it was not meant to be, as the day the festival opened the band were struck down with the dreaded c-word, and were able to come and play. When 2020 rocked around we knew there was only one thing for it – Woom’s Headline Show round 2! We are wishing for a peaceful delivery of them to our Brainstage, as they take on closing the festival, back in their rightful thrones.

For those of you who don’t know them yet, it’s quite hard to think of one word that perfectly pinpoints what WOOM do. Choir almost does the job, but despite being almost-acapella, it doesn’t fully characterise their magic. Lets just say for now: together as WOOM, Gray, Izzy, Lara and Alice are four voices. The four-part concept-choir have already amassed a passionate cult fanbase, including past touring partners like King KruleWhitney and The Big Moon who re-envisage songs in way that is at the same time new and familiar, delicate yet powerful. Their notoriety as a completely immersive, near-transcendental experience is fast becoming the stuff of indie folklore.

Their lush, harmony-laden vocal re-interpretations of songs by Frank OceanAngel Olsen & OutKast, amongst others, have become a WOOM calling card. They re-envisage in way that is at the same time new and familiar, delicate yet powerful. Comprising something of a supergroup of southeast London luminaries, WOOM includes members of BabeheavenArlo Day, Teeth MachineHesterThidius and Jerkcurb.

Do yourself a BIG favour and dig into their EP, Into the Rest. The first ever recorded WOOM songs, this record is a real treasure. Six back, relax. Dive in.

Theatre & Cabaret

Your Sexts Are Shit: Older Better Letters by Rachel Mars

Award-winning theatre maker Rachel Mars visits Brainchild for the first time with a gloriously rude show that unearths the hot-as-hell letters that make sexts blush.

Before sexts there were hand-written letters. And loads of them were proper filthy. With the help of the internet, friends and two sexologists, Rachel has unearthed missives dating back centuries. Triangulating these sex and love letters of long dead artists with contemporary sexts and a meditation on the construction of the queer female body, the show is a tender and surprising hour that asks – how do we write ourselves and for whom?

This delightfully intimate, very funny and surprisingly moving show is an erotic archive shot through with Rachel’s personal ventures in contemporary Queer kink. So come! Take pleasure in James Joyce’s passion for arse, find out who sneaked her gay lover into the White House, hear from Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe, Mozart and bear witness to the best/worst sexts ever sent. 


A triumphant Show…dripping with uninhibited desire – The Guardian 


Tickets for Brainchild 20222 are now off sale because Brainchild Festival 2022 is now cancelled 😔 Please read the full statement in our News.